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Human Engineering


Human Engineering is an occasional feature that profiles GNSS engineers in industry, academia, the military and government.

Want to know someone’s favorite equation? Or how they discovered satellite navigation in their own careers? The popular notions about GNSS that annoy them most?

This is the place to look.

September/October 2016

Mikel Miller: Science, Service, and Family

It has been a long journey to success for this scientist for positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) science and technology development.

September/October 2016

Mikel Miller's Compass Points

July/August 2016

Jade Morton: The Long and Scintillating Road

This professor of electrical engineering and expert in ionospheric effects on satellites said "I have fallen in love with GNSS over and over again."

July/August 2016

Jade Morton's Compass Points

May/June 2016

Boubeker Belabbas: At Home in the World

This expert in aerospace mechanics and safety-critical GNSS applications grew up in a city of wine, works in a city of beer ... but started out in the land of mint tea.

May/June 2016

Boubeker Belabbas' Compass Points

March/April 2016

Sandy Kennedy: Here to Stay

She learned how to think like an engineer on a Canadian farm and went on to become a GNSS/
INS integration expert.

March/April 2016

Sandy Kennedy's Compass Points

November/December 2015

Stuart Riley: Right Turn from the Wrong Path

Stuart Riley could have continued an insurance career in his hometown. Instead, he switched to GNSS studies and ended up as a director of engineering at Trimble Navigation.

November/December 2015

Stuart Riley's Compass Points

September/October 2015

John Raquet: A Family Affair

Achieving the worklife/family balance

September/October 2015

John Raquet’s Compass Points

July/August 2015

Valérie Renaudin: Navigating a Life with GNSS

The cornfields of eastern China cemented this engineer's interest in GNSS positioning and navigation.

July/August 2015

Valérie Renaudin's Compass Points

January/February 2015

Frank van Diggelen: Riding the GNSS Wave

“There is no boundary between my work and non-work life,” says this South African engineer, “I love what I do and do what I love.”

January/February 2015

Frank van Diggelen's Compass Points

September/October 2014

Alison Brown: Tally Ho! The Hunt for GNSS Innovations

Inspired by her engineer father, this Scotland native has pursued an independent course to build a wide-ranging career in satellite navigation.

September/October 2014

Alison Brown’s Compass Points

May/June 2014

Michel Monnerat: Out of Africa — GNSS

Straddling two continents, French-born Michel Monnerat grew up in Togo,
loving math and science and playing soccer before sunrise. He grew up to
become an expert in Galileo signal design and a top engineer for Thales
Alenia Space.

May/June 2014

Michel Monnerat’s Compass Points

January/February 2014

Marc Weiss

How the pursuit of Beauty led a physicist to a professional life in GNSS.

January/February 2014

Marc Weiss' Compass Points

November/December 2013

Elizabeth Rooney: ‘Not a typical job for most working mums.’

This Scottish engineer says getting the balance right between working on
a demanding satellite mission alongside the no less challenging job of
being a mum is an ongoing process.

November/December 2013

Elizabeth Rooney's Compass Points

September/October 2013

Ismael Colomina: GNSS, Of Course!

This Cátalan GNSS expert is a mathematician and a geomatics engineer. He says ''GNSS has always been present in my working life, so I never experienced the 'GNSS, aha!' moment. Rather, I never stopped thinking 'GNSS, of course!' ''

September/October 2013

Ismael Colomina's Compass Points

May/June 2013

Di Qiu's Compass Points

May/June 2013

Di Qiu: Opportunities of Signals

Just beginning her career, Di Qiu is making the most out of GNSS and
other radio signals to broaden her professional bandwidth. 

March/April 2013

Mike Veth: Engineering Meets the Wild Blue Yonder

GPS and the U.S. Air Force provided this engineer with a path to his wide-ranging career in integrated navigation systems.

March/April 2013

Mike Veth's Compass Points

September/October 2012

Genene Fisher: Bringing Space Science Down to Earth

If we were to think of the GNSS enterprise as a ship sailing the
high seas of space, then space weather expert Genene Fisher would be up in the
crow’s nest, on the lookout for asteroids instead of icebergs.

