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Seen & Heard: Measuring Everest, GPS Rollover boo-boos

May 22, 2019  - By

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

Photo: Mount Everest/Daniel Prudek/

Photo: Mount Everest/Daniel Prudek/

Surveying the highest height

The precise height of Mount Everest — now listed as 29,029 feet, or 8,848 meters — has been contested since the first survey by British officers in 1849.

On January 2020, Nepal plans to end the controversy and declare both snow and rock height of the world’s tallest mountain. This spring a two-member Nepali survey team will summit the mountain with a Trimble R10 GNSS receiver, gifted by New Zealand.

Besides a GNSS survey at the summit, teams will conduct precise leveling, trigonometric leveling and gravity surveys. The GNSS survey will cover 285 points with 12 different observation stations, nine of which are in hills of Sankhuwasava, Bhojpur and Solukhumbu districts.

Photo: e-Golf cars/Volkswagen

Photo: e-Golf cars/Volkswagen

Takin’ it to the (Hamburg) streets

Five electric Volkswagen Golfs are now on the streets of Hamburg, Germany, being tested with Level 4 automation.

The cars are designed to handle complex urban traffic patterns without help from drivers, although they must be ready to intervene.

Level 5, the highest category, requires the vehicle to perform all tasks, turning every rider into a passenger.

The cars are driving 1.9 miles (3 km) of urban roads where new signals and traffic management systems have been installed for autonomous driving.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Hainan airlines/aapsky/

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Hainan airlines/aapsky/

GPS Rollover gone wrong

The April 6 GPS Week Number Rollover was supposed to pass without a hitch, with plenty of notice that updates might be required for legacy receivers. Instead, several systems crashed.

In China, as many as 15 Boeing 777s and 787s were grounded pending a GPS update (the receivers gave the date as August 22, 1999.)

In New York City, part of the wireless grid faulted, cutting information feeds to the NYPD (license plate cameras) and remote worksite communications.

In Australia, weather balloons were grounded. In the United States, NOAA autonomous monitoring stations went offline. Fixes for all these systems are underway.

This article is tagged with , , , , , and posted in From the Magazine, Transportation

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.