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GNSS Hotspots

GNSS Data Points to Amuse and Inform

Los Angeles; Cambridge, England; The Camino; Dubai; Tokyo

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1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Los Angeles, California USA
√ Congratulations to SVN 23, a GPS IIA satellite, for 20 glorious years. The GPS Directorate expects 12–18 months more of active duty from the overachieving space vehicle, which was expected to last only 7½ years. (Meanwhile, Europe’s first Galileo test satellite, GIOVE-A, was expected to last 27 months and is still cookin’ after five years.)

GPS Directorate, Los Angeles AFB: Global Positioing System Satellite Achieves 20 Years On-Orbit
European Space Agency: Galileo pathfinder GIOVE-A achieves five years in orbit

2. EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
Cambridge, England
√ Watch out . . . your GPS unit soon may be empathic enough to change voice tones, decrease volume, and stop repeating instructions if you’re feeling grouchy. Cambridge University computer scientist Peter Robinson was so frustrated by his “difficult” GPS “built by sadists” that he and his researchers created a robotic prototype that identifies a driver’s feelings 70% of the time.

3. THE SATELLITES’ WAY
The Camino, Galicia, Spain
√ Last fall, a dozen pilgrims with disabilities covered 460 miles on the 1,000-year-old Way of St. James, a Christian pilgrimage from France to Galicia in northern Spain. They demonstrated tools that combine GPS, MP3, radio and audio, smart phones, and the web to show that satellite technologies make even the tough Camino accessible.

4. FIRST TIME
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
√ Time for the Middle East to get its own GNSS? In January, the UN International Committee on GNSS and the U.S. State Department organized the first regional workshop on GNSS in Dubai. “UAE officials could take the lead in incorporating existing systems in various applications and research, and creating [suitable] mapping .  . . or reference systems,” said ICG program officer Sharafat Gadimova in The National, a UAE newspaper.

5. PAX PACIFICA
Tokyo, Japan
Government representatives from Japan and the United States met in Tokyo on January 13 for the eighth time since 1998 to reaffirm space-based PNT cooperation between the countries — free access, no direct user fees and interoperability among GPS, QZSS, MSAT, and WAAS — And to say that GNSS is indispensable to modern life and to Asia-Pacific development.

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