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2016 Leadership Awards: A GNSS dream realized

December 6, 2016  - By

awards-displayed-wThe GPS World 2016 Leadership Awards were presented during a special ceremony and dinner at ION-GNSS+ 2016 in Portland in September.

The awards recognize significant recent achievement in the fields of position, navigation and timing: satellites, signals, services and products.

The Leadership Dinner was sponsored by Harris, Rockwell Collins and Honeywell.

Remarks by Alan Cameron, editor and publisher of GPS World

Welcome to the 2016 GPS World Leadership dinner, sponsored by Harris, Rockwell Collins and Honeywell.

We’re at an historic turning point for this dinner, and I’d like to acknowledge three people who are responsible for all of us being here.

We’re honored to have Brad Parkinson and his wife Ginny join us tonight. Brad led the team that made GPS happen in the first place.

Phil Ward is here. He developed the first GPS receiver for the commercial market in 1982.

That’s the Space Segment, the User Segment, and with Lt. Col. Andrew Zinn of the GPS Directorate, we have the Control Segment as well.


Alan Cameron, GPS World

Further, we have guests tonight from the U.S. State Department, representing GPS and GNSS interests at the highest levels of the U.S. government. We have officials from the European Space Agency, the European Commission, from BeiDou, and — had it not been for airline scheduling — we would have had GLONASS as well.

The global industry is well represented here, by our sponsors:

  • Harris, with over 750 years of cumulative on-orbit GPS operations, and building tomorrow’s GPS III satellite constellation today;
  • Rockwell Collins, making generations of devices providing pinpoint accuracy for every airborne and surface mission worldwide;
  • Honeywell, embedding GPS and inertial navigation for challenging military requirements, along with civil interoperability capabilities.

Also, we are joined and by other veteran GNSS such as Lockheed Martin, NavCom, NovAtel, Septentrio, Racelogic and IFEN, by experienced developers like u-blox and Spectracom and many others, and by newer companies entering the market in recent years like ComNav, CHC, Geneq, Skydel, IP-Solutions and Unicore.

We go beyond GNSS as well this year, and this also reflects market expansion. Last year at about this time GPS World, led by North Coast Media president Kevin Stoltman, was completing a conscious repositioning from a GNSS focus to thoroughly covering all aspects and technologies of positioning, navigation and timing — PNT. You’ve seen cover stories on inertial, Wi-Fi and other positioning technologies. That wider mission is reflected by the presence here tonight of companies like Systron Donner, Sensonor and Locata.

We go beyond PNT, too. Or rather, new companies are coming into PNT. In the room tonight are Intel, Apple and Google — maybe right at your table. This industry is changing, and it’s getting exciting.

It’s always been exciting. Each year it gets more so in new, different ways.

The person responsible for getting all these companies into the pages of the magazine, and into attendance here tonight — ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to acknowledge my close colleague, Michelle Mitchell, international account manager for the magazine, website, newsletters, webinars and more.

Our gathering this evening comprises two parts:

  • The Leadership Awards ceremony recognizing significant recent accomplishment in the fields of Satellites, Signals, Services and Products.
  • After the awards, over dessert and coffee we will experience Murder, Mystery and Mayhem at the GNSS Mansion, a group exercise in high-tech deduction. Murder suspects are now seated among you. Enjoy!

Services, Special Award

Presented to: The Institute of Navigation

For bringing us all together, presenting the latest research and fostering open dialogue toward our common goal: ever-improving standards in position, navigation and timing — for 30 years!

Remarks by John Raquet, Executive Vice President, Institute of Navigation

John Raquet, Institute of Navigation

John Raquet, Institute of Navigation

The Institute of Navigation is honored to be receiving the Special Services award.

As I thought about the relationship between the navigation community sitting here tonight and the Institute of Navigation, I found myself wondering whether it was the ION that created this community, or the community that created the ION?

The reality is that both are true. The ION has certainly played a big role in developing a forum for this community to interact, but without this community, the ION would cease to exist!

As most of you know, this year’s ION/GNSS conference is celebrating its 30th anniversary. It is my desire that, 30 years from now, we (actually, the people who have followed up after us after we’ve retired!) will continue to be meeting together and enjoying a similarly wonderful dinner to the one that we’ve experienced tonight!

