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Genene Fisher with Jennifer “Jinni” Meehan at the 2012 NOAA Space Weather Workshop. Meehan is a graduate student at Utah State University, focusing her research on space weather impacts on GPS. In 2009, she worked with Fisher as a summer intern at AMS.

Genene Fisher's Compass Points

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Areas of Expertise
Space weather, policy

GNSS Aha! Moment: What was the pivotal moment or turning point that led you to GNSS?
A few years ago, I noticed that more and more users of GPS applications were showing up at the NOAA Space Weather Workshops — an annual meeting focused on operations and customers. Speakers from precision agriculture and oil companies were discussing how they were applying space weather information to their operations. That was eye opening to the space weather community since we were not fully aware of the widespread use of GPS. Today things are bit different since the Department of Homeland Security designated GPS a critical infrastructure and they consider space weather a threat.

GNSS Event that most signifies to you that GNSS has “arrived.”
The 2003 October/December “Halloween Storms” was a two-week period of intense solar activity and impacts. During these storms, companies delayed high resolution land surveying, postponed airborne and marine survey operations, cancelled drilling operations, and some resorted to backup systems to ensure continuity of operations. That’s when I saw the industry take notice that space weather can have a major impact on GPS.

Engineering mentor
Much of what I’ve learned about space weather impacts on GNSS was from Joe Kunches, at the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center. Joe has a natural ability to explain difficult concepts in an easy to understand manner—something I aspire to. He works with SWPC’s customers to help them understand how the storms from the sun impact their systems. If you want to fully understand how the sun influences various technologies, he is the one to call.

Details of Current Projects
At NOAA, I’m working with the Space Weather Prediction Center on several projects to better understand space weather influences on GPS operations and how to help mitigate impacts. We are continuously reaching out to GPS-reliant customers to understand their requirements for space weather. We are assisting the FAA with the development of aviation space weather requirements in support of international air navigation.

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