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GNSS Hotspots

GNSS data points and factoids to amuse and inform

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1. SIBLING RIVALRY
Pasadena, California, USA
√ The December 2008 International Committee on GNSS meeting (ICG-3) in Pasadena hit rough waters as providers negotiated “interoperability.” GNSS leader U.S. wants to stay there – but cooperatively, recommitted Russia wants to expand its appeal, technically innovative EU wants some elbow room, and China wants to climb far and fast. (See story in this issue.)

2. GAS WARS
Oregon, USA
√ The governor of Oregon, a socially innovative state, seeks a controversial mileage tax to replace the gas tax on vehicles. GPS units would track distance, not traveler information. But privacy advocates don’t trust that plan. And conscientious Greens would get no credit for driving gas sippers.

3. WHAT NEXT?
Washington, DC
√ The new Obama administration is keeping Defense Secretary Robert Gates, but many other GPS champions are moving on. Will DoD’s new Number 2 — William Lynn — win priority listing for the world’s first and only fully operational GNSS as it fights to stay on top? (See story in this issue)

4. GIFT OF THE MAGI
New York, USA
√ A Manhattan surveillance company loaned GPS micro-devices and hidden cameras to Christian and Jewish congregations for their holiday displays in December. When moved, the bugs set off an alarm to a cell phone or email address and the stolen items could be tracked. Bottom line? Don’t mess with the Three Wise Guys.

5. GRAND THEFT AUTO
Brazil
√ Brazil’s unusually high auto theft – and violent robbery and hijacking– rate has inspired a new law to mandate GPS anti-theft and tracking devices on all newly-registered vehicles, as of August 1, 2009. The required systems alert a call center with the vehicle location and can turn off the car remotely.

6. IT’S A BIRD! IT’S A PLANE!
South Africa
√ Stuck in a remote clinic during an epidemic with no way to deliver test samples to a diagnostic laboratory? The South African National Health Laboratory Service has adapted war technology for healing. MedicAir Couriers are miniature UAVs that follow a pre-programmed route to the lab using GPS and microelectronic gyroscopes.

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