Different strokes

Jul 2009 | Comments Off on Different strokes

The article presents views and opinion about current issues and priorities surrounding Geomatics and GNSS by experts in their repective domain.

GNSS: The international cooperation is inevitable

Akio Yasuda

Professor Emeritus Tokyo University of Marine Science
and Technology,Tokyo, Japan
Basic Act on the Advancement of Utilizing Geospatial Information was approved by the cabinet in Japan last year. It states the promotion of the various kinds of the applications of geodetic information in both private and public areas to realize the convenient and safe society. The supplementary budget to save the economical crises this year in Japan prepares a lot of money to promote the utilization of geographic information. In order to realize such society in near future, the further preparation of the positioning infrastructure and improvement of the positioning technique much more than present state. The academic sector is preparing the application of the budget for the coming fi ve years. Built in type car navigation device are very popular in Japan. Recently, low cost PND (Portable Navigation Device) is being accepted for its low cost, convenience and acceptable accuracy on car. There are several problems, when used by pedestrian. If the sensitivity of the GPS receiver is not enough, he may lose his position. The multipath scatters his position sometimes hundred meters with high sensitivity GPS receivers. It also misleads his route. The energy consumption is also an issue. Improvement of performance in the urban area is essential for personal navigation. As for the personal navigation, the positioning in the building and underpass, there are some ideas are proposed such as IMES. They will offer seamless navigation continuously from outside SPECIAL FEATURE and help them for their activities in some extent with various regional information. However, they do not offer real time accurate positions. Thus they are not applicable to the machine control inside the building such as controlling nursing robot. The development of the indoor navigation system is important for the future aging society.

The globalization of the GNSS will proceed in the next decade. In addition to GPS and GLONSS, Galileo and COMPASS are on line. They were developed for the hegemony of the developing countries regardless whether it is conscious or not. QZSS is under developing by Japan to supplement and augment GPS performance for civil use.

Integrated use of these satellite navigation systems will promote signifi cantly the performance of satellite navigation. Then the unifi cation of the time scale and geographic coordinate are essential. The international cooperation is inevitable.

SDI: Human issues are most critical

Al Stevens

GSDI Secretariat
I think there are both technical issues and human issues to deal with, but the most critical are the human issues, eg we need fi nd ways of selling the need for SDI development at the ministry level. We need business case examples that are convincing to the Ministers of the many nations that are emerging SDI candidates and the ones that have not yet started anything. We need to identify the economic and policy examples that convince ministers and minister managers. We also need to develop assessment tools that help us to evaluate the credibility or existing SDI programs.

