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The GPS Advantage
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The GPS Advantage

How is GPS technology changing the world we live in today? More and more GPS technology is making our lives easier.

With the US’s commitment to the GPS Modernization plan underway adding new satellites and signals completing todays satellite constellation and the adding of 12 satellites (GPS Block llF for Safety of Life Transportation) with a longer life span of 12 years and atomic clocks with accuracy of 8 billionths of a second per day (two of which are already operational as of January2012) and GPS Block lll satellites with a 15 year life span currently under development by Lockheed Martin providing a more powerful signal for the future Distress Alerting Satellite System (DASS) we will all benefit from the new products and services to come. (National Coordination Office for Space- Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing and the Civil GPS Service Interface Committee)

Just the other day Seiko came out with the first GPS solar watch (the Seiko Astron). In 1969 Seiko had another first, the quartz watch. The Astron knows which one of our planets 39 times zones it is in and sets the time accordingly.

It is a wonderful age we live in. I have been wearing solar wrist watches that use atomic time keeping (receive a calibration signal) for many years now . As some of these watches became a little older the manual time zone function would not always work the way it was suppose to. As a result I would travel around the country with my watch set to my home time so I think this watch will be great for frequent travelers.

Nike has come out with A GPS Sport watch for runners and outdoor enthusiasts making it easy to track your runtime and distance, pace, heart rate and calories burned.

Epson has the worlds lightest GPS sports watch weighing in at 50 grams.

There are new truckers GPS systems coming out all the time some with electronic onboard recorders (EOBR), allowing fleet owners to communicate, track and monitor their equipment position and operation. Some systems boasting no more paper logs and fewer violations. The alleged controversy here is the claim that these systems are being used to harass drivers, waking them up from a sleep to use up remaining hours of service available.

We are familiar with the truckers GPS systems providing automatic truck routing, taking into account truck dimensions and load requirements. Now there are GPS units made specifically for General Aviation Pilots (GA Pilots).

The iFly 720 GPS by Adventure Pilot has a sunlight readable touch screen for pilots with extremely bright cockpits. This is a feature we could all use. Any one ever use a flash light in the bright sun to read the display on a GPS system while driving down the road? Most of the GPS systems out there are difficult to read in bright light. The iFly 720 takes you from the runway to the highway and has automatic wi-fi updating, full airport facility directory, IFR low en-route charts, approach plates with highlighted special use airspace. It overlays your position on a sectional chart, en route chart, approach plate, or taxi way diagram.

The Contour GPS for skiers is a video camera less than 4" in length attaching to goggles recording to a micro SD memory card in 1920 X 1080 pixel resolution. With software and courtesy of Google over head map with speed and location bread crumb trail are added to the movie.

GPS trackers are being used for the endangered tortoise, the Banff grizzly bear, and I read recently where California’s Lone Wolf has moved into Oregon.

Europe’s Galileo Navigation System is being used to pin point distress calls for Rapid Search and Rescue. This will be of use in sea rescues and I imagine it will help in fighting piracy on the high seas.

We have just scratched the surface here, highlighting a few unusual and I hope interesting things rolling our way from GPS technology.


Street Talk

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