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GNSS Hotspots

GNSS data points and factoids to amuse and inform.

Montreal, Québec; U.S. Gulf Coast; the Moon; Worcester, UK; Mumbai; Beijing

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1. COMPASS EXPLAINED  
Montreal, Quebec. Canada
√ An International Committee on GNSS Experts Meeting took place July 15 in Montreal, Canada, with updates on GNSS system developments. A Chinese representative detailed the Compass (Beidou II) signals: 10 services — five free “open” services, and five restricted “authorized” services — centered at eight different carrier frequencies. (See related news article in this issue.)

2. HURRICANE HELP
Gulf Coast, USA
√ Just push the button and a crisis advisor will be there for you – that’s what OnStar told its customers in hurricane-prone southeastern USA. The automobile calling system and GPS locator service offers “Crisis Assist” to help customers get out of the way of Gustav. On August 31, 2008, OnStar saw a 30 percent increase over typical call volume

3. LOST ON THE MOON  
Off the Map
√ Astronauts who return to the moon in 12 years or so may depend on NASA’s Lunar GPS to keep from getting lost. Now in development, the LASOIS technology will keep people oriented through lunar beacons, stereo cameras, and orbital imaging sensors on vehicles, robots, and spacesuits.

4. ERASING HISTORY?
Worcester, UK
√ At an August conference in London, the president of the British Cartographic Society said that GPS devices and interactive maps are “destroying thousands of years of history.” Databases omit landmarks and people don’t learn basic navigation skills. Worcester Cathedral, for example, built in 1084, is missing from a Google map.

5. AIRPORT MODERNIZATION  
Mumbai, India
√ The Airports Authority of India (AAI) implemented area navigation (RNAV) procedures at Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad airports on August 28, as part of its performance-based navigation (PBN) program. The PBN effort will be bolstered by the launch of the first GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) payload later this year.

6. EAT AT ZHOU’S
Beijing, China
China devised a system that used GPS and RFID labels to track and monitor all of the food grown, processed and transported to Beijing for the Olympics. The “Olympic Food Safety Logistics Code” was an effort to solve the touchy problem of suppliers who violate safety regulations.

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