Navigation: Accuracy, availability, infrastructure and cost of deployment

Dr. Naser El-Sheimy

University of Calgary, Canada

Dr. Chris Goodall

Trusted Positioning Inc, Calgary, Canada
The bottlenecks faced by current navigation technologies relate to accuracy, availability, infrastructure and cost of deployment. There are many technologies that are very promising in terms of accuracy and availability, such as RFID and UWB, but cannot be deployed in mainstream due to infrastructure requirements and time spent customizing an environment. There are also technologies that are very accurate and self-contained, such as high grade INS, but these are extremely costly and are limited to military and high-end surveying applications. Even the most commonly used navigation methods such as GPS, AGPS and cell tower positioning are not always available or accurate due to signal availability and infrastructure restrictions.
Starting from the military navigation needs that gave birth to the ubiquitous, yet not-always-available Global Positioning System (GPS) for absolute outdoor navigation, to highly accurate, yet expensive, inertial navigation systems, there is not a single system that is always available for all environments, which is also low cost and infrastructure free. The lack of such a system for consumer applications is especially noticeable for applications such as E911, indoor emergency personnel localization, and even indoor mapping or simultaneous location and mapping. The concept of combining complimentary navigation systems has been gradually gaining acceptance for commercial applications. This has been the maxim in safety-related or mission critical applications, and as such, it is imprudent to depend on a single navigation technique. The requirements for cost and space constraints are currently driving providers of positioning technologies and applications to investigate and develop the next generation of low cost and small size navigation and guidance systems to meet the fast growing location services market demands. Interesting advances in Micro- Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology have shown unleashed potential towards the development of such systems. MEMS are integrated micro devices or systems combining electrical and mechanical components whose sizes range from micrometers to millimeters. MEMS is an enabling technology and the MEMS industry has a projected 10- 20% annual growth rate to reach 200 billion US$ market by the end of 2009. Advances in MEMS technology combined with the miniaturization of electronics, have made it possible to produce chipbased inertial sensors for use in measuring angular velocity and acceleration. These chips are small, lightweight, consume very little power, and are extremely reliable. They have found a wide spectrum of applications in the automotive, mobile phone and other industrial applications. However, while MEMS sensors are not very accurate for navigation and positioning, if harnessed, the resultant system design can be driven by a tradeoff between cost and performance. The push to integrate MEMS with existing wireless infrastructure will enhance system availability and accuracy without increasing cost or infrastructure. The MEMS sensors themselves are inherent to many existing electronic devices for other uses, and as such their deployment cost is negligible and there is no required infrastructure. Wireless signal infrastructure is always being improved, but not a single system can say it covers every environment; it is the fusion of lowcost inertial navigators with all available wireless signals that will form the solution.

MEMS technology can be used to develop positioning and navigation systems that are inexpensive, small, consume low power (microwatt), require no additional infrastructure, and provide a solution that is always available. All the necessary hardware components for this type of positioning system exist; it is the data fusion of the components that is the bottleneck of a successful solution.
Researchers and companies alike continue to work on a fusion solution. In Calgary, this has spawned the creation of a University of Calgary spin-off company called Trusted Positioning Inc. (TPI). TPI has over thirty (30) person years of research and development specializing in processing techniques required to make the signals of low-cost MEMS navigation systems usable for positioning purposes when combined with any number of wireless updates.

Remote Sensing: Contributing to Millennium Development Goals


President of ISPRS Istanbul Technical University,
Humanity stands on the threshold of a peaceful and prosperous future, with an unprecedented ability to extend life spans and increase the power of ordinary people – but is likely to blow it through inequality, violence and environmental degradation. And governments are not equipped to ensure that the opportunities are seized and disasters averted. Therefore the 3 important issues which “Remote Sensing”, needs attention is as below outlined; For a human living on this planet is to think about the future of his/her environment. This is currently the most important issue for scientists, whether or not he or she is working on an area close to the subjects such as
•Environmental Monitoring
•Climate Change or Global Warming,
•Powering a Sustainable Future: Policies
and measures to make it happen. We should investigate how we can
contribute to reach the “Millennium Development Goals”.
Nobody doubts that there are serious threats to the population of planet Earth, many from physical phenomena brought about by changes to the environment caused by human activities. A list of these would include threats from weather, natural disasters (although some of these, such as earthquakes, are not new threats, or brought about by human activity), disease and loss of adequate water of food supplies. These threats have not escaped the notice of governments, and although there is discussion over who is responsible and what should be (GEO) established by the fi rst Earth Observation Summit in July 2003 which declared the need for “timely, quality, long-term, global information as a basis for sound decision making”. The second Earth Observation Summit in April 2004 agreed to a Framework which established the basic principles for preparing an Implementation Plan for a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).
The plan also calls for support to countries, particularly developing countries, in their national efforts to collect data, use satellite and remote-sensing technologies for data collection and to access, explore and use geographic information.
As members of international and regional scientifi c societies we need to ask whether we are playing a role and whether we should be doing more. We also need to ask whether our members want us to devote resources to this type of activity and whether the right people are already involved. ISPRS is represented on COPUOS, CEOS and ICSU and makes a contribution through discussions at meetings and through the advice of experts nominated by ISPRS. This has been done in the area of education and data policy for example.

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