GNSS Opinions

Faster than a Speeding Light Particle

October 21, 2011By
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We published a news story recently suggesting that Albert Einstein, the Mighty Hip Einie, got one thing wrong, or at least not quite totally right: the universal upper limit constituted by the speed of light. Precise-timing GPS receivers in a Geneva lab helped indicate that subatomic neutrinos can travel at a velocity just a smidge faster than the speed of light. Someone at a burning idea factory in the Netherlands riposted that the scientists erred in their conclusion because they failed to take into account the relative movement of the GPS clocks in space and thus miscalculated the neutrinos' time of flight. We hereby refute that assertion with our heavy-lifting Innovation columnist, Richard B. Langley. read more

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Compass ICD in October; Harmonizing GNSS

September 29, 2011By

China's GNSS, Compass or Beidou, intends to publish its signal interface control document (ICD) in October. Representatives of the system made an unprecedented showing at ION GNSS in Portland, and referred frankly to "internal deliberations" that may be at the root of much of the public uncertainty about the system's planned structure and timeline. Meanwhile, representatives of other navigation satellite systems also delivered updates on their status and plans. Everyone is concerned about LightSquared interference, but everyone continues to move forward. This month's column is a two-parter: a guest appearance by Len Jacobson, editorial advisory board member for GPS World magazine and president of Global Systems and Marketing Inc. Len writes on the "Harmonizing GNSS" aspect, the briefings by all systems and their efforts to achieve compatibility and interoperability. Then I'll return with an account of the Compass panel that formed part of the CGSIC meeting immediately preceeding ION. read more

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Expert Advice: EPIC Happening — Europe’s PNT Industry Council

September 1, 2011By

We have the United States GPS Industry Council, the Japan GPS Council, and the Korean GNSS Technology Council. Anything missing? The challenges facing the performance, navigation, and timing (PNT) community, which relies on GNSS amongst other things, are getting more numerous and complex, and Europe is the only major territory without a unified industry nexus where such challenges can be engaged. However, this is about to change. read more

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Watching and Waiting. And Questioning. GPS in the Balance

August 25, 2011By

The difference between navigation and communication signals — a key point not well or not at all understood in Washington — and an FCC rule that could cause LightSquared to foot substantial GPS refitting bills even if it prevails to interfere, were two of several subjects that came to light in last week’s “LightSquared Watch” webinar. As the Federal Communications Commission goes through its deliberations, two inside-the-Beltway experts joined me to speculate on what may happen, what we might do about it at that time, and the long, strange trip that brought us to this point. These matters, and your questions answered, in this month’s column. read more

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GPS and GNSS Cannot Count on Good Sense in Government

July 27, 2011By

You’ve got to put some in yourself, to get some out. Don't expect the FCC to make a rational decision in the Lightsquared versus GPS case. As clear as the conclusions may seem to an engineering mind examining the Technical Working Group’s report on the subject, the Federal Communications Commission does not maintain engineering minds at its top level. That’s the level that makes the decisions, and it is driven by money and politics in equal measure. The only things that will get the FCC's attention are legislators and strong opposition from citizens. Comments in the FCC docket so far come largely from the surveying and agriculture communities. The rest of the GNSS industry has not shown up. Individuals count, too, not just companies. Here’s how to make your voice heard, and why. Time’s a-wastin’. read more

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The Economics of Disruption: $96 Billion Annually at Risk

July 1, 2011By
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“The Economic Benefits of Commercial GPS Use in the United States and the Costs of Potential Disruption” was presented by Nam D. Pham, Ph.D., of NDP Consulting, during a June 21 webinar sponsored by the Coalition to Save Our GPS. The report states: “The direct economic benefits of GPS technology on commercial GPS users are estimated to be over $67.6 billion per year in the United States. read more

Expert Advice: Critical Offshore Applications of SBAS GNSS

July 1, 2011By

Precise positioning of many different kinds of vessels and other equipment depend upon satellite-based augmentation systems (SBAS) of GNSS, principally GPS and GLONASS at this time. The applications range from exploration to production and delivery of hydrocarbons to shore-based installations and navigation of very large crude carriers, or oil tankers. Decisions and recommendations are strongly needed to keep these services free from interference. read more

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Expert Advice: Energy Production Concerns about LightSquared

July 1, 2011By

Dear Chairman Genachowski: The National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA), which represents approximately 270 member companies involved in outer continental shelf (OCS) energy production throughout the United States, is gravely concerned over the pending allocation of Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) spectrum to LightSquared, Inc. for terrestrial high-powered transmissions. LightSquared’s proposed transmission structure will adversely impact GPS and Inmarsat signals along our coastlines, both of which are critical to marine operations. read more

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