On a dare, Texas college researchers hacked into and hijacked a drone of the US Homeland Security before the eyes of the officials operating it. Using a technique called ‘spoofi ng’ where a signal from hackers imitates the one sent to the drone’s on-board GPS, the researchers managed to take control of a small but powerful drone in mid-air. And the hijacking was just for a $1,000 wager. The incident unnerved the Homeland security offi cials. The hijackers team was led by professor Todd Humphreys at Austin Radionavigation Laboratory. “Spoofi ng a GPS receiver on a UAV is just another way of hijacking a plane,” Humphreys said.
According to the new GSA report, the worldwide GNSS market is growing fast and the total market size is expected to increase at an average of 13% per year until 2016. The total enabled GNSS market size is expected to stabilise in the latter half of the decade due to market saturation, price erosion and platform convergence. Global shipments of GNSS devices are lower than previously forecasted up until 2015 yet are forecasted to continue growing to over 1.1 billion units per year.
China will invest USD 81.24 million to build a modern national network to monitor movements in earth’s crust and other earth sciences in the next four years, according to an announcement by the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation. The programme will mobilise more than 3,000 technicians nationwide to build a threedimensional and dynamic “geodetic” network with high precision. China lags far behind developed countries in terms of surveying and mapping technologies. The latest geoid determination network of the US can reach an accuracy of upto three to four centimetres, while China can only determine geoid at an accuracy of 30 cm in its eastern part and 60 cm in its western region. The national geodetic network aims to build 360 GPS reference stations, and a satellite-geodesy control network consisting of 4,500 control points.
Boeing completed the fi fth of 12 GPS IIF satellites the company is building for the US Air Force. The spacecraft was built at the Satellite Development Center in El Segundo using the GPS IIF pulse-line manufacturing approach, which draws on commercial production line practices to build satellites faster and more effi ciently.
Natural Environment Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council, both based in the UK, funded GBP 3.5 million to a fi ve year project, ‘Earthquakes without frontiers’. The project aims to understand, threat posed by unanticipated earthquakes in continental interiors. It will be led by the University of Cambridge. Researchers will use stateof the-art ground- and satellite-based technology to examine the link between earthquake faults and the landscape they have created.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is out with a report on LBS that outlines government and industry efforts to address the privacy issues surrounding those very services. The FCC declined to adopt any regulations or best practices, but stated it would “continue to monitor industry compliance with applicable statutory requirements and evolving industry best practices.” According to details outlined in the report, the FCC has identifi ed key privacy issues implicated by locationbased services – Notice and transparency, Meaningful consumer choice, Third party access to personal information, Data security and minimization. The FCC noted that because location-based service data is considered particularly sensitive information, heightened security requirements can be reasonably expected of the industry. The FCC also noted that as little data should be stored for a short a period as possible to lessen security breaches, although there is a tension because law enforcement would fi nd location data valuable suggesting longer storage times would be valuable.
A proposal to increase import duties to 25% on all gadgets equipped with GPS locators but lacking Russia’s homegrown version, Glonass, has been rejected. The decision was apparently taken by the Eurasian Economic Commission, the regulatory body of the Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus customs union on May 28. With nearly all modern smart phones and tablets coming equipped with just GPS, the move would have seen these gadgets jump in price across the board. The idea to raise the levy for GPS-only devices was originally proposed by Russian government offi cials to encourage device manufacturers to include Glonass in their gadgets.
China successfully launched its 12th and 13th Beidou satellites with one rocket early this year. It is the fi rst time that Beidou satellite navigation system adopts “one rocket with two satellites” technology and applies it in the long and medium range earth orbit’ launch. It will help improve the accuracy of the Beidou navigation network and stimulate the industrial development. GPS receivers account for over 95% of the navigation terminal market, which brings increasing concern in national defense and economic security. According to CCID Consulting, the output of China’s GPS industry reached RMB107.23 billion in 2011, up 25.2% year on year. According to CCID Consulting’s statistics, the size of China’s Beidou satellite navigation industry reached RMB 8.596 billion in 2011, up 43.2% year on year. As indicated in government plan, the size of China’s satellite navigation industry is expected to hit RMB 200 billion by 2015 and double in the following five