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GNSS Hotspots

GNSS data points and factoids to amuse and inform.

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1. ALIENS
Hawaii (the Big Island)
Invasive trees in Hawaiian rainforest preserves form dense thickets, shade out native species and are spreading fast. A strategy that uses LIDAR, GPS, and advanced imaging spectrometers gave Carnegie Airborne Observatory and the U.S. Forest Service detailed maps of Big Island ecosystem changes in 850 square miles that had been impossible to survey before. (The pink trees don’t belong there….)

2. IDITAROD
Anchorage to Nome, Alaska
√ GPS The 2009 Alaskan Iditarod mandated Iridium communications and GPS-enabled tracking devices on all 68 starting dogsleds this year. Fans love to follow the mushers in real time during the 1,500-mile race from Anchorage to Nome. When the sleepy race leader missed the trail on March 13, everyone knew about it.

3. HATS OFF!
Austin, Texas
√ A GPS-enabled bowler hat arrived at the South by Southwest 2009 trendsetting arts and media festival in Austin, Texas, courtesy of two British gamesters and the Arts Council of England. Rules of the game: Find the hat, get the hat, run fast. Magic words: Pardon Me, I Believe You Have My Hat. Players follow the hat in real time on Google maps and plot an interception.

4. CHIPSET CHAMPS
√ Oyster Bay, New York
ABI Research ranked Broadcom first for innovation and tops overall in its sophisticated GPS Integrated Circuit Manufacturer Vendor Matrix. SIRF Technology is first in innovation and second overall and Texas Instruments placed third. The Oyster Bay, New York company announced results on March 12. (Read this month's online article here.)

5. SYSTEMS REPORT
Munich, Germany
√ Notes from the March Munich Satellite Navigation Summit: GLONASS’s first CDMA signal goes on the L3 frequency overlapping one of Galileo’s, Compass/Beidou aims for regional capability in 2010 with full constellation 5 to 10 years later;  tensions between Europe and China on frequency overlays on the EU’s security service; potential Galileo cost overruns; GPS to secure frequency with an L5 demonstration payload on upcoming satellite launch.  See GNSS World article in this issue.

6. OOPS.
International Space Station
√ In 1993, GPS satellite 37 rode a Delta II rocket and dutifully went into Middle Earth Orbit. Meanwhile, a Yo weight off the PAM-D stage joined thousands of other micrometeoroids and orbital debris in space. On March 12, its changeable orbit brought the errant debris into the 2.8 mile safety zone around the International Space Station. The crew evacuated briefly to their Soyuz lifeboat.

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