GPS News, News Archives


Jun 2005 | Comments Off on NEWSBRIEFS – GPS

Tsunami shifts Bangkok southwest…

Bangkok has moved about nine centimetres (3.5 inches) horizontally southwestwards because of the December 26 earthquake that measured 9.0 on the Richter scale and sent devastating tsunamis across the Indian Ocean. The tourist island of Phuket also moved 32 centimetres (12.6 inches) southwestwards since the quake, said the Chulalongkorn University researchers, who used GPS satellites to measures the shifts during a January 20-24 survey. Researcher Itthi’s survey engineering department at Chulalongkorn is collecting data from six other locations in Thailand to get a better picture of how the nation’s geography has changed, the Nation newspaper reported.


…and brings India and Indonesia 12cm closer

The December-26 earthquake that triggered the giant tsunami pushed India 12 cm closer to Indonesia, according to scientists of the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI). The findings are the result of analysis of data gathered over a month from GPS receivers at different locations by a team of NGRI scientists.These post-quake coordinates of the two land masses indicated by the GPS receivers, supplemented by data from permanent GPS stations in Indonesia and India, showed that southern India had moved 10-15 mm eastwards and Sumatra a bit less westward, bringing them 12 cm nearer to each other.

GPS production to skyrocket to $21.5 billion in 2008

The GPS technology has contributed a great deal to the world economy over the last decade. Presently, there are more than hundreds of uses of GPS, starting from stand-alone applications to more integrated, embedded applications. In Western Europe, the vehicle navigation market is in its initial stages, but there is already a strong demand for traffic information and navigation solutions. Countries like USA, Japan, and some others have gained a cumulative shipment of 9.39 million in-vehicle navigation and traffic information units in May 2002, and still find a great demand.

Research and Markets has announced the addition of ‘GPS Market Update 2004-2005’ to their offering. The GPS production value globally is expected to grow to $21.5 billion in 2008, up from $13 billion in 2003, according to the Industrial Economics and Knowledge Center (IEK) of the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), Taiwan.

In the year 2003, GPS equipment sales was reported to be around US $3.5 billion worldwide, and that annual market could grow to US $10 billion after 2010, according to a report published by a market research firm.

Based on the industry trends and technological assessment, experts predict that the market is expected to grow by the next 15-20 years. The market is yet to perform as well as expected. Predictions also show strong annual growth and an expected market size of US $757 billion by 2017.

NOAA readjusts the National Spatial Reference Syste

Beginning in June 2005, the US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will perform a general readjustment of the horizontal position and ellipsoidal heights in the National Spatial Reference System (NSRS) using high accuracy GPS data. The NSRS is a consistent national coordinate system that specifies latitude, longitude, height, scale and gravity throughout the nation. This data provides the foundation for transportation, communication, mapping, charting and a multitude of scientific and engineering applications. Using GPS data, the readjustment will improve accuracy and consistency of the NSRS and provide a local and network accuracy measure for each coordinate.

UAE vehicles to install telematics devices

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has hired computer giant IBM to develop a special traffic tracking system to help curb road accidents that have reached deadly proportions, a statement said. Under the four-year contract, worth up to $125m, the “telematics” devices will be installed in tens of thousands of vehicles, whose drivers are deemed among the world’s worst, in pilot projects over the next four years to allow police to better manage chaotic traffic in the state.

Similar in concept to the black boxes found in aircraft, the new telematics device combines microprocessors with advanced GPS tracking and other wireless communications to capture, analyse and deliver data via a wireless network to the UAE’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

The device is so advanced that it can monitor the speed of the moving vehicle and compare it to the defined speed limit on each street. If the car exceeds the limit, the device sends out a warning message to the driver. Trials of GPS-monitored speed sensing systems have already begun in the Netherlands.

Germany’s SC rules GPS police searches constitutional

Germany’s Supreme Court has ruled that police surveillance via the satellite- based GPS and the use of data gained from such observations is not unconstitutional. The Court thus overruled the charge that a member of the “Anti-Imperialist Cell” had been unconstitutionally sentenced to thirteen years in prison on four counts of murder and four bombings.