Satellites Award

Presented to: Didier Faivre, Former Director of Navigation, Euroean Space Agency

He led the Galileo Program under not-always-easy conditions, as the constellation grew and the first results of importance to the user community became visible, such as the first Galileo-based PVT.

Sponsored by

A GNSS Dream Realized

Remarks by Marco Falcone, Galileo System Manager ESA, on behalf of Didier Faivre

Distinguished guests, dear colleagues and friends of the GNSS community,

On behalf of Didier Faivre, I would like to thank GPS World and the GNSS Community.

Didier Faivre, European Space Agency

Didier Faivre, European Space Agency

Didier asked me to present his apologies for not being able to attend this prestigious event, he recently joined the French space agency to become the director of the Guyanese Space Centre and is today in Kourou the European Spaceport where a launch is planned today in the coming hours.

The European Space Agency and more generally the European GNSS Community are very proud and honored to receive this award, which is a mark of recognition of the quality of our European programs.

This award goes first of all to Europe as a whole for having had the dream to become one of the providers of a GNSS service open to the world. It was not so evident to have this dream. So many wise advisors told us that this was not necessary because others do it; this is not reasonable because it is so expensive; this is not feasible with the complex European public system; and it is too late. And it was not so easy to make it a reality. This dream is now a reality thanks to the perseverance of the political leaders and institutions in Europe, the efforts and support of the European citizens and the technical skills of European industry, institutes and agencies after almost 15 years of work. The award today marks this achievement.

After the opening of the full service of EGNOS and the soon to be open Galileo services, Europe is now a full member of the prestigious club of GNSS providers and is determined to maintain its role and improve permanently the quality and the performance of its EGNOS and Galileo systems and services.

Initial steps are already taken to ensure the replenishment of the constellation after 2020 and to deploy a multi-frequency, multi-constellation new generation of EGNOS.

With Europe and other new entrants providing high quality GNSS services, new perspectives of multilateral cooperation at the global level are emerging, in particular in the field of civil aviation where the cooperation of various SBAS system may offer a worldwide service. I am certain that Europe is ready and eager to contribute to this effort.

Again, I would like to thank you for recognizing the efforts of our teams at ESA and in industry. This award gives us even more energy and focus to continuously support the European GNSS programme and prepare for the future of EGNOS and Galileo.

Marco Falcone (center) accepting the Satellites Award for Didier Faivre, with ESA colleagues (from left) Gustavo Lopez Risueno, Jose Angel Avila Rodriguez and Miguel Manteiga Bautista.

Marco Falcone (center) accepting the Satellites Award for Didier Faivre, with ESA colleagues (from left) Gustavo Lopez Risueno, Jose Angel Avila Rodriguez and Miguel Manteiga Bautista. (Photo: GPS World staff)

Leadership Through Challenges

Remarks by Al Simon, Business Development, Navigation Products, Rockwell Collins

Rockwell Collins is honored to present the 2016 Satellite award this evening.

Over 10 years ago Europe launched its first navigation satellite. A decade later, Galileo is close to being operational.

Al Simon, Business Development, Navigation Products

Al Simon, Rockwell Collins

As it stands today (September 2016), four more Galileo satellites are in French Guiana awaiting a shared launch in November.

The 14 Galileo satellites already in orbit have been launched two at a time. Having 18 satellites in orbit could enable initial

Galileo operational services to begin.

One can only imagine the challenges the program successfully overcame during this time. You name it: technical, programmatic, funding, political, on and on.

And through these challenges someone had to lead.

With that, Rockwell Collins is pleased to present the Satellites Leadership Award to Didier Faivre, former director of Navigation, European Space Agency.

This year Didier was appointed as a director reporting to the CNES (France’s National Centre for Space Studies) President. Specifically, Didier will assume responsibility for the Guiana Space Center in October — the very place he began his career in 1983.

In Didier’s absence, Marco Falcone of ESA will accept the Award on his behalf. Ironically, Marco was the winner of the 2015 Leadership Award for Satellites, although he in turn was unable to attend that dinner and accept in person.

Signals Award

Presented to: Clark Cohen, Founder and CEO, PNT Holdings

 For developing an advanced waveform concept for potential use aboard low-Earth orbit communication satellites: a method for adding high-accuracy ranging capability by modifying the transmitted signal structure of an already flying constellation.

