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Next Generation


caseyb
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Today I got an e-mail that I thought might be of interest to the really techie GPS crew around here. There are a number of "next generation" GPS things going on (more signals basically) that may someday trickle down to the handheld unit world. Eventually some of the handhelds might be dual frequency, and your accuracy is going to get better.

 

Anyway, just FYI....

 

As of November 25, 2005, Lou Estey and Werner Gurtner have

removed the "DRAFT" tag from the RINEX 2.11 document.

Without any further mechanism for international agreement,

removal of this DRAFT tag represents an official stamp

on RINEX 2.11.

 

The primary change in RINEX 2.11 is the allowance of

new GPS (L2C and L5) as well as Galileo signals. Discussions

of how and when to adopt RINEX 2.11 at NGS will be scheduled

soon.

 

See the following link for full information, including

changes from RINEX 2.10 and plans for future modification

of the RINEX standard.

 

http://www.aiub.unibe.ch/download/rinex/rinex211.txt

Edited by caseyb
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If you work with TOPCON Survey equipment as I often do, you already utilize GLONASS birds for fixes. It adds to system reliability by roughly doubling the number of strong signals which can be used over the course of a day by a great deal. I have even observed where TOPCON has maintained higher accuracy over similarly equipped Trimble systems during difficult time where NAVSTAR Constellation reliability was low.

 

I think the good Stamp of approval on RINEX 2.11 will help a lot. The GLONASS usage by TOPCON is a proprietary deal, and this will offer it's competitors a way to increase availability and reliability.

 

Thanks for sharing Casey,

 

Rob

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Another big step forward for the civilian GPS world....

 

In case you haven't heard, the Air Force officially activated the second

civilian GPS signal on Friday. It is now available, after 8 years of

anticipation and support from DOC. While of limited use until more

satellites are launched, the new signal still represents a momentous

advance in the U.S. GPS program.

 

DOC is working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to host a public media

forum on January 25, 2006, to celebrate the activation of the second

civilian GPS signal. I am putting in a request for Secretary Gutierrez

to participate by delivering the keynote address. Please let me know if

you are interested in helping out with this event, which is rapidly

approaching.

 

AF press released attached.

 

Jason Y. Kim

Office of Space Commercialization

NOAA Satellite & Information Service

 

---

 

*SUNNYVALE, Calif*.**, Dec. 19, 2005 – ****A joint U.S. Air

Force/**Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] team announced today that the first

modernized Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite has been declared

fully operational for GPS users around the globe following extensive

on-orbit testing of the spacecraft's new military and civilian signals.

 

Launched on Sept. 25 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. the GPS

IIR-14 (M) satellite is the most technologically advanced GPS satellite

ever developed. The spacecraft features a modernized antenna panel that

provides increased signal power to receivers on the ground, two new

military signals for improved accuracy, enhanced encryption and

anti-jamming capabilities for the military, and a second civil signal

that will provide users with an open access signal on a different

frequency.

 

"With this launch, we're truly launching a new era of GPS services for

our military and civil users around the globe," according to Col Allan

Ballenger, System Program Director for the Navstar GPS program at Los

Angeles Air Force Base. "This modernized satellite will broadcast the

first new GPS signals since the GPS constellation became fully

operational over a decade ago."

 

The satellite was declared operational on Dec. 16 by Air Force Space

Command's 2^nd Space Operations Squadron (2 SOPS) at Schriever Air Force

Base, Colo., which manages and operates the GPS constellation for both

civil and military users.

 

"As 2 SOPS celebrates its 20th year of operating the GPS constellation,

it's fitting that we embark upon the next generation of GPS satellites,”

said Lt. Col. Steve Hamilton, 2 SOPS commander. “Our operations team is

thrilled to be part of this monumental achievement."

 

* *

 

The GPS IIR team is now gearing up for the launch of the second

modernized IIR satellite scheduled for liftoff in early 2006 from Cape

Canaveral. Lockheed Martin is under contract to modernize eight IIR

satellites for its customer, the Navstar GPS Joint Program Office, Space

and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif.

 

“The entire GPS team should be very proud of this significant milestone

in the GPS program,” said Leonard F. Kwiatkowski, vice president and

general manager of Military Space Programs at Lockheed Martin Space

Systems Company.

 

“We are extremely pleased with the on-orbit performance of the first

modernized satellite and look forward to providing a major improvement

in navigation capability for both military and civilian users of the

worldwide system," added Kwiatkowski.

