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Seen & Heard: Ingenuity’s PNT hiccup, Avengers assemble!

June 28, 2021  - 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.


Integrity sits safely on Mars following an in-flight anomaly. (Photo: NASA)

Integrity sits safely on Mars following an in-flight anomaly. (Photo: NASA)

PNT Issue Rocks Ingenuity

The Mars drone Ingenuity uses an inertial measurement unit (IMU) to track position, velocity and attitude. The IMU works with the rotorcraft’s navigation camera, which feeds images into the system. About 54 seconds into Ingenuity’s sixth flight on May 22, a glitch in the pipeline of images delivered by the camera caused Ingenuity to buck. The glitch caused a single image to be lost, resulting in all later navigation images being delivered with inaccurate timestamps. Ingenuity’s navigation system attempted to correct itself due to “phantom errors,” but the copter still managed to land within 16 feet (5 meters) of its target location. The Perseverance rover snapped an image of its flying companion the next day. The timing vulnerability is being addressed.


The versatility of the ZEB-Horizon device enabled the Deep Time team to map the complex and challenging environment. (Photo: GeoSLAM)

The versatility of the ZEB-Horizon device enabled the Deep Time team to map the complex and challenging environment. (Photo: GeoSLAM)

Measuring Deep Time and Space

Geospatial 3D mapping specialist GeoSLAM provided the technology to scan one of Europe’s largest caves as part of the Deep Time isolation study. For 40 days, 15 participants set up camp in the Lombrives cave in southwestern France with no clocks or sunlight, and zero contact with the outside world. Conducted by the Human Adaptation Institute, the experiment aimed to gain insight into human adaptability to isolation. For their first task, the “deeptimers” used the ZEB-Horizon to conduct a digital scan of the 3-km Lombrives cave — a system consisting of both narrow passages and expansive chambers up to 70 meters in height, formed more than 125 million years ago.


Photo: Nearmap

Photo: Nearmap

Avengers Assemble!

On June 4, Disney unveiled its Avengers Campus at its California Adventure park. Aerial image provider Nearmap, which has been flying over Disneyland and California Adventure twice a year since 2014, shared a bird’s-eye view of the park’s new area, which replaced “A Bug’s Life.” Nearmap also shared images comparing the crowd size in 2019 before COVID-19 to the reopening limit of 25% capacity in April.


Photo: Geoscience Australia

Photo: Geoscience Australia

Tasmania First

As part of the Positioning Australia program, Geoscience Australia is building new GNSS ground stations. The first new station was recently completed outside the town of Derby, Tasmania. This new station joins 10 existing stations in Tasmania, providing widely available GNSS-based precise positioning signals. To access the service, users can connect to a service provider offering a fully supported service with system integration; users with specialized equipment and the technical expertise to integrate GNSS positioning can connect directly to the station via Geoscience Australia’s GNSS Data Centre.

About the Author:


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.

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