$8 Billion to Upgrade GPS
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Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
$8 Billion to Upgrade GPS on 05/26/2010 00:24:55 MDT Print View

OK, so some of our trails aren't being maintained much anymore... but hey, the government is planning a major, $8B to upgrade GPS! Expect higher accuracy and dependability. Read more about it here.

Jeff Antig
(Antig)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: $8 Billion to Upgrade GPS on 05/26/2010 00:28:05 MDT Print View

maybe my old pos garmin will stop taking me around in circles...

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: $8 Billion to Upgrade GPS on 05/26/2010 00:33:35 MDT Print View

LOL... I hope that wasn't a Garmin Geko 301 -- I just got one last week!! :)

Jeff Antig
(Antig)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: $8 Billion to Upgrade GPS on 05/26/2010 00:39:36 MDT Print View

actually, it is. it's horrible



















...just kidding. I don't know which one it is. I know it was one of the first ones that came out, it's the size of a brick hah! I'm running old maps on it and surprisingly, it's still half decent

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: $8 Billion to Upgrade GPS on 05/26/2010 01:04:51 MDT Print View

Since I was working in that industry, I had my own Magellan GPS receiver in 1995. Then I upgraded to a Garmin in 1997, and it still works fine to this day. It didn't even take external map data. We've come a long way.

--B.G.--

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: $8 Billion to Upgrade GPS on 05/26/2010 02:51:09 MDT Print View

OK, so some of our trails aren't being maintained much anymore... but hey, the government is planning a major, $8B to upgrade GPS! Expect higher accuracy and dependability. Read more about it here.

Benjamin! How can you be so negative about this upgrade? Look at the huge advantage for backpackers, at least according to the LA Times article you referred us to!
The new system is designed to pinpoint someone's location within an arm's length, compared with a margin of error of 20 feet or more today. With that kind of precision, a GPS-enabled mobile phone could guide you right to the front steps of Starbucks, rather than somewhere on the block.


--MV

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: $8 Billion to Upgrade GPS on 05/26/2010 23:16:03 MDT Print View

Bob, you read me wrong. I was not negative about GPS at all. Read my post again -- esp. the phrase "expect higher accuracy and dependability".

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: $8 Billion to Upgrade GPS on 05/26/2010 23:25:33 MDT Print View

I hope it allows my gps to get a location fix faster. It seems like it would. Now I just need to reduce the loading time of maps/waypoints/tracks on my gps.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: $8 Billion to Upgrade GPS on 05/26/2010 23:32:01 MDT Print View

Eugene, most of the things that govern the time to first fix (TTFF) are within the receiver, not in the space segment.

--B.G.--

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: Re: $8 Billion to Upgrade GPS on 05/26/2010 23:36:19 MDT Print View

Wouldn't having a stronger more stable signal make it that much easier for the receiver to do its job?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: $8 Billion to Upgrade GPS on 05/26/2010 23:40:15 MDT Print View

The signals leaving the satellites are already strong enough and stable enough to light up your receiver on earth, even though they are down around -150 dBm. That is a tiny signal.

One of the few reasons why they might goose up the satellite downlink signal is to make it harder for our military adversaries to jam it. But, if adversaries did that for very long, it would probably provoke an incoming cruise missile or drone attack.

--B.G.--

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: $8 Billion to Upgrade GPS on 05/26/2010 23:58:13 MDT Print View

Ben,

Bob, you read me wrong. I was not negative about GPS at all. Read my post again -- esp. the phrase "expect higher accuracy and dependability".

I guess I did ... I thought you were suggesting that there were things you would rather see done with at least part of that $8B.

Does anyone know whether it will take improved GPS units to take advantage of the new accuracy? How about how much more accurate GPS altitude will get (or won't it?)

Power -- one place I read (do not know how knowledgeable) said power would be boosted so that a reliable signal would be available in places that are problems today, such as under cover and in buildings.

--MV

Edited by blean on 05/27/2010 00:01:44 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: $8 Billion to Upgrade GPS on 05/27/2010 00:19:41 MDT Print View

Bob:

I think increasing accuracy will come not from our GPS units but from the qualitative and quantitative improvements of the satellites (the more there are up there and the more powerful signals they can beam back -- then the more accurate the triangulation that our GPS units can compute.

As for GPS units, methinks they will become ever cheaper and yet ever more feature rich.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: $8 Billion to Upgrade GPS on 05/27/2010 01:32:50 MDT Print View

First of all, civilian GPS receivers only receive the L1 civilian GPS downlink frequency, so they fundamentally get only the precision that comes with L1.

If you had military GPS receivers and could receive L1 and L2 frequencies, you can get much better accuracy. However, you don't have sufficient access, so you can't get a military receiver or the crypto codes to run it right.

Air Force Space Command is trying to spiffy up the newer satellites to have other downlink frequencies as well, with the intention that they can do other snazzy services and stay one step ahead of the EU and Galileo.

Personally, I would not want to have my GPS receiver getting a downlink when it is in a parking garage, because the downlink would be bouncing around terribly to get there, and that is terrible for position accuracy.

I can see a little good out of having more satellites up, but not a lot of good. You already get an overdetermined PVT solution as it is, and the only situation where more satellites would help would be if you were deep in a box canyon. I've had twelve "birds" showing on my receiver, and that is only three times as many as I need.

The receiver's GPS chipsets are getting better because the designers are putting more and more digital correlator circuits in there. That is what is getting you the quick TTFF. They need to design in more heuristics to the receiver user interface.

--B.G.--