In their investigations, criminal prosecutors had installed a transmitter in the suspect’s vehicle, which they are allowed to do according to the Act for the Prevention of Illegal Narcotics Trading and Other Types of Organized Crime (OrgKG). After it had been detected and rendered useless, the police installed a GPS receiver in the car. By analyzing the positioning data for roughly two and a half months, the police were able to track the vehicle’s trips and stops almost completely. The technology is said to have considerably helped investigators prove that the suspect committed the four bombings.

However, the suspect filed suit at the Supreme Court to have such tracking via GPS ruled an unconstitutional violation of his basic rights. He argued that GPS surveillance represents an especially severe breach of his privacy and thus requires special legal authority. Therefore, he claimed that the simultaneous surveillance of him and the others facing similar charges is unconstitutional. The data and knowledge gained in the process thus should not have been allowed in court.

However, the judges in the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court ruled that the technical surveillance of suspects does not generally constitute a breach of privacy. The court found that scope and intensity of the intervention in privacy that takes place when technical instruments are used for surveillance generally do not reach the inviolable core area of the right to lead the kind of life one wants. In addition, the legal regulations fulfill the legal requirements. However, the court called on legislators to keep a close eye on technical developments in light of the rapid changes in information technology and the risks they pose for the protection of basic rights.

India plans for regional satellite navigation system

India is planning a regional satellite navigation system, similar to the GPS of the United States. India wants to set up the “Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System” (IRNSS), that would be totally under its control.

When implemented, the IRNSS would provide positional accuracy similar to the GPS system for 1,500 km around the country, according to the Notes on Demands for Grants from the Department of Space. A configuration with eight satellites was being studied, say officials of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). In addition, ISRO and the Airports Authority of India are jointly establishing a GPS augmentation system for navigation and precision landing of aircraft over India.

GAGAN to have SBAS equipment

NovAtel Inc., a precise positioning technology company, has announced
that an order for additional Space Based Augmentation System (SBAS) equipment was received from Raytheon Company in support of the Indian GAGAN program.

This latest contract with Raytheon follows on from an award to Raytheon by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) of a contract for the ground-based elements of the GPS and GEO (Geostationary Earth Orbit) Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) Technology Demonstration System (TDS), in November 2004. NovAtel will supply receiver elements of these ground-based elements, which will be included in eight Indian reference stations, an Indian master control center, and an Indian land uplink station.

The GAGAN project is part of a worldwide movement toward space-based navigation, which has been endorsed by the International Civil Aviation Organization.


Elephants go hitech: send GPS data via SMS

As part of a campaign by NGO, Save the Elephants, pachyderms in Kenya are getting in on the action, as well. They’re being fitted with specially designed GSM/GPS collars that hold what are essentially mini cellphones, which are programmed to send SMS messages to farmers’ mobiles with the latest GPS positions of the animals.

The elephants can also be tracked on the web in (near) real time via Animal Tracking System software, which gathers data from the GSM/GPS tags and makes it available via standard web browsers.

And the blind will see: pocketPC and GPS tools

HumanWare of New Zealand is showing the first integration of Trekker, a standalone GPS orientation solution for the blind, and Maestro during the CSUN Conference on Technology and Persons with Disabilities. HumanWare is a new company created through the recent merger of VisuAide and Pulse Data, both active in the development of products for persons with disabilities.

Old trees get new lease of life in China

After losing 86 old trees over a period
of six years, Shenzhen has turned to the GPS to preserve the remaining
old trees. From last September, Shenzhen forestry authorities began defining positions of old trees using the system and, so far, the positions of more than 400 old trees had been determined by means of the positioning system, said Chen Lizhong, an official of the municipal forestry office.

The special economic zone excluded the districts of Bao’an and Longgang and a tree older than 100 years was regarded as an old tree, he said. Chen said they would soon start recording old trees in Bao’an and Longgang.

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