Sunday, March 18, 2012

New UAS Rules Expand Drone Market

GPS drone (UAS) with GoPro camera

GPS drone (UAS) with GoPro camera; Creative Commons image courtesy Don McCullough

Drones somehow feel a little bit like the future to me, and it’s crazy to think that they are actually delivering things now. As with all growing industries, there are going to have to be some regulations put into play. Drones, also known as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), had a new rule go into effect at the end of August.

The Small UAS Rule (Part 107) took away some of the limitations associated with U.S. commercial drone flights. This will lead to a big boost in the growing drone industry, which depends on GPS for most of its successes. During 2015, more than a million drones were sold throughout the U.S., but that’s less than half of the 2.4 million drones that were sold during the first half of 2016. read more

Telecommunication Networks Help Backup GPS

gps satellite IIF

GPS systems are actually pretty easily disrupted, whether it be by radio interference or weather outside of our control. For a while now, it has been a concern—especially with federal agencies—what would happen if GPS went down for some reason. While it might not seem like a big deal, GPS is used for many things more important than getting you to the closest Wal-Mart—including keeping time.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the U.S. Naval Observatory (USNO) have been performing tests alongside two companies, CenturyLink and Microsemi, to see if there is a practical back up to GPS systems already in place so that a disruption wouldn’t effect major systems like timekeeping. read more

Pokémon Go Increases General Public’s Spoofing Knowledge


Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game where players go to actual locations (museums, stores, churches) using GPS to capture Pokemon and visit PokéStops. Originally designed to get you out of the house while you hunt, encouraging both socializing and exercising, days into the release of Pokemon Go players had already discovered a way to cheat.

It’s really just the basic spoofing concept—making an electronic think that it is somewhere other than its real physical location. We are no strangers to the idea of spoofing, and by tricking their phones GPS to think it was somewhere they weren’t, the game got a lot easier. Most spoofers don’t even have to leave the house—eventually your phone thinks it’s walking when it’s not. read more

SPOT GPS Tracker Saves Hiker’s Life


Hiking can be dangerous at times, and so something like a GPS tracker is almost a necessity just in case the unimaginable happens. Recently, SPOT GPS has chalked up yet another life saved as a hiker was forced to use it after being injured on the trail.

Philip Herweyer of Park County was out on the trail with his horse when his lead rope tangled into his pistol, causing it to fire and shoot him in the leg. Herweyer was twelve hours from the trail head when he was injured, but luckily, his SPOT Gen3 device came with a 911 button, which sent a message to a central dispatch station. read more

Garmin Introduces Forerunner 35


Recently, Garmin International unveiled yet another GPS-enabled running watch for its lineup. The new Forerunner 35 is said to be easy-to-use and multi-functional—designed for runs, basic activity tracking, and staying connected.

The Forerunner 35 battery lasts up to 9 days in watch mode, 13 hours in training mode, and sports a 5 ATM water rating. It can store up to 7 recent activities, automatically transfers data to your computer, and comes with a high resolution screen that can be seen both indoors and out. read more

Garmin Introduces the fēnix Chronos

fenix chronos

Garmin International recently unveiled its new wearable, the fēnix Chronos. This watch is a premium version of the already popular fēnix products—the fēnix 3, the fēnix 3HR, and the fēnix 3 Sapphire. Like the previous fēnix devices, the watches are multi-sport and feature navigational technologies. However, what sets this watch apart is that it will be the first watch from Garmin that combines fashionable design with adventuring.

“High-end design meets top-tier performance with fēnix Chronos,” Garmin’s vice president of sales, Dan Bartel stated. “With luxurious materials and trusted Garmin multisport technology, fēnix Chronos is a necessary timepiece for anyone who wants to remain stylish through all of life’s adventures—whether its hiking through mountains, training for a race, or heading to a formal event.” read more

TomTom Announces New GO Devices with Auto Updates


TomTom has announced its next generation TomTom GO devices this month, and the company claims they are the “most advanced” devices to date. While these devices will have many of the same features as other TomToms, the new TomTom GO devices will feature WiFi connectivity, hands-free driving, and route prediction.

The new TomTom GO devices will come in four models, the 520 and 620, which are 5 and 6 inches respectively, are the cheaper versions while the 5200 and 6200 are a little more pricey and include the additional feature of a SIM for live updates on the go. read more

Garmin Acquires DeLorme


DeLorme, previously a private company, has been acquired by Garmin Ltd. This was completed in April of this year. DeLorme designs satellite tracking devices with two-way communication and navigation features. The company’s most well know products are its inReach series, which are GPS-enabled devices that allow users to send and receive texts, or an emergency SOS signal, via satellite from anywhere in the world.

“Our inReach technology is invaluable to hikers, hunters, boaters, and pilots who often find themselves in remote areas – Garmin’s core customers. We are looking forward to completing the acquisition and are excited to help leverage our expertise into enhancing their already outstanding products,” said Michael Heffron, CEO of DeLorme. Heffron went on to say the acquisition will expand DeLorme’s consumer base to more markets than they are used to, since Garmin has a global distribution network. read more

TomTom HD Maps Pave the Way for Highly Automated Cars


Just over a year ago, TomTom and partner company Robert Bosch GmbH (Bosch), a leading global supplier of technology and services, began collaborative work on HD maps. The entire goal behind this partnership was to create highly automated, or self driving, cars. TomTom was in charge of designing the maps, while Bosch would decide the specifications the maps needed to meet.

The main difference behind these “high precision” maps is an entirely new level of accuracy—to measure down to the decimeter. Both companies have stated that maps that assist with automated driving are going to have to be a little different than the maps for regular navigation devices.

“Only with high precision maps will automated driving on freeways be possible from 2020,” said Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, a member of the Bosch board of management.
read more

GAGAN Redefines Navigation over India


India’s GPS-aided Geo Augmented Navigation System, also known as GAGAN, is trying to make big moves. The developers, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the Airport Authority of India (AAI) have nothing but pride for it, and the Indian government has announced plans to make GAGAN receivers mandatory for all aircraft that passes through Indian airspace by May of 2019.

For those of you who are confused, GAGAN is a satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) specific to India. India is the 4th country to create an SBAS system (behind the USA, Japan, and Europe) and it will inter-operate with existing systems. GAGAN uses technology that relays data from GPS satellites, augmented satellites, and about 15 reference stations on the ground. read more