Wednesday, 2 January 2008

A GPS digression

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

I was rabbitting on elsewhere about GPS receivers now and in the future.

You may laugh (indeed, it'd be nice if you did from time to time) but I imagine that the satnav devices of, say, 2017 will make today's machines look embarrassingly primitive. Actually I can't believe I just wrote such a cliché but hey. I do love satnavs in general and mine in particular and I can't wait to see how they develop especially in areas such as communications, programmability, memory and intelligence. I feel that the current level of cleverness and adaptabilty, while fun, is going to be far surpassed on later devices. And of course if/when we get enhanced precision on the existing system then it's going to be even more betterer, and if/when - much later if ever - we get Galileo it sounds like it'll pretty much matter which hand you've got the receiver in - that is, if you've first chucked away your American-based GPS device and replaced it with a shiny new Galileo receiver. I don't think they are compatible, but what do I really know? (Er: nothing.)

I wonder:

  • If they'll market dual-band receivers so that you might fill a gap in your view of one system by looking at the other?
  • Could a dual-band receiver cleverly use one system to enhance its performance on the other on the grounds (aha) that 2n satellites are better than n? Or is Galileo so much better than the current US system that this is irrelevant?
  • Talking of which, are there American plans to upgrade or replace the current system?
  • Talking of talking of which, what happened to the Russian system? Will there be one? Will it have civilian access? Will I have to rephrase my dual-band questions as tri-band questions?

Ah reader, so many questions, so much jabnaas. I suppose that if I subscribed to GPS Technical Discussion Monthly, joined the International Satellite Navigation Guild of Enthusiasts, and spent a lot more time on the bulletin boards at then I'd know some of the answers. But, do you know what? It's quite exciting and interesting but just not that exciting and interesting, and I'll probably find out by 2017 anyway.

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