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Seen & Heard: Monitoring hurricanes and the power of TikTok

March 7, 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.

Car in snow. (Image: BanksPhotos/E+/Getty Images)

Image: BanksPhotos/E+/Getty Images

Dozens Stranded in Tundra

Several vehicles in Rock Springs, Wyoming, were stranded after being led by their map apps or vehicle navigation systems to an unmaintained county road in a blizzard. Several calls were made to the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office about stranded vehicles stuck after they were directed to the detour when Interstate 80 was closed due to winter conditions. Similar incidents were reported by other counties, resulting in discussions between the Wyoming Department of Transportation and the companies that develop navigation software. 

Screenshot: CBS video

Screenshot: CBS video

UAVs contain Western Technology

A Ukrainian intelligence assessment obtained by CNN and CBS reported an Iranian UAV downed in Ukraine contained technology from companies in the United States and other western countries. The White House has since launched an investigation as to how the technology — including semiconductors, GPS modules and engines — were obtained by Iran. The components removed from an Iranian Shahed-136 UAV totaled 52, 40 of which were manufactured by 13 different U.S. companies. The remaining components were manufactured by other western companies and by companies based in Japan, Taiwan and China.

Hurricane. (Image: Harvepino/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Hurricane. (Image: Harvepino/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Machine learning helps monitor hurricanes

Researchers may now be able to monitor climate-induced natural hazards by combining satellite technology with machine learning. Researchers were able to use machine learning to study hurricanes that made landfall over the Gulf of Mexico in a series of recent experiments. C.K. Shum, the co-author of the study and a professor at the Byrd Polar Research Center, uses geodesy to study global climate change phenomena. Using geodetic data gathered from satellites, Shum tested whether a mix of remote sensing and machine learning analytics could accurately monitor weather phenomena. Accurate measurements could help improve hurricane forecasting. 

Sailboat. (Image: valio84sl/iStock / Getty)

Sailboat. (Image: valio84sl/iStock / Getty)

The power of TikTok is real

TikTok changed Jeff Foulk’s life when his daughter posted about his free marine navigation app, Argo, when they attended a boat show in Chicago. Foulk was promoting Argo with little success, until his daughter shared with the social media platform his struggle as the owner of a small business. Since then, the app has been downloaded more than 200,000 times and remains at the top of the charts for boat navigation apps. Argo was launched more than four years ago and, until now, had only 100,000 total downloads. Now that Argo is viral, Foulk wants to launch a premium subscription.

About the Author: Maddie Saines

Maddie was a managing editor at GPS World.