GPS News


Apr 2011 | No Comment


India grant-in-aid for GAGAN project

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) in India approved a one time grant-in aid of INR 378 crore as budgetary support for implementation of GPS-aided Geo Augmented Navigation system (GAGAN). The GAGAN system, estimated to cost INR 774 crore, would make the skies from South-east Asia to Africa, including Indian airspace, much safer. The system, being developed jointly by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), would place India in the fourth position along with the US, Europe and Japan to have such an advanced navigation system.

As much as INR 171 crore would be provided for the project for the current year, while for the next year, appropriate provisions would be made for the balance amount, according to a press statement by the government. Of the total project cost of INR 774 crore, AAI was required to shell out INR 604 crore, while ISRO was to contribute rest of the money (INR 170 crore). AAI has already spent INR 226 crore and sought one time grant-in-aid of INR 378 crore from the Gross Budgetary Support to meet its balance commitment, the statement said.

The project is expected to be ready for operational use by May 2013, according to a government official. It would be an all weather national infrastructure and can be used by defence services, security agencies, Railways, surface transport, shipping, telecom industry besides personal users of position

Korean peninsula has moved 5 cm

The Korean Peninsula has moved five centimeters to the east due to the massive quake that rocked Japan last week, according to the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI). After analyzing GPS data, KASI claimed that the peninsula moved between 1 cm to 5 cm depending on the location, with Ulleung Island and nearby Dokdo islets in the East Sea being most affected. The south-western part of the country and Jeju Island off the peninsula’s southern coast moved far less. Ulleung and Dokdo are the closest South Korean territories to the epicenter of the 9.0 magnitude tremor that devastated the north-eastern part of Honshu Island. The epicenter was located 130 kilometers east of Sendai city under the

Kenya using GPS to prevent elephant poaching

Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park is home to more than 12,000 elephants – but they are under threat from habitat loss, drought and poaching. Hence, they are planning to track a selection of animals by GPS to map exactly how they use the huge area.

The Kenyan Wildlife Service has teamed up with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to fit GPS collars on eight male and female animals for a 20 month period, according to Elphus Bitok, a KWS research scientist. Knowing exactly where the animals are, say rangers, will help improve security and fight poaching and produce better ways to intervene when there are instances of conflict with humans. Fred O’Regan, President and CEO, IFAW, said that the cost of losing elephants and other wildlife and their habitats is greater than securing them. “Another thing we are trying to do out here is to identify where the legitimate migratory corridors that we can protect to make sure this animal thrives for the future.”

Nigeria to introduce new geodetic system

Nigeria will soon introduce new geodetic system (WGS84) as 90 percent work has been done, according to Alhaji Ibrahim Auyo, Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA). Auyo said that French Government is also helping in this process by providing training to two Nigerian people from the agency. Referring NCAA director-general, Dr. Harold Demuren, Auyo said that Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) will start performance-based navigation. It will link NAMA to the WGS84 and once it gets started, the terrestrial facilities like Instrument Landing System (ILS) will be gradually scrapped. Commenting on International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) deadline for the migration to satellite-based navigation system by 2016, Auyo said that he is expecting by March NAMA will get almost all requisite software. He added that the agency has collaborated with NCAA in this direction. There are a many training programmes on it for the pilots.

Extra fund for surveying NCR lands in Sarawak

Malaysian Federal Government provided an additional MYR60 million (MYR: Malaysian ringgit) for surveying native customary lands (NCR) in Sarawak, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dougles Uggah Embas said. “After successfully surveying 30,000 hectares of land at a cost of MYR 20 million last year, the government has decided to set aside the additional allocation for the same purpose the next two years,” he said. The minister added that with the additional allocation, the Sarawak Land and Survey Department would be able to survey 300,000 – 400,000 hectares of NCR land.

Combat against GPS jammers

GNSS Availability, Accuracy, Reliability and Integrity Assessment for Timing and Navigation (GAARDIAN) Consortium has developed an equipment to provide real-time information about the reliability of GPS at airports or other sensitive locations using networks of probes, The Economist reports. Each probe can pick up GPS signals and signals from eLoran, an enhanced version of Loran, the ground-based terrestrial radio-navigation system first used by the American and British navies during the Second World War. The probes also contain a small atomic clock. By comparing the GPS and eLoran time signals with its internal clock, each probe can detect interference and determine whether it is natural or man-made.
Development of this equipment was funded by the UK Government’s Technology Strategy Board and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Member of the Consortium are Imperial College London, University of Bath, BT Design, Chronos Technology, and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, the General Lighthouse Authority, the National Physical Laboratory, and Ordnance Survey. As the uses of satellite positioning technology continue to grow, in a bid to stop deliberate and dangerous jamming of GPS signals, the Consortium was assigned this GBP 2.2 million project.

The Economist

Sri Lanka uses GPS to discipline errant drivers

Sri Lanka started using GPS to monitor the movements of buses in a bid to ‘detect and control misdeeds’ committed by drivers. According to Chandrasiri Weerasekara, Director, National Transport Commission (NTC), GPS is being used to detect buses that run at high speeds and at unacceptable low speeds, ignore stipulated bus stops and unnecessarily stop for long periods of time, the Daily Mirror reported. The buses would be monitored to ascertain whether they run according to time tables and whether they follow the stipulated speed limits, said a statement by the government information department. The movements of the buses would be displayed on digital screens at monitoring centers, and errant drivers would be instantly advised to follow rules over satellite phones placed in the buses.

UK dangerously over-reliant on GPS signals

The UK may have become dangerously over-reliant on satellite-navigation signals, according to a report from the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng). Use of space-borne positioning and timing data is now widespread, in everything from freight movement to synchronisation of computer networks. The academy fears that too many applications have little or no back-up were these signals to go down. Receivers need to be capable of using a variety of data sources, it says.

