Global satnav system leaders share visions for future

December 13, 2017  - By
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Photo: LMCO

Views from the top drive this issue of the magazine: personal essays from the directing officers and/or architects of each global satnav system.

The plots of the four articles are the same: what innovations were accomplished in 2017, and what new features to look for in 2018. But the themes differ. If you reflect at the end of each article, try to read between the lines, divine what message seems most important to the author — then distinctions surface.

I’m not suggesting that the directors of each satnav system are trying to accomplish different things. All share the goal of providing the highest quality product and service. I posit that the hands above these guiding hands, atop the top — that is, the national governments paying for each system and directing the directors — do indeed have different priorities. These priorities may produce differing results for industry, markets and users.

Read the cover story articles

The column in November’s GNSS Design & Test e-newsletter elaborates on this hypothesis, as there’s not sufficient space here. Hyper-briefly: the most marked contrast appears between the United States on the one hand and Europe and China on the other. The former appears focused on maintaining the Gold Standard of signals, on beefing up security, and then pretty much letting the market take care of innovation once the space signal hits the Earth’s surface. The other two project clear messages of working closely with industry sectors to encourage and intensify use. For them, GNSS is an economic tool, not merely a political one.

As for my 2018, I will attend both events below, and hope to talk with as many readers as possible there.

Cognizant Autonomous Systems for Safety-Critical Applications Workshop

January 29, 2018
Reston, Virginia

Join a full day of expert presentations and discussions on the opportunities and challenges (technical, commercial, ethical and legal) associated with developing fully autonomous systems that are cognizant and trustworthy for safety-critical applications. Free; sponsored by the Institute of Navigation. Speakers from the National Science Foundation, Department of Transportation, Air Force Research Laboratory, Top Flight Technologies, University of California-Santa Barbara, Santa Clara University, The Ohio State University and more. View more details here.

Munich Satellite Navigation Summit: GNSS — The key to autonomy?

March 5–7, 2018
Munich, Germany

This three-day international conference focuses on the latest developments in satellite-based navigation, gathering high-ranking speakers from industry, science and governments for a broad overview and differing perspectives. Topics include status and real-world results of Galileo; modernization of GPS, GLONASS and BeiDou; developments of QZSS and NavIC; the need for GNSS authentication; civil use of Galileo Public Regulated Service; legal aspects of GNSS; and autonomy within a single GNSS — still possible? Get more details here.

About the Author:


Alan Cameron is editor-in-chief and publisher of GPS World magazine, where he has worked since 2000. He also writes the monthly GNSS Insights column for the weekly Navigate! e-newsletter.

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