Sponsored by

Testing a Modified Signal from On-Irbit Satellites

Remarks by Clark Cohen

Clark Cohen, PNT Holdings, and Ellen Mitchell, Harris Corporation

Clark Cohen, PNT Holdings, and Ellen Mitchell, Harris Corporation

Thank you, GPS World, industry sponsors, and colleagues who engaged in the selection process. I appreciate the honor.

The Advanced Waveform was the second and most ambitious broadcast that we developed for the DoD-sponsored iGPS program. It is a wide-bandwidth (10 MHz maximum spectrum allocation), near-white, high-power broadcast with independently resolvable code and carrier capable of illuminating regions of the world at any time. Yet Iridium was never designed for navigation.

I am grateful to the Naval Research Lab, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Boeing, and Iridium for their support. Also, many capable people comprised our team. Completeness is impossible, but I’ll highlight the efforts of Dick Cervisi, Kamran Ghassemi, Ann Stevens, Robert Scholl, Tom Guffey, Bernie McCormick, and Mark Psiaki.

The commercial Iridium constellation is built on billions of dollars of private capital. Meanwhile, the iGPS overlay required Congressional appropriation. But if the technical part weren’t challenging enough, the politics were, in my view, a bit too hard.
My topic is the future of public-private partnerships. Such partnerships include the GPS space and ground segments and most other government projects. Our broken, inflexible Congress is not helping. My answer here for the family dinner table is not political — it’s structural, non-partisan, systems engineering.

We can do better than handicapped innovation, winner-take-all procurements, Nunn-McCurdy triggers, continuing resolutions, debt-limit brinksmanship, and government shut-downs. This is not to judge people. Good people are operating under imperfect rules.

House elections now resemble a stuck, one-bit, analog-to-digital converter. Hundreds of individual races, cumulate the equivalent of input noise and bias, rendering the House largely unresponsive to voters. Consent of the governed demands a healthy, moderating feedback loop from people to representatives to laws and back. Cutting this loop spells trouble.

A major root cause of dysfunction is winner-take-all, single-member districts. Geographical voting made sense in the 18th century. But in an increasingly complex, connected world, where you live is no longer a stand-in for what you think.

We need to start dissolving district boundaries themselves. An elegant approach is aggregating adjacent single-member districts into larger multi-winner “super districts” with three to five members each. A refinement called ranked choice voting eliminates spoiler hazard and incentivizes positive campaigns. No change to the Constitution is needed — only passing a law.

We should reset our expectations. Congress should be able to pass the nation’s budget on time every time. We don’t need drama around GPS modernization, backup terrestrial navigation, and spectrum protection. And America should boldly pioneer aspirational, cathedral-and-moonshot-scale, public-private initiatives.

Working hard and playing by the rules implies a value-added, positive-sum relationship with society. But to the extent that the rules are imperfect, don’t vestiges of zero-sum exchange imply collateral damage somewhere in society? Voters are rebelling by the millions. We should pay attention. America’s defining Revolutionary War was fought over taxation without representation.

Whether applied to sword or plowshare, precision feedback from GPS provides guidance to help minimize collateral damage.

Updated voting rules will do the same for the nation. Everyone benefits from more efficient and effective execution. Yet perhaps our greatest harvest — should we choose to claim it for ourselves and our children — will follow from sowing new seeds of discovery and innovation through public-private partnerships on a vast and visionary scale.

Editor’s Note: The iGPS Advanced Waveform concept attempted to  leverage carrier-phase signals from an already flying low-Earth orbit (LEO) communications satellite network, in order to aid GPS positioning. In 2013, the iGPS Advanced Waveform reached a test and evaluation phase but encountered technical issues which were not resolved, and the technology has not matured further.

Meanwhile, a separate initiative using a different, code-phase approach to signals from the same LEO constellation successfully completed rigorous testing and has been deployed worldwide. Its commercial launch was announced in mid-December 2016, and its technical and market details will be explored in GPS World magazine in 2017.  

Every Signal Payload Since GPS Began — And Now Onboard GPS III

Remarks by Ellen Mitchell, Harris Corporation

It’s an honor to present the Signals award on behalf of the Harris Corporation. It is particularly fitting that Harris has the honor of presenting this award. As the GPS navigation payload provider, we create and deliver the GPS signal. Our technology has been on every GPS satellite launched since the program began — and we’re providing the payload for the next-generation GPS III satellite. Furthermore, our products help our customers better utilize the GPS signal and detect and prevent jamming.