Dr Martyn Thomas, who chaired the group that wrote the report, told BBC News: “There is a growing interdependence between systems that people think are backing each other up. If these systems fail, it will cause commercial damage or just conceivably loss of life. This is wholly avoidable.”

The RAEng report claimed to be the first assessment of just how many applications in the UK now use GPS signals and their like, and their probable vulnerability to an outage of some kind. It claimed that sat-nav signals are relatively weak – equivalent to receiving the light from a bright bulb at a distance of 20,000km – and this leaves them open to interference or corruption.

Possible sources include man-made ones, such as deliberate jamming, and natural hazards, such as solar activity. Both can introduce errors into the data or simply take it out altogether.

Russian investigators probe Roscosmos workers for Glonass loss

The Russian Investigative Committee said that it is probing workers at Russia’s Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, for negligence that may have caused the loss of three Glonass-M satellites in December. The satellites, meant to conclude the formation of Russia’s Glonass navigation system, were lost when a Proton-M carrier rocket veered off course and crashed in the Pacific Ocean. “According to a preliminary investigation, Roscosmos workers equipped the carrier rocket with a new booster, which had not been thoroughly tested,” Roscosmos spokesman Vladimir Markin said. “The booster malfunctioned during the flight and deviated from the designated trajectory. The incident led to the loss of the satellites and cost the state 4.3 billion rubles ($152.2 million).”

RIA Novosti

AF worried that GPS signals might get drowned out

The Air Force is worried that a proposed commercial broadband Internet system could make the nation’s Global Positioning System receivers go on the blink. Virginia-based LightSquared plans to combine a satellite network with thousands of ground transmitters to provide mobile Internet services. Air Force Space Command in Colorado Springs fears those ground transmitters, which operate at a frequency near the one used by its navigation satellites, could drown out GPS signals.

“Can you imagine if we have to change a half billion receivers?” Space Command’s vice-commander, Lt. Gen. Michael Basla asked at a Wednesday luncheon sponsored by the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. Jeff Carlisle, LightSquared’s vice president for regulatory affairs, said his firm is working with the Air Force to test its transmitters and to figure out ways to avoid interference with GPS receivers. But Carlisle noted that those receivers could be part of the problem because they pick up radio frequencies not assigned to GPS.

Korea Establishes National GNSS Research Center

Backed by a $17-million, nine-year publically funded budget, Korea has launched an inter-institutional National GNSS Research Center (NGRC) with an ambitious agenda of projects to advance the Asian nation’s role in the field. The center is headed by Sang Jeong Lee, a professor of electronics engineering at Chungnam National University (CNU) where the NGRC was established last November. The NGRC includes five laboratories, the directors of which will comprise the center’s steering committee along with Lee: GNSS Architecture Design, Changdon Kee, Seoul National University; GNSS Signal Structure Design, Jae Min Ahn, CNU; Satellite Constellation Monitoring, Moon Beom Heo, Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI); Anti-Jamming Signal Processing, Gyu In Jee, Konkuk University; and Convegence Technology, Tae Gyung Sung, CNU.

In addition to the organizations with which the steering committee members are associated, other universities and institutions, such as the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science (KRISS) and the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), are participating in the NGRC, along with several industrial companies.

The NGRC will devote its first four years to setting up a GNSS research and development infrastructure, followed by a second phase (2014–2018) that will develop core GNSS technology and capabilities for product prototyping and validation.
Beidou navigation system to serve Chinese private car owners in 2012
Chinese private car owners will be able to enjoy positioning services provided by the Beidou satellite navigation and positioning system starting in 2012, said Sun Jiadong, chief designer of the Beidou satellite navigation and positioning system. Sun said the prices of the related navigation chips will be lower than the market prices of the GPS navigation chips. China is now in the process of establishing the Beidou satellite navigation and positioning system and has successfully launched seven Beidou navigation satellites.

EGNOS Navigation System Now Serving Europe’s Aircraft

The EGNOS Safety-of-Life signal was formally declared available to aviation. For the first time, space-based navigation signals have become officially usable for the critical task of vertically guiding aircraft during landing approaches. By using three satellites and a 40-strong network of ground stations, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System (EGNOS) sharpens the accuracy of GPS satnav signals across Europe. The signals are guaranteed to the extremely high reliability set out by the International Civil Aviation Organisation standard, adapted for Europe by Eurocontrol, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation. The EGNOS Open Service was launched in October 2009, for navigation applications where the safety of human life is not at stake, such as personal navigation, goods tracking and precision farming.

After following an arduous certification and verification process, the EGNOS Safety-of-Life Service has been declared operational, and suitable for use by European aviation.

R&S signal generator gains GNSS simulator option

With the addition of a GNSS (global navigation satellite system) simulator, the Rohde & Schwarz SMBV100A multipurpose vector signal generator can now generate customized GPS and Galileo scenarios from up to 12 satellites in real time. Users can define their own scenarios to test GNSS receivers under a variety of conditions. Rohde & Schwarz claims that the SMBV100A is the only simulator on the market that supports several satellite, mobile radio, wireless, and radio standards simultaneously. Now, manufacturers of mobile phones or car radios with GNSS receivers need just one signal generator to check multiple functions at the same time.

N Korea behind GPS signal disruption in South

North Korea is responsible for the disruption of GPS signals in some part of South Korea’s capital region that caused malfunctions in mobile phones, media reports quoted officials. Communications officials could not say whether the North was behind separate cyber attacks on government Web sites including that of the presidential Blue House and the Defense Ministry that slowed or disabled them for hours.
If the North were responsible for either or both of the incidents, it could mark an escalation of tension between the rivals already high from two attacks on South Korean territory last year and ensuing exchange of threats of war and retaliation.

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