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Out in Front: Oh, the Wonder

August 6, 2015  - By

Of it all. Of the broad expanse of the world and all its inhabitants, its layers, its depths and heights, the atmospheric mantle in which it wraps itself, its floating mountains of ice and its solid soaring peaks of rock and snow, its savage predators, and all its shades of human endeavor.

Every August we marvel at the many applications of global positioning science, at real-world instances of hardware and software in the service of humankind and of Gaia itself.

Eleven months out of the year we chronicle the business and technology of GNSS, as it says on the cover. Eleven months we busy ourselves with explorations of R&D, of novel concepts and experimental tests, of integration and augmentation and propagation and limitation and innovation; of algorithms and systems, theorems and OEMs, robotics and aeronautics, UAVs and degrees, integrity and capability and availability and mobility and connectivity and security, functionality and ambiguity and compatibility and velocity and linearity.

Every once in a while we have to stop amid all this admittedly somewhat abstruse science and ask ourselves: “GNSS — what is it good for?”

Answers are never lacking. Since Ivan Getting originated the idea of lighthouses in the sky for humanity in the 1960s, inventors have put forward new solutions for vexing problems — sometimes solutions for what we didn’t know was a problem, but upon investigation turns out to have a profitable resolution. Witness the stories in this issue, from sharks to space, from mountaintops to multi-sensor navigation under interference or heavy canopy.

Not that we’ve loosened our grip for a moment on cutting-edge R&D. The article on chip transition-edge based signal tracking should fully satisfy that thirst for knowledge.

Now about those sharks. In case you were wondering whether Katharine or Mary Lee might have been culpable in the seven shark bitings off North Carolina during May and June — they were not. The maps here and their GPS timelogs give both solid alibis for all the attacks in question.

Katharine’s cruising over the past year.

Katharine’s cruising over the past year.

Mary Lee’s meandering over same time.

Mary Lee’s meandering over same time.

This article is tagged with , , and posted in Opinions

About the Author: Alan Cameron

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