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Seen & heard: BeiDou birds and spoofing target airlines

November 22, 2023  - By

“Seen & Heard” is a monthly feature of GPS World magazine, traveling the world to capture interesting and unusual news stories involving the GNSS/PNT industry.


galitskaya/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Image: galitskaya/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

The scooter burglar

By using location data and a username from a Lime rental scooter, police have identified a man caught on video scootering around a Denver, Colorado, neighborhood loading up on stolen goods from surrounding homes, reported 9 News. Police obtained a search warrant for the scooter’s location data and account information. The suspect appears to have used his real name when renting the scooter to conduct the burglaries. 9 News is not naming the man identified as the scooter user as he hasn’t been arrested or charged. However, a background check on his name revealed he’s currently wanted on two theft cases that occurred in 2022, also in Denver.


Doordashing goes wrong

Image: ProjectB/E+/Getty Images

Image: ProjectB/E+/Getty Images

A DoorDash driver followed his navigation system into a wooded area and then into a body of water while attempting to deliver an order to a residential neighborhood in Middleton, Massachusetts, reported the Daily Caller. After following the navigation system straight into water, the driver called police. The Middleton Police Department is now charging the DoorDash driver for “negligent operation of a motor vehicle” and has put in a request to suspend the driver’s license.


BeiDou birds

Image: Paola Iamunno/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Image: Paola Iamunno/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Researchers at the Jiangxi Nanfengmian National Nature Reserve in China are utilizing BeiDou during bird banding to monitor their migration period from September to October. Bird banding involves attaching customized tags to birds’ legs or wings to track their movements and patterns. Out of 614 birds, 36 are being equipped with specially designed positioning devices that will continuously transmit data for researchers to analyze migration routes, stopping places, and migration time, according to a nature reserve official.


Spoofing targets airlines

Image: Chalabala/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Image: Chalabala/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

More than 20 airline and corporate jets flying over Iran overnight on October 1, were targeted by spoofed GPS signals. The spoofed signals were sent from the ground, infiltrated the navigation systems of the jets, and steered them off course, reported The Times of India. According to the Ops Group, which runs a flight data intelligence crowdsourcing website, a majority of the GPS spoofing occurred in airway UM688 in Iran’s airspace. In response, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued this warning to airlines: “Iraq/Azerbaijan — GPS jamming and spoofing poses safety risk.”

About the Author: Maddie Saines

Maddie was a managing editor at GPS World.