Compass/Beidou Archives - Inside GNSS - Global Navigation Satellite Systems Engineering, Policy, and Design


December 7, 2020

BeiDou Passes ICAO Verification Standard

China’s BeiDou satellite navigation system has passed an assessment of critical standardization work at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) reported, citing the Chinese civil aviation authority and China Satellite Navigation Office.

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By Inside GNSS
July 28, 2020

Light Relief: GNSS Buddy Road Trip

In a feelgood two-and-a-half minute video cartoon aimed well below its audience’s head, the news service explains BeiDou advantages over GPS and other GNSS. Principally, the script stresses the satnav system’s two-way short message service (SMS) texting capability that can stand in for cellular communications in remote areas and in case of natural disasters that may disable cellular base stations.

Beidou4Set to a loping synthesized country rock soundtrack, the entertainment-with-a-message follows a passenger bus through a remote desert. When Buzz the Driver, spooked by a snake, deviates from his planned course, a BeiDou monitoring station quickly detects the error, generates an alarm and sends a message: “Hey, keep yourself focused!”Beidou

The animation gives a nod to other GNSS by stating that “Me and other family members are compatible and interoperable at the user level, which allows us to work together.”





By Inside GNSS
March 23, 2020

Beijing Is $14.4 Billion-Bound Riding on BeiDou’s Back

Beijing’s municipal government released a three-year plan to promote the innovation and development of industries related to the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System. The total output of BeiDou navigation and location service industry in the Beijing region will exceed 100 billion yuan ($14.4 billion U.S. dollars) by 2022, according to the plan document.

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By Inside GNSS
March 13, 2020

U2: BeiDou Is My Co-pilot

According to a statement by the head of U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command, pilots of the elite U-2 spy plane wear watches that receive foreign GNSS signals and provide backup navigation when GPS is jammed.

“My U-2 guys fly with a watch now that ties into GPS, but also BeiDou and the Russian [GLONASS] system and the European [Galileo] system so that if somebody jams GPS, they still get the others,” said Gen. James “Mike” Holmes on March 4 at the McAleese Defense Programs Conference in Washington.

The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed “Dragon Lady,” is a single-jet engine, ultra-high altitude (70,000 feet, 21,300 meters) reconnaissance aircraft. It gathers intelligence with a variety of sensors. The U-2 is one of very few aircraft that have served the Air Force for more than 50 years, a select group that also includes the B-52 long-range bomber. The latest model, the U-2S, had a technical upgrade in 2012. [Dragon Lady photo above, courtesy Lockheed.]

Gen. Holmes did not name the watch manufacturer.

In February 2018, Garmin announced that its D2 Charlie aviator watch had been selected by the Air Force  for use by the pilots of the Lockheed U-2 aircraft. “The high-sensitivity WAAS GPS-enabled D2 Charlie aviator watch incorporates global navigation capability, rich and colorful moving maps and more, providing pilots in the USAF with an exclusive, back-up navigation timepiece in the cockpit. . . . The D2 Charlie aviator watch will be an integral and functional part of the U-2 pilot’s toolkit.”

According to the press release, Garmin expected the United States Air Force to take delivery of more than 100 D2 Charlies.

Among the sensors mentioned on Garmin’s spec sheet for the watch are GPS, GLONASS, a heart rate monitor, barometric altimeter, compass, accelerometer and thermometer. BeiDou is not listed.

However, in an annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company stated: “Garmin utilizes a variety of other global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) including, but not limited to . . . .The BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), a Chinese satellite navigation system that is expected to have 35 operating satellites in orbit by 2020 and will provide global coverage.”

Garmin’s D2 Charlie watch, shown here with Weather radar overlay feature. Photo: Garmin

D2 Charlie has a sapphire scratch-resistant crystal lens and a diamond-like carbon (DLC) coated titanium bezel. A sunlight-readable, high-resolution color display with LED backlight on the watch face allows pilots to view data in most lighting conditions in the cockpit. It offers up to 20 hours of battery life in GPS mode and up to 12 days in smartwatch mode. It comes with a leather wristband and a sporty silicone band.

By Inside GNSS
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