Jade Morton honored with ION’s Kepler Award

September 25, 2020  - By

The Institute of Navigation’s (ION) Satellite Division presented several annual awards Sept. 25 during the ION GNSS+ Virtual Conference.

Morton Honored with Kepler Award

Dr. Y Jade MortonY. Jade Morton received the Johannes Kepler Award for advances in scientific and navigation receiver technology, automated data collection, robust carrier phase tracking, remote sensing, and profound impact as an educator and author.

Morton is the director of the Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research at the University of Colorado, Boulder ,where she mentors students, faculty, staff and an ever-expanding international network of collaborators throughout the world. She is a prolific author with more than 270 publications. She was awarded her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at Pennsylvania State University. She has also authored articles for GPS World.

Receiver Technology Pioneer. Morton has made pioneering contributions to the advancement of GNSS receiver technology and utilization of these enhanced capabilities for scientific discovery. Her work brings together scientific rigor with state-of-the-art engineering innovations to simultaneously improve PNT, while revealing remarkable new applications for GNSS.

Morton’s lab-developed event-driven GNSS data acquisition systems (EDAS), designed to capture severe space weather and ionosphere disturbances of GNSS signals, which could not be handled by existing GNSS monitoring receivers. Her lab designed and built remotely-configurable, multi-GNSS, multi-band, SDR hardware using off-the-shelf components; and developed software including machine-learning algorithms for automatic event detection to trigger raw data recording during these events.

Network established. Her lab deployed these receivers worldwide. The network has enabled unprecedented studies and forecasting of ionosphere/space weather phenomena, detection of satellite oscillator anomalies, and development of advanced GNSS receivers for navigation and remote sensing under challenging conditions.

Morton’s group has made groundbreaking advances in GNSS carrier-phase processing and established theoretical performance bounds. Her group developed optimal carrier tracking loop architectures and implementations, and successfully applied the techniques to processing signals experiencing strong ionospheric scintillation for ionosphere and space weather research; radio-occultation signals traversing moist lower troposphere for weather and climate modeling; weak coherent reflected signals from ocean, land, and sea ice for precision altimetry applications; and navigation in urban canyons and on high dynamic platforms.

Morton is an expert on space weather and ionosphere monitoring. Her research findings range from climatology and morphology of ionospheric plasma irregularities to spatial, temporal and frequency domain characteristics; cause-effect relationships between solar-geomagnetic activities and GNSS signal disturbances; and radio wave propagation theory and simulation. The studies, based on data from her GNSS networks, magnetometers, radar and satellite-based measurements, cover the globe from the arctic to the equator and span an entire solar cycle.

Volunteer service. Morton has served numerous organizations with thousands of hours of volunteer service including organizing each of the ION’s large technical conferences and leading over 10 student teams participating in ION’s autonomous lawn mower and snowplow competitions, is credited as one of the co-organizing founders of the ION’s Pacific PNT conference, has served as the ION Satellite Division Chair and is the current ION President. Dr. Morton is a past recipient of the IEEE Kershner Award and the ION’s Burka and Thurlow Awards. She is a Fellow of the ION, RIN and the IEEE.

The Johannes Kepler Award recognizes and honors an individual for sustained and significant contributions to the development of satellite navigation. It is the highest honor bestowed by the ION’s Satellite Division.

Kimia Shamaei Honored with Parkinson Award

ION’s Satellite Division presented Kimia Shamaei with its Bradford W. Parkinson Award Sept. 25 for her thesis, “Exploiting Cellular Signals for Navigation: 4G to 5G.”

The Bradford W. Parkinson Award is awarded annually to an outstanding graduate student in GNSS. The award, which honors Dr. Parkinson for his leadership in establishing both the U.S. Global Positioning System and the Satellite Division of the ION, includes a personalized plaque and a $2,500 honorarium.

Any ION member who is a graduate student completing a degree program with an emphasis in GNSS technology, applications, or policy is eligible for the award. ION thanks the altruistic experts who served on this year’s selection committee.

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.