Opinions

Col. Dave Madden Looks Back, and Forward into GPS Future

July 27, 2010By
Madden-opener

As he retires from the Air Force, Col. Dave Madden gives a status update on GPS modernization and outlines four steps the GPS Wing is taking to ensure worldwide PNT services are not interrupted during modernization, exploring a more robust means of ensuring compatibility, and becoming more involved in the development, integration, and testing of new military and possibly civil user equipment. He also announces the set-up of a GPS Directorate within the Department of Defense in October. read more

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Get It Surveyed: ESRI Surveying and Engineering GIS Summit

July 22, 2010By

I believe that if you attend the ESRI SEGS and UC conferences just one time, your vision of surveying, engineering, construction, and GIS will change forever. I know it sounds like an advertisement from ESRI, but I think my pitch is even better than theirs. Seriously though, there are so many people presenting so many different ideas, and they are all related to the kind of geographic data you work with on a regular basis. read more

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Out in Front: Welling Up

July 1, 2010By

One of the first industrial uses of GPS came in survey and seismic exploration for offshore oil, as evidenced by the cover story of this magazine’s September 1992 issue. A salient passage from that 18-year-old “Quality Control For Differential GPS in Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration” article: “Users are in danger of being mesmerized by the apparent simplicty of the technology and abandoning quality-control principles . . . . The key to routine operations is rigorous real-time quality control.” Eerily, among the companies acknowledged for support of that article was BP Exploration. read more

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Letters to the Editor

July 1, 2010By

Our readers respond to the cover features in the May and June issues: the two-part special the "Origins of GPS" and Richard Langley's look at "GPS by the Numbers." read more

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Expert Advice: Moore’s Law and GNSS

July 1, 2010By

I started my relationship with GNSS and Moore’s Law in 1985, writing software for GPS tracking loops on the Advanced Range Instrumentation Aircraft program at the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University for the U.S. Air Force. The project’s purpose was to navigate a large jet to accurately fly a pattern to drop buoys into the ocean. That receiver had seven circuit boards (six trackers and one navigator) mounted on a VME backplane in a 19-inch rack mount in the back of a C-130, and was about the size and weight of suitcase. read more

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Follow up: What’s Going to Happen When GPS Accuracy is Cheap?

June 16, 2010By

I received some interesting e-mails and saw some web comments regarding my newsletter column a couple of weeks ago titled “What's Going to Happen When High-Accuracy GPS is Cheap?” The comments ranged from “I don’t believe it’s going to happen” to “We’d better adapt to the changes in technology.” read more

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What’s Going to Happen When High-Accuracy GPS is Cheap?

June 3, 2010By

The GPS satellite launched into orbit last week wasn’t just any other GPS satellite. It was the first of a new generation of GPS satellites that are going to change the way surveying, engineering and construction data is collected and processed in the future. Its new features are going to profoundly transform surveying, engineering and construction. I’m not exaggerating. read more

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Out in Front: Brussels Calling

June 1, 2010By

The European Commission rang up the other day, concerned that a recent column contained misperceptions about the Galileo Open Service Signal-in-Space Interface Control Document (ICD). I replied that if misperception exists, it is shared by at least some in industry.Though the EC has abandoned a plan to charge for licenses, its requirement for a free license and continued talk of patents on the Galileo signal dampen industry enthusiasm for making Galileo receivers, at least in North America. read more

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