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ION GNSS+ Preview: UAVs, Indoor Location and a Shark!

August 19, 2015  - By

The Institute of Navigation (ION) GNSS+ conference is scheduled for Sept. 14-18 this year, just down the road in Tampa, Fla. It’s just over an hour’s drive for me, so I’ll be there again this year.

The reminders from ION have started to show up in my inbox, touting issues like PNT privacy, a new UAV session, a return of the popular indoor navigation demonstrations with a significantly larger group of companies demonstrating, an update on what’s happening in indoor navigation regulation-land, and with a number ways to find out what’s happening on social media. So most GNSS industry people will now have their reminder to register, get a hotel room and choose the sessions they want to attend for their week in Tampa.

GPS World will be there as usual with our full team, including our market-sector editors, along with near-real-time coverage of the show on GPSworld.com and on Twitter. The exhibition floor looks to be almost full, so if you were sitting on the fence thinking about exhibiting, its probably time to make a decision — there only appear to be a few booths still open.

GPS World will also video record the indoor navigation demonstrations, and portions will be posted online at the GPS World YouTube channel.

Also, come by the GPS World booth during the exhibit hall reception Wednesday evening to film a video-selfie with Mary Ann, our August cover great white shark. The video-selfies give you 30 seconds to tell us about yourself, and will be posted to our YouTube channel.

The CGSIC (Civil GPS Service Interface Committee) meets and tutorials will be held on Monday and Tuesday, but the week basically gets going with the plenary session on Tuesday evening.

James L. Green, director of Planetary Science for NASA.

James L. Green, director of Planetary Science for NASA.

This year, ION has called on Dr. James L. Green, director, Planetary Science at NASA, to give an insight into NASA’s interplanetary exploration over the last several years. He plans to take us “on a journey navigating our way through the Solar System showing you new worlds and new discoveries through the eyes of our planetary spacecraft.” In the last several years alone, the understanding of the origin and evolution of the solar system has changed dramatically. He’ll demonstrate how our foundations of knowledge have literally been reestablished.

Technical papers and applications sessions get rolling bright and early on Tuesday morning.

Then the exhibit hall opens up at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, with more than 50 GNSS and related exhibitors from around the world showing their new products and innovations. Exhibitors range from GNSS systems manufacturers to simulation, timing, engineering and system integrators, chip and receiver manufacturers, antenna and RF component suppliers, test-solution suppliers, indoor location experts, inertial navigation companies, government and R&D agencies, military and commercial GNSS suppliers, satellite system and component providers, survey-systems suppliers, and a smattering of Internet of Things (IoT) proponents. The exhibit floor runs Tuesday through Thursday in parallel with the applications presentations and panels and technical papers.

The show floor at ION-GNSS 2014.

The show floor at ION-GNSS 2014.

Key application presentations for me to catch include the indoor location demonstrations on Wednesday afternoon, and the new UAV navigation session on Thursday morning. But there are around four parallel presentations on systems and applications and four sessions of technical papers each morning and afternoon Tuesday through Friday, so there are enough topics on a huge range of GNSS and related navigation technologies that would satisfy almost anyone in the industry or anyone wanting to learn about the industry.

Indoor Location Demonstration

The list of vendors who plan to demonstrate at the indoor location demonstration session is lengthy:

  • Nokia
  • InvenSense
  • RX Networks
  • Indoor.rs
  • Samsung
  • CSR
  • Combain
  • Pole Star
  • ByteLight
  • Microsoft

That’s about twice as many participants as last year, when the audience was treated to a number of demos that worked, and some which basically didn’t. So, this is an opportunity to redeem themselves for those who had problems, time to update and show improvements over last year for the ones who demonstrated successful indoor navigation, and for the newcomers, we shall see what they have to offer. Hopefully, companies will have recognized that it’s essential to a have a large-screen display replicating handhelds for a large audience to follow what’s going on.

UAV Session

The UAV session appears to concentrate on alternate navigation and other sensors for unmanned airborne vehicles. Papers include modeling and calibration to remove magnetic biases coming from other devices on the platform; a kind of indoor navigation for micro-UAVs entering buildings for assistance in disaster conditions; navigation using optical imaging with and without GNSS; Stanford’s JAGER jammer detection project using DME and ADS-B signal navigation; and integrity requirements for UAV sense-and-avoid systems. Another panel session on Friday discusses integration of UAVs into the U.S. National Airspace System.

If these couple of topics don’t fire you with enthusiasm, don’t worry – there are masses of other great topics to pick from in the extensive technical program at ION GNSS+. Right now, pre-registration for ION GNSS+ is running 26 percent ahead of where it was last year, so we could have 1,300-1,400 technical attendees this year.

So, come on down to Florida – yes, it’s warm (the Convention Center is air conditioned), but its not too warm — even for a guy like me from the frozen North!

Tony Murfin
GNSS Aerospace

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About the Author:


Tony Murfin is managing consultant for GNSS Aerospace LLC, Florida. Murfin provides business development consulting services to companies involved in GNSS products and markets, and writes for GPS World as the OEM Professional contributing editor. Previously, Murfin worked for NovAtel Inc. in Calgary, Canada, as vice president of Business Development; for CMC Electronics in Montreal, Canada, as business development manager, product manager, software manger and software engineer; for CAE in Montreal as simulation software engineer; and for BAe in Warton, UK, as senior avionics engineer. Murfin has a B.Sc. from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology in the UK, and is a UK Chartered Engineer (CEng MIET).

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