What's Happening at ION GNSS 2012
Nashville, Tennessee USA
ION GNSS 2012 ienjoyed clear skies and warm temperatures at the Nashville Convention Center in Tennessee. The U.S. Institute of Navigation-sponsored venerable conference closed on Friday, September 21.
Thursday's workshops featured expanded discussion on China's Compass/Beidou-2 and Europe's Galileo. Two more Beidou MEO satellites were launched during the conference for a total of 15. Meanwhile, Europe plans an October 10 launch that will bring the total to four. Speakers "guaranteed a 30 satellite constellation by 2020."
The Tuesday plenary echoed the theme “Modern Navigation Serving the Information Society" with talks on high precision agriculture, crime and punishment, indoor geolocation and atom interferometry.
On Wednesday, leaders representing five of the world's major satellite systems updated attendees on their systems and it appears GNSS program initiatives will converge by the end of the decade.
Europe's Galileo is scheduled to reach its full operational capacity by then and the U.S. GPS program anticipates reaching initial operating capability (IOC) for the L5 signal in 2020. The Russians will complete the last year of their newly-approved nine year plan to modernized GLONASS and the Chinese expect to reach the third, global tier of their Beidou (Compass) program.
In other news, conference attendees heard more about the LightSquared controversy that dominated last year's ION GNSS. Less than two years after the company asked the Federal Communications commission (FCC) for permission to launch a wireless broadband service now known to be debilitating to GPS receivers, the firm is in bankruptcy and the FCC is facig a Congressional inquiry in its handling of the proposal.
On Friday, September 21, the House Energy and Commerce Committee subpanel on Oversight will hold a hearing to examine how the LightSquared project got as far as it did in the regulatory process.
The 2012 meeting topics included: