Out in Front: How Much Farther?

May 1, 2014  - By
Image: GPS World

For some years now, we have been talking about GNSS interoperability. The concept has received so much careful attention at conferences, in R&D laboratories, in international working group forums, and behind closed high-level government and military doors, that one might understandably conclude that we have talked interoperability into existence.

Not quite. Not nearly. Not by the farthest, if measuring into the next decade constitutes far, reach of our actual, real-world grasp.

“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it.” William Arthur Ward, a professional inspirer of the 20th century, said that.

For nearly as many years now, we have been talking about GPS and GNSS backup. Similarly, the concept has undergone careful examination and much repeated (’til blue in the face) urging and warning and alarum-
sounding and planning and conjecturing and running through the halls of Congress. One might understandably conclude that we have conjured backup for critical infrastructure into actual, tangible, effective existence.

Again, not quite.

“Everybody talks about GPS backup, but nobody does anything about it.” Mark Twain said that.

April’s GLONASS downfall prompted distinguished industry leaders to again take up cudgels for multi-GNSS and for redundant PNT. They deserve and require our support, on all fronts, whether in the public arena, the lab, or the marketplace. But neither concept yet exists, truly and pervasively, that is to say effectively for all users.

When will reliable, robust, consistent and continuous positioning, navigation, and timing become a reality?  Should we rely on whatever technology we currently possess until the perfect system comes available, or should we continuously upgrade at each iterative step along the way?

We take up this topic in our June 5 webinar, “How Much Farther to the Promised Land? Purchase Decisions in the Evolving Landscape of GPS, Multi-GNSS, and Alternative PNT.”

Four speakers will present:

  • a high-precision GNSS manufacturer,
  • a mass-market GNSS manufacturer,
  • an alternative PNT provider,
  • a design and manufacturing firm,

followed by questions from you, our audience. Come for a glimpse into the future, and estimations of its distance and time of travel from current location.

Among the key insights: technology changes too fast to wait until the next generation of a product to add new capabilities, when doing so risks loss of competitive edge or, worse, risks introducing a new product already obsolete. A mid-lifecycle component change can deliver both greater performance and cost savings. For details on this prior to June 5, visit the White Paper section of our website.

About the Author: Alan Cameron

Alan Cameron is the former editor-at-large of GPS World magazine.