Opinions

New Year’s GPS Update with Col. Bernie Gruber

January 11, 2011By

Don Jewell (DJ), our Defense Editor, caught up with Colonel Bernard Gruber (BG), the newest director of the newly renamed Global Positioning Systems Directorate at SMC in Los Angeles, California. They discussed the current status of the GPS program and the way ahead. Don caught Colonel Gruber just before he departed for the East Coast for an Executive-Level Acquisition Course at the Defense Acquisition University at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. read more

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To Post-Process or Not to Post-Process, that Is the Question

January 5, 2011By

If you’ve been around GPS mapping for any length of time, I’m sure you’ve heard of post-processing, and you may have even experienced it yourself. If you used GPS for mapping in the '90s, you almost certainly post-processed your data. In fact, sometimes you had to pay for access to GPS base-station data for post-processing. That’s hard to imagine given the widespread, worldwide availability of GPS base-station data on the web today. read more

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Expert Advice: Why Geodesy Matters, Now More than Ever

January 1, 2011By
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Geodesy is a suite of powerful Earth-observation techniques, associated methodologies, and analysis tools that today are making a vital contribution to science and society. Yet geodesy is not a new, child-of-technology sciaence. It dates back hundreds of years — some would claim thousands of years, and that the ancient Greeks and other pre-Christian cultures shaped its direction. This is illustrated by its classical definition as the science of measuring and mapping the geometry, orientation in space, and gravity field of the Earth; these days we also include their variations over time. At a practical level, geodetic practice forms the foundation for surveying, navigation, and mapping, and the digital datasets underpinning these activities. read more

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Out in Front: Ten Big Ones in Five

January 1, 2011By

At the opposite end of this book, my esteemed colleague Eric Gakstatter gives you his Top Five news stories of the recently passed year, from a system point of view. Spend five minutes here in this column, and I’ll toss up the Top Ten for GNSS business, as reported in this magazine. Not the biggest money deals or revenue generators, at least not in the short term. But the most significant in terms of breaking new ground, pushing out frontiers, integrating with other technologies — the modes through which industry grows and prospers. read more

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Top Five Events in GPS/GNSS for 2010: A Year-End Review

December 16, 2010By

With this being my last column in 2010, I'm going to look back at the five significant GPS/GNSS events in 2010 that affected the surveying, mapping, engineering, construction and natural resource users. Each of these had, or could've had a significant affect on your GPS activities. read more

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Death of a Smartphone, Birth of an Ad Trend

December 1, 2010By

From a distance, the Garmin-Asus partnership to produce GPS-enabled smartphones looked pretty good — particularly during the market erosion for portable navigation devices. However, published reports indicate that the companies will not renew their partnership in January 2011. Switzerland-based Garmin and its Dutch competitor TomTom have seen steeply declining sales for personal navigation devices (PNDs) since the high point of the market two years ago, industry observers say. read more

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Expert Advice: The Strategic Significance of Compass

December 1, 2010By

On November 1, 2010, China’s state news agency reported that the sixth Compass satellite was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. This was the fourth Compass satellite put into orbit this year, following launches in January, June, and August. Joining the United States, Russia, and the European Union, China is deploying is own global navigation satellite system of five geosynchronous satellites, 27 in medium Earth orbit (MEO) and three in highly inclined geosynchronous orbits (IGSO). Sometimes referred to as Beidou-2, Compass is a global RNSS (radio-navigation satellite system) that broadcasts one-way precision time signals to enable receivers to calculate their position. An earlier Chinese satellite navigation system, Beidou-1, was an RDSS (radio-determination satellite system) that provided regional coverage and required two satellites to get a position fix using two-way communications with a centralized ground station. 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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