GNSS Opinions

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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LightSquared, FCC Rebuttals Distort Record

June 14, 2011By

A claim frequently made by LightSquared spokesperson Jeff Carlisle, and recently by FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, that the GPS industry knew long ago about LightSquared’s plan for powerful terrestrial transmitters, would be a telling point — if it were true. But it is not. The verifiable fact is that the GPS industry knew about and agreed to a plan by a previous version of the company, for a different purpose, with a different business concept, and employing a completely different technological approach, one that would not have harmed GPS transmissions and disabled GPS users the way the current plan does. Calling the 2010 LightSquared plan the same as the 2003 Motient plan is running a wolf in sheep’s clothing. read more

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Out in Front: One and One

December 1, 2010By

Two figures for your holiday mulling here. I keep putting one and one together, and coming up with three. The first one points to a value of $1,000 billion. Or, as we like to say, one trillion dollars. That has a nice ring to it. The second one hovers at a lower level, around $230 billion, not nearly as melodic as the first. But if the second one creates the first one, how much magic is there in that — do you see what I’m saying? read more

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Galileo from the Top: Interview with the EC’s Paul Verhoef

November 20, 2010By

Paul Verhoef, the European Commission’s program manager for European Union (EU) satellite navigation programs — namely Galileo — discussed current issues at some length with GPS World, in a conversation on November 10. He addressed aspects of interoperability with GPS and prospects for further development in that area, the need for an ongoing political commitment by the EU to Galileo, the challenges of financing, the prospects for an 18-satellite constellation (which he dismisses as unrealistic), military considerations for both Galileo and GPS, and the recent uncertainty around Galileo’s Public Regulated Service. read more

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