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WAYPOINTS! GPS NEWS DECEMBER 2009

Remote Safety & Work/Travel Alone GPS
Last month's feature...

This Decade of GPS, now GNSS... an homage to clunkies.

The absolutely fun thing about old products in Our Vault is their resilience! These products can and do still work, many can be updated with new maps. The GPS chipsets are operationally fine, just slower for satellite signal acquisition, also maybe less receptive in ravines or streets of tall buildings in cities. Consumer products come and go, but these are like 50's chrome toasters. Magellan RoadmateThat is good engineering. (Take THAT Henry Ford - 'parts engineered to fail' mass consumer product manufacturing malfunction part design, like poor quality derivatives!)

There's a bit more razzle dazzle (some NICE razzle dazzle), like G2 Vision marine mapping that Garmin released in 2007. The iPhone launch, Nokia cameras (N95 earned TIPA Award for best mobile imaging), the nuvifone attempted launch, new products like tablets, ebook readers.

Magellan GSC 100A few companies merged, e.g. Mio/MiTAC bought Magellan last year on its 1965 Sercel long journey through the US DoD declassification of satellite signals to civilian use. Commercial sat phones hit the commercial market. See Magellan GSC 100, released to the public in 1997. After the 2001 attack on the USA, all cell phones were equipped with GPS chips, to help locate missing persons, a 911 function; it's also a privacy and civil rights issue re citizen surveillance.

Of course, there also were duds, e.g. CoPilot Truck Pocket PC 6 with the poor mapping interface & county maps for Canada. Really, who cares or gets around or navigates via counties in Canada? Not a trucker, not anybody. In any case, this Canadian product from a US company (where county navigation presumably happens) flopped.

What is GPS and GNSS ... anyway...?

The future started a long time ago! Global Navigation Satellite System is a generic term for ALL global satellite navigtion systems.

1978
NAVSTAR (Navigation System with Timing And Ranging), now known as GPS (Global Positioning System), launched by U.S. Department of Defense for military use, with 11 satellites in orbit

1982
First GLONASS satellites launched by the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense.

1983
GPS declassified by President Reagan after a Korean Airliner was shot down by Soviet fighters. GPS moves from pure military effort to public project.

1996
-
Sercel sells its radio-positioning division to Dassault Electronique. A joint venture is formed under the name Dassault Sercel Navigation Positioning.
- U.S. President Clinton authorizes SA to be phased out to provide civilians worldwide with greater GPS accuracy.

2002
- GNSS: generic, international term 'Global Navigation Satellite System'

2009
ICG: International Committee on GNSS ~~ GPS: Global Positioning System (US, also NATO allied coutries), NAVSTAR program ~~ GLONASS (Russia > English info) ~~ COMPASS/Beidou (China) ~~ INSAT (India) ~~ QZSS (Japan)

If you want to start geocaching...

It's a fun and engaging activity, similar to orienteering. Want details? Check our Sept/09 newsletter for information about how to get started, the gear (it does not require a lot!), rules and more.

 

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