September/October 2012

Genene Fisher's Compass Points

November/December 2010

Frank Czopek's Compass Points

November/December 2010

Frank Czopek

In which a boy from Detroit gives up backyard Corvair re-assembly to study mechanical engineering and spends the next 26 years getting ever deeper into the GPS program.

March/April 2010

José-Ángel Ávila-Rodríguez: Dreaming of Satellites

This Spanish engineer’s work combines signal design with international diplomacy to make sure the GNSSes all get along.

March/April 2009

Grace Xingxin Gao: Amazing Grace

Imagine that your only light source is a 50-watt bulb. Visualize it shining at you from 12,000 miles away. That’s about how weak the signals are from the new Galileo and Compass satellites, and that’s why Grace Xingxin Gao’s accomplishments in being the first to derive the code generators for both systems are so amazing.

September/October 2008

Penny Axelrad: A Love for Hard Work . . . and Hard Science

The aerospace engineering professor has contributed to RAIM, GPS bistatic radar, satellite formation flying using GPS, GPS-based orbit and satellite attitude determination, and multipath mitigation —and to the future of middle school girls, who she encourages to stay tough about pursuing a rigorous scientific education.

July/August 2008

Ron Beard: The Measure of Time

The Naval Research Lab's GPS clock master Ron Beard dwells in the realm of the nanosecond. That's one billionth of a second, a virtually incomprehensible unit of time even for geeks. But the seamless operation of our cell phones, power grid, banking, and other GNSS-driven technologies depends on that degree of precision.

March/April 2008

Luiz Paulo Fortes — Putting Brazil on the Map

This geomatics engineer pioneered the use of GPS in Latin America—now
he wants to integrate all of Brazil's geoscience data into layers of
information available to everyone over the Internet.

January/February 2008

Ron Hatch: Searching for a Better Way

His disinclination to punch a time clock led to a career creating high-precision GNSS software and hardware. For NavCom Technology's engineering master, it's all relative - or maybe not....

November/December 2007

Elizabeth Cannon: Geomatics Innovator

An inventor and technology transfer expert, her trademark is taking an inexpensive device and finding a new use for it that raises the bar for accuracy in navigation

September/October 2007

Karl Kovach: Keeper of the Code

Who helped design all of the Navstar GPS navigation signals, keeps the GPS Interface Control Documents, and patented the innovation that allows an unmanned aircraft to land itself? Karl Kovach, the “GPS guy.”

May/June 2007

Ruth Neilan: The Global Grid Master

If IGS Director Ruth Neilan had just one magic GNSS wish, it would be that everyone understood the importance of tying into the international grid.

March/April 2007

Pat Fenton: GNSS from the Outside In

A career in the great Canadian outdoors ended early for Pat Fenton when his pioneering work on computer-aided processing of field survey data landed him permanently in the office. Now he’s chief technology officer at NovAtel with a long list of engineering achievements in GNSS signal processing and receiver design.

January/February 2007

Allison Kealy: The Remarkable Art of the Possible

GNSS has lead Allison Kealy from a small island, her birthplace in Trinidad, to the world’s largest: Australia. In the former, she was a nascent surveyor; in the latter, the first female academic appointee in the University of Melbourne’s Geomatics department.

September 2006

The Two Worlds of Philip Mattos

Electronic engineer Philip Mattos loves the English countryside and mows his field with technology no more sophisticated than a 1948 tractor – meanwhile, the skies above his head are full of GNSS technology for which he has been designing products over the past 30 years.

May/June 2006

Karen Van Dyke: Re-Engineering the Airways

Someday, coordinates will be part of every product and process in our lives, says GPS innovator Karen Van Dyke of the Volpe Transportation Systems Center. As one of the engineers working towards that goal, she uses GNSS to make the air transportation infrastructure more reliable, less vulnerable, and easier to monitor.

March 2006

Michael Braasch: Dr. Braasch’s Opus

Michael S. Braasch got his GNSS start trying to crack Selective Availability. But that’s not all — he is the cofounder and technical director of GPSoft LLC, which produces a series of navigation “toolboxes” for MATLAB, the engineering software environment used worldwide.

Jammer Dectector
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