Sunday, March 18, 2012

Rumor: Fitbit ‘Superwatch’ with built-in GPS


From what it sounds like, Fitbit has refocused its attention on serious athletes with the upcoming release of several new fitness trackers. Two of the new trackers seem to be remodeled versions of the Fitbit Force with a few extra features. But the one that caught my attention was the Fitbit Surge—a new ‘superwatch’ that is designed to have all of the activity, fitness and sleep tracking you could ever want, complete with built-in GPS capabilities.

Nothing official has been announced yet, and I am aware that normally fitness trackers aren’t the sort of thing that we would cover. However, the built-in GPS rumored to be in the Fitbit Surge is what caught my attention. In addition to the normal fitness tracking abilities, this new watch/tracker will also be able to map your routes and combine it with fitness data to get a complete look at your run. read more

Omaha Police Confuse Geocache with Pipe Bomb

bomb cache scare

This geocache was mistaken as a bomb and reported to authorities last week

It might seem like something pretty common sense, but making a geocache look like a pipe bomb is probably not the brightest idea if you intend to have a long lasting cache. In Omaha last week, a geocache was spotted by park goers and reported immediately to the police, who promptly cordoned off the entire northern part of the Memorial Park. The bomb squad was called in to investigate only to find the ‘bomb’ was simply a harmless geocaching container covered in camouflage duct tape. read more

GPS Tracks as Art



An image of the GPS tracks of Manhattan

There is nothing cooler than seeing technology and art combine. Being at opposite ends of the spectrum, the two can pair beautifully and create some really interesting and fantastic pieces. Although, that might just be me—I am a huge fan of both art and technology. If you are too, then you’ll definitely want to check out Steve Coast’s GPS Art Poster project.

These beautiful pieces are created by overlaying GPS track data from a specific area on a blank canvas. Each individual line is a separate route made by a real person, with the thick lines representing more traffic. The result is a unique piece that captures the movement and pulse of a city. I’ve seen things kind of similar to this before, but nothing quite so detailed or artistic. read more

Indian Satellite Successfully Launched

GPS Block IIIA satellite

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has announced that they successfully launched the third satellite in their Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) on Thursday. This satellite has joined two fully operational satellites launched in July 2013 and April 2014.

The most recent satellite is an independent navigation satellite, which will provide GPS-like position information for India and the regions 1,500 km around the country. The IRNSS will consist of a total of seven satellites–three in geostationary orbits and four in inclined geosynchronous orbits. The arrangement is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2015. The next satellite for the IRNSS is scheduled to launch in December of this year, leaving three more to be deployed next year. read more

This Week in GPS — October 17, 2014


This week in GPS is a weekly link roundup of (mostly) GPS related odds and ends, from GPS Tracklog and other places around the Web. This week’s featured image is a drone created by Northrop Grumman, who was accused of faking tests on GPS units installed in thousands of drones and other tech. read more

Monitor Teen Driving with GPS


Everyone knows that teen drivers sometimes are not the safest, and no one can deny how nerve-wracking it can be handing your keys to a new driver and watching them drive off by themselves for the first time. So, Agilis Systems, LLC, a fleet management and asset tracking company, came up with a solution created specifically for consumers–the MOTOsafety Teen Driving Coach.

The MOTOsafety driving coach is actually two separate parts—a GPS device that hooks into your teen’s car and various notifications, alerts and daily driving reports sent directly to you to help monitor your child’s driving habits. The device can be plugged in or hardwired to the car and provides realtime tracking so parents always know if a child has arrived safely. Parents can set interactive map boundaries with alerts if they are crossed and track speeding and other bad driving habits. read more

TomTom Releases Online Maps


TomTom has expanded their product portfolio this week with the introduction of free internet-based mapping and routing. The TomTom Route Planner was introduced yesterday and is available on any internet-connected device. Functioning similar to Google Maps or other mapping programs, this free online route planner relies on TomTom’s extensive map database and is available in several countries worldwide. read more

Stanford Professors Conduct Free Online GPS Course

GPS Block IIIA satellite

Coursera has a free course in GPS available right now. The course is titled “GPS: An Introduction to Satellite Navigation, with an interactive Worldwide Laboratory using Smartphones” and will run from October 13 to November 24—a total of 6 weeks. The course will cover the fundamentals of GPS and how it works, along with ‘backyard’ laboratory experiments using GPS enabled Android smartphones.

While the course has technically already begin, free enrollment is still open. I’d recommend jumping on now if you are at all interested. Students who complete the course with certain eligibility will receive a Statement of Accomplishment. This course is free and will be taught by Stanford professors Per Enge and Frank van Diggelen. read more

Whale Alert App Updated


So, I definitely missed the boat on this one (pun intended), but apparently last month NOAA updated their Whale Alert App. The app uses GPS, wireless internet and nautical chart information to help mariners see where the whales in their vicinity are in order to avoid them. Depending on where you sail, this app might be just as important for your navigation as an actual GPS unit, as hitting a whale not only harms these endangered creatures, but can also be dangerous for your boat and anyone on it. read more

Northrop Grumman Accused of Faking GPS Tests


This drone is one of many Northrop Grumman vehicles that have the LN-100 unit installed.

U.S. defense contractor Northrop Grumman has been accused of faking ‘pass’ results for the acceptance test procedures (ATPs) on their popular LN-100 Inertial navigation System/GPS navigation systems. The LN-100 has been used on various manned and unmanned vehicles sold to the U.S. government over the years including drones, submarines, missiles, helicopters and more.

The whistleblower on this potentially fraudulent practice was a Northrop Grumman plant manager named Todd Donaldson, who originally filed the complaint in 2012. The case was kept under seal from the company and from the public for two years, and was only recently unsealed on the order of a Utah District Judge.   The case filed by Donaldson asserts that the LN-100 units typically failed the GPS Communication Test, and that technicians were instructed to manually key in the ‘pass’ grade without actually conducting the tests. read more