So, perhaps you understand why it’s my special pleasure tonight to present the Leadership Award for significant recent achievement in the area of Signals to Clark Cohen.

Thank you for this opportunity and congratulations to all the award recipients.

Products Award

Presented to: Daniel Ammann, Executive Director and Co-Founder, u-blox

For achieving a leading company position with GNSS chips and modules for automotive, M2M and IoT applications as well as a recently announced mass-market L1 RTK in a single-package solution.

Sponsored by


Daniel Ammann, u-blox

Daniel Ammann, u-blox

L1 RTK Presages More Change

Remarks by Daniel Ammann

I wish to express my gratitude to GPS World magazine and the whole GNSS community for this recognition. I take this not as a recognition of my own work, but as a recognition of the fantastic team behind me, back home in Finland, England and Switzerland. Those are the ones who made this possible over the last years, and I happily accept this award on their behalf.
Alan asked me to not only say thank you, but give an outlook on things we believe are relevant as the industry goes forward.
The availability of highly integrated L1 RTK modules, such as the NEO-M8P we announced earlier this year, is only the beginning of something we believe is bringing a much bigger change to this industry.

We can foresee that multi-band L1/L2 receiver will become reality to serve the mass markets. And at attractive price points, an order of magnitude away from where today’s products are sold. We are not far away from high-volume availability of such GNSS receivers. The main market driver here though is not existing high-precision markets like agriculture or survey, but newly evolving markets in the autonomous vehicle space — both land vehicles and airborne, such as autonomous cars or UAVs. Here what is needed is high accuracy combined with unprecedented integrity even in challenging environments. And this at cost points allowing volume deployments.

A much bigger challenge though is the availability of a correction service suitable for mass-market high-precision applications. As a industry, we have a problem to solve here. Currently available systems are closed and proprietary. Market growth is limited due to per-receiver/per-year type business models, and this simply won’t scale easily for large installations, as there is no path to collect money from the end user. Further, standardization for broadcast-type SSR corrections is pretty slow. And you could ask the question, why it is a maritime standardization committee that is shaping standards for things that either drive on land, or fly in the air?

Therefore, at u-blox, we believe that an independent entity, possibly in the form of a industry consortium, is needed. A entity which offers broadcast-capable SSR services on a global basis, and with scalable business models, for example with a flat fee.
At the same time, this entity should not be tied to a receiver manufacturer like us, but serve the whole industry at the same time. This entity should be using open standards — which also must be developed, and in time. This is something which we at u-blox together with you from the industry would like to solve in the form of such a consortium, and I’d like to invite you to talk to us if you share that same vision.

Again, many thanks for this award. We feel very honored.

Services Award

Presented to: Steve Malkos, Technical Program Manager, Google

For driving Android’s location APIs to enable a new range of applications, bringing raw GNSS measurement capability, including carrier phase to Android location APIs and Android Emergency Location Service, providing Google’s enhanced location for emergency phone calls.

Steve Malkos, Google

Steve Malkos, Google

Android: Raw GNSS Data Available

Remarks by Steve Malkos

I’m honored to have received this award and would like to thank GPS World and the GNSS community for this recognition!

At work, I’m surrounded by the best engineers (some of them sitting here right with me), and if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be up here today.

So, thank you! Taking Android Emergency Service from my 20-percent project in Google to production has been one of my proudest achievements. This life-saving service provides Google’s location data to emergency responders during an emergency phone call.

For example, if you are indoors with no GPS coverage, our Fused Location Provider can produce accurate indoor locations from other signals and send that to emergency responders, giving us greater accuracies over cell ­ID positioning. This is where we are headed with Indoor E911 for the US, but it’s already a reality in the UK and Estonia, where this service first rolled out.

I’m also excited to announce raw GNSS measurements available in Android. This was a multi­-year effort with many complexities on getting this far. Android’s foundation is open-source software and the open-source community. So, it was a natural development step for us to provide these raw measurements to the community. We have a new paradigm of businesses, and most of them rely on location and context as one of their key elements.

Imagine what more we can do with enhancing location in new ways with the use of raw GNSS measurements. This gets me really excited, and I’m looking forward to the future. Thanks again for this recognition and the efforts from our team!


Featured photo: GPS World staff

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