 

The modernized navigation payloads are being built by ITT in Clifton,

N.J. The satellite upgrades along with final assembly, integration and

test is being performed at Lockheed Martin facilities in Valley Forge, Pa.

 

“We are proud to be a part of the team modernizing this global asset,”

said Dick Arra, vice president and director, navigation, ITT Space

Systems Division. “Built on 25 years of GPS payload development, the

IIR payloads are designed to meet the rigors of space and operate in a

radiation contaminated environment while providing precise three

dimensional position, time and velocity information on a 24-hour

worldwide basis.”

 

The Global Positioning System enables properly equipped users to

determine precise time and velocity and worldwide latitude, longitude

and altitude to within a few meters.

 

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 135,000

people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design,

development, manufacture and integration of advanced technology systems,

products and services. The corporation reported 2004 sales of $35.5

billion.

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What, if anything do the messages in this Next Generation topic mean in terms of the immediate (next few months) future of handheld GPS receivers like the ones we use?

 

Will our GPS receivers be able to take advantage of the new satellite's newest features or must we wait until the manufacturers make new models that will make use of the "second civilian GPS signal"? If they do make such new models, will they extend the handheld precision from the DDDMMSS.S level to the DDDMMSS.SS level or beyond? Or is this news just related to an improvement for professional-grade ($X,000) GPS receivers?

 

I've been thinking of getting a new GPS receiver (my 1999 model seems to be getting a bit antiquated). Should I go ahead and get one now, or wait another year or so for these improvements we're reading about here?

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BDT wrote:

I've been thinking of getting a new GPS receiver (my 1999 model seems to be getting a bit antiquated). Should I go ahead and get one now, or wait another year or so for these improvements we're reading about here?

 

 

As you think about the new features, here's something else to throw into the mix. Garmin's map updates now ship exclusively on DVD instead of CD-ROM. I just received my update for CitySelect, and I can't use it. Even with six computers--three of them purchased this year--none is configured for DVD. They can be retrofitted, of course, but this is an extra expense.

 

This situation slipped up on me. To me, DVD meant "movies", and I certainly did not want folks in my office watching a flick on company time. Of course, the DVD makes map distribution easier, since one disk can replace two CD-ROM's.

 

I'll get my computer team to install a drive on one of the new machines. But the delay is frustrating, as well as having to pony up more money. I'm certain the other GPS map vendors will be using DVD in the future--if they are not already doing so.

 

Bottom line: If a new computer is in your future, specify a CD-ROM/DVD player, if you have that option. You'll be needing it--no matter how old your GPS receiver happens to be!

 

-Paul-

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BDT wrote:
I've been thinking of getting a new GPS receiver (my 1999 model seems to be getting a bit antiquated). Should I go ahead and get one now, or wait another year or so for these improvements we're reading about here?

 

 

As you think about the new features, here's something else to throw into the mix. Garmin's map updates now ship exclusively on DVD instead of CD-ROM. I just received my update for CitySelect, and I can't use it. Even with six computers--three of them purchased this year--none is configured for DVD. They can be retrofitted, of course, but this is an extra expense.

 

This situation slipped up on me. To me, DVD meant "movies", and I certainly did not want folks in my office watching a flick on company time. Of course, the DVD makes map distribution easier, since one disk can replace two CD-ROM's.

 

I'll get my computer team to install a drive on one of the new machines. But the delay is frustrating, as well as having to pony up more money. I'm certain the other GPS map vendors will be using DVD in the future--if they are not already doing so.

 

Bottom line: If a new computer is in your future, specify a CD-ROM/DVD player, if you have that option. You'll be needing it--no matter how old your GPS receiver happens to be!

 

-Paul-

A common misconception...

 

DVD to many people means Digital Video Disc. The acronym actually stands for Digital Versatile Disc. Much the same, as when CD-ROMS appeared in computers, and most people thought a CD was strictly an audio disc.

 

Interesting note: when I purchased my most recent computer a couple months ago, all the discs (backup software) that came with the CPU were DVDs and not CDs.

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Bottom line: If a new computer is in your future, specify a CD-ROM/DVD player, if you have that option. You'll be needing it--no matter how old your GPS receiver happens to be!

 

-Paul-

Don't spec a DVD player - spend the extra $20 and spec a DVD BURNER - trust me - handiest thing going

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A common misconception...

 

DVD to many people means Digital Video Disc.  The acronym actually stands for Digital Versatile Disc.

Not so much a misconception as an older version of the acronym.

 

When the product was first introduced, DVD did indeed stand for "digital video disk." When its 4+ gigabyte data capacity began to be exploited for other purposes, the awkward retronym "digital versatile disk" was coined.

 

A DVD writer is a handy device for backups, but note there are several formats, including DVD+, DVD- and dual-layer. Not all media will work in all drives.

 

-ArtMan-

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Coming Soon: Nationwide Differential GPS, or NDGPS. This is a signal broadcast from antennae on the ground that supplements the GPS signal. It works similarly to FAA's WAAS that some GPS receivers can use, but it will cover the entire country (including much of Alaska). I would bet that in a few years, you will see GPS receivers will come out that will be able to receive the NDGPS signal. Details - http://www.tfhrc.gov/its/ndgps/

 

Down the road: High Accuracy NDGPS or HA-NDGPS. This is the 'next generation' signal that is being tested out. Details - http://www.tfhrc.gov/its/ndgps/handgps/03039.htm

Edited by NorStar
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Wow. I've heard of it, but had no idea how soon it was coming. See the USCG Nationwide DGPS page. There are 35 stations already, and they expect full US single station coverage by the end of 2006. No current coverage map for NDGPS. I believe NDGPS is an entirely different (newer, more accurate) DGPS system than the older (current) USCG Maritime beacon DGPS system

 

So - where / when are the small portable NDGPS receivers, and the handheld GPS receivers that go with them? And the High Acuracy version in "several years" will be accurate down to 10cm accuracy?

 

Hmmmm.... these could take the fun out of geocaching, or at least force it to evolve. Time soon for the High Accuracy Geocaching website (www.ha-geocaching.com). Better register the URL, Jeremy.

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Our present handhelds routinely obtain accuracies of2 or 3 meters under good signal conditions. That would already pretty much make geocaching trivial except for the the fact that 99% of the caches are hidden someplace that messes up the signal so the handheld does not get decent accuracy.

 

The improvements coming will receive additional signals/signal features or regional corrections that will let you get finer resolution on good signals. Most of the corrections have to do with what the ionospheric layers do to the signal on its way to earth. Very little of this improvement will be relevant to the problems of tree leaves and building reflections that make our readings wander 20 meters, faster than we could walk it.

 

Improvements will help us know exactly where to probe for that triangulation station, but won't do in geocaching.

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Wow.  I've heard of it, but had no idea how soon it was coming.  See the USCG Nationwide DGPS page.  There are 35 stations already, and they expect full US single station coverage by the end of 2006.  No current coverage map for NDGPS.  I believe NDGPS is an entirely different (newer, more accurate) DGPS system than the older (current) USCG Maritime beacon DGPS system

 

So - where / when are the small portable NDGPS receivers, and the handheld GPS receivers that go with them?  And the High Acuracy version in "several years" will be accurate down to 10cm accuracy?

 

Hmmmm....  these could take the fun out of geocaching, or at least force it to evolve.  Time soon for the High Accuracy Geocaching website (www.ha-geocaching.com).  Better  register the URL, Jeremy.

Regular NDGPS is the same as the Coast Guard beacons, just spread out inland. They've improved the accuracy of the coastal and inland corrections over time (not to mention it's much better since SA went to zero), but they are the same RTCM messages they were before. Your handheld can use this data now, the problem is the beacon radios to feed it in the serial port would be something else to buy. As wireless data costs go down, getting the corrections over IP streaming from your phone might take off.

 

The high accuracy stuff they're developing uses a smaller message format to fit more information. They're playing with atmospheric modelling, dual frequency and carrier phase data to make this happen. One problem is overlaying this on the current broadcast without disrupting the legacy beacon users. The development is being done largely by the US Coast Guard, and there are just too many boats out there that need to work on the old system. There's still a lot of work to do on this and a lot of procurement to distribute it around the system.

 

Of course, it's hard to tell how much this will filter down into the hobbyist handheld market. To get the 10 cm, you'll need dual frequency carrier phase tracking. It's some of the same technology used for expensive survey systems, but not as accurate because of the long distances from the reference receiver and the limited bandwidth they have to work with. The new L2C signal will help drive the cost of dual frequency down, but there's only 1 satellite with it so far and it will be several years before there are enough put up to be useful.

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