Newsletter Editorials

Grand Setting for a Grand Summit

April 11, 2012By

Most of Munich is an ultra-modern German city, albeit one of the most expensive cities in Europe, where you can travel anywhere by tram, automobile, S-Bahn, rail or taxi. But why bother when you have the opportunity and thrill of walking through the old city center and have Bavarians greet you with "May God greet you" or "God bless­"? — what a way to say hello. That experience, which brings back fond memories — more on that in my main column — combined with the wonderful aromas from bakeries and early morning baristas hard at work, which are hard to pass by, made the short walk to the Residenz München seem all too short; and then you are there — greeted with the magnificence of the Munich Satellite Summit venue. read more

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Grüss Gott – Munich Satellite Summit

April 11, 2012By

There is a reason the Munich Satellite Summit is billed as a summit and not a symposium or conference. It’s a different atmosphere that invites group chats, informal get-togethers, and networking. One item of note that I came away with is that the Chinese are looking for help and partners for their PNT constellations, of which there appear to be three in the making. But asked point blank when they would finally release the full ICD specifications for receivers (a partial ICD has been released) the answer was the same as last year. They did not know when that might happen. It is hard to build receivers and support a specific program, much less three PNT constellations, when you don’t have the specifications. read more

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Navigating the Moon

March 28, 2012By

The European Space Agency has issued an intriguing Intended Invitation To Tender, “Weak GNSS Signal Navigation on the Moon.” The study will investigate use of weak-signal GPS/GNSS — and of course ESA is interested primarily in the use of Galileo — for real-time position, navigation and timing information to various future lunar assets such as automated landers, rovers, Earth-Moon transportation vehicle, in-situ navigation, and so on. read more

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eLORAN and UrsaNav: Timing Is Everything

March 14, 2012By

The first part of the recent UrsaNav press release says it best: This week for the first time since August 2010 advanced low frequency (LF) signals, including a new eLORAN, are on the air in North America! As a result of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and UrsaNav, Inc. live testing... read more

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Never Again? Oh, Again and Again.

February 22, 2012By

When the last English inhabitant of Virginia’s Lost Colony succumbed to hunger or swamp fever or local assimilation in 1588, Chesapeake chief Powhatan may have turned to his council and said, “Well, that’s the last of that. No more will we be troubled by outsiders infringing on our territory. Let’s get back to doing what we do best.” read more

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Rugged GPS-Enabled Windows Laptops

February 7, 2012By

I brushed the snow from my keyboard and in my mind I could hear the neighbors whispering, "Call the men in white coats, there he goes again." They may have cause for concern, as I am sitting on my deck during a lull in a major blizzard, typing on a laptop computer half buried in snow. My warfighter correspondence indicates that some war tasks call out for a rugged laptop rather than a rugged handheld device; thus, this cold warrior test of a device with embedded GPS capability. read more

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Let’s Hear It for the Supremes!

January 24, 2012By

Last week’s Supreme Court ruling on GPS use for tracking criminal suspects makes U.S. law clear on this issue going forward, but it does not address tracking for commercial aspects. One U.S. newspaper editorialized, “the unanimous decision failed to resolve troubling questions about the privacy rights of Americans in the face of intrusive modern surveillance technology.” The privacy picture in other large markets — Europe, Japan, Korea, Russia, China, and elsewhere — remains even less clear. If GNSS should be perceived as a tool of Big Brother (government) or Big Broker (industry selling and buying consumer location data), then all navigation systems acquire a big PR problem, which translates into big funding and modernization problems. read more

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Where Am I?

January 12, 2012By

I have long advocated that our warfighters and first responders deserve the best equipment available so they can answer the basic question, "Where Am I?" quickly and with complete certainty. Or, "Where am I now and how do I get to someplace of relative safety quickly?" Unfortunately, government-furnished equipment (GFE), in this case the GPS handheld equipment we supply our warfighters, does not do a good or even adequate job of answering that question. read more

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