ION GNSS/CGSIC annual conference

September 25, 2009  - By

I realize the GIS world doesn’t revolve around GPS but I’m going to spend some space on it this month. Currently, I’m in Savannah, Georgia at the annual ION GNSS/CGSIC conference.

This is where one can peer into the future of where GPS technology (and positioning technology in general) is heading. This is where all of the GPS and GNSS brainpower get together every year. There are a lot of military folks here. The GPS Chief Engineer (Col. David Goldstein), GPS Wing Commander (Col. David Madden), Boeing scientists (GPS satellite builders), Lockheed Martin scientists (GPS satellite builders) and all companies and organizations involved in designing and building GPS infrastructure are here. These are the true rocket scientists. I bet the average IQ would be a pretty good bowling score.

The way this conference works is that the CGSIC meetings take place on Monday and Tuesday. The ION GNSS meetings take place on Wednesday through Friday.

CGSIC is an acronym for the Civil GPS Service Interface Committee. CGSIC is coordinated by the US Coast Guard. According to its website, it’s the “recognized worldwide forum for effective interaction between all civil GPS users and the U.S. GPS authorities. It was established and chartered to identify civil GPS user needs (e.g. navigation, timing, and positioning) in support of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) program to exchange information concerning GPS with the civil user community as part of the GPS “outreach” program. In fulfilling this responsibility, the CGSIC reports its activities to the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Executive Committee and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Transportation”.

The CGSIC meetings on Monday and Tuesday consist of briefings from government officials on the status of GPS and various related programs like NDGPS, WAAS, OPUS/CORS and many more. You can view the CGSIC meeting agenda here. There are also many user presentations from various government and commercial entities discussing how they are using GPS/GNSS in their work.

I’ve been blogging about the meetings while I’ve been in Savannah. You can read my blog here. Of particular interest was the focus on RTK Networks in the Surveying, Mapping and Geosciences Session. RTK is an acronym for Real-Time Kinematic. Essentially, it’s real-time positioning at the centimeter level.

With respect to GIS and infrastructure mapping, RTK Networks are one of the most significant advancements in GPS you will encounter over the next few years in the Geospatial business. They have the potential to significantly transform the accuracy of infrastructure data that is collected. If you want to learn more about them, you can read some of what I’ve written before about RTK Networks as well as the webinar I conducted on the subject.

RTK Networks: The Wild, Wild West

What RTK Users Want; Prospects for Network RTK (Rob Lorimer)

Webinar – RTK Networks: What, Where, Why

Here were the subjects discussed regarding RTK Networks at CGSIC:

PANEL SESSION: Guidelines for Real Time GNSS Networks (RTN)
A. Site Considerations – Dan Martin, NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey
B. Planning & Design – Gavin Schrock, Washington State Reference Network
C. Administration – Gary Thompson, North Carolina Geodetic Survey
D. Best Methods for Users – Bill Henning, NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey
Question & Answer Session with Speakers

Interactive Sessions within Small Discussion Groups
Group 1. CORS/OPUS
Group 2. RTN Site Considerations and RTN Planning & Design
Group 3. RTN Administration and RTN Best Practices for Users
As I wrote in my blog, this was the place to be if one is interested in Real-Time Networks, from the user perspective to the administrator perspective. There’s a tremendous amount of interest and activity on the RTN space right now.

While the CGSIC meetings are all about what’s happening now, the ION GNSS meetings are all about what’s going to happen in the future. At ION GNSS, researchers present the results of their hard work. The result of some of this research will be the technology we are using tomorrow.

Be sure to check my ION GNSS blog. There will be some lag time, but it should all be up by early next week.

Thanks and see you next week.

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About the Author:

Eric Gakstatter has been involved in the GPS/GNSS industry for more than 20 years. For 10 years, he held several product management positions in the GPS/GNSS industry, managing the development of several medium- and high-precision GNSS products along with associated data-collection and post-processing software. Since 2000, he's been a power user of GPS/GNSS technology as well as consulted with capital management companies; federal, state and local government agencies; and private companies on the application and/or development of GPS technology. Since 2006, he's been a contributor to GPS World magazine, serving as editor of the monthly Survey Scene newsletter until 2015, and as editor of Geospatial Solutions monthly newsletter for GPS World's sister site Geospatial Solutions, which focuses on GIS and geospatial technologies.

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