Rocket Leaving Florida With New GPS Satellite

Leaving Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on 15th May was an unmanned Atlas rocket. On board is an upgraded global positioning system (GPS).

189-feet (58-meter) in height, it was built and launched by the United Launch Alliance. It entered Florida’s blue skies at 5.38pm in the evening.

And at the top of the rocket lies a 3400-pound Boeing constructed GPS 2F satellite, 4th of 12 satellites to be launched into orbit over the next few years.

The navigation satellites are utilized by the U.S. military, their allies as well as civilians. The benefits of new satellites would include greater accuracy, enhanced internal atomic clocks, better defense against signal jamming and a new signal for commercial airline companies.

The cost of the satellite is approximately $121 million and will replace a long overdue 1996 spacecraft which has been used twice its design lifetime. It will now be used as a spare.

With the satellite just launched, the GPS network will consist of 31 operational satellites in orbit. Next departure would be scheduled in October and will depart from the same location.

China’s Alternative GPS System

Beidou also known as Compass system started providing the 5th Asian country, Pakistan with domestic satellite navigation. Beidou, the Chinese version to the global positioning system (GPS) is meant to rival US’s GPS.

Countries already using the Chinese system include China themselves, Thailand, Laos and Brunei. With 16 functional satellites in orbit and 30 more to join the system, China looks forward to providing global coverage by 2020.

They intend to build a new network of stations in Pakistan to improve the accuracy of their satellites locally, costly a hefty sum amounting to the tens of millions. The main reason Pakistan chose the Chinese system was primarily because the military in Pakistan cannot rely on the US GPS in times of conflict.

Although the Chinese did not guarantee the availability of the GPS functionality in times of strife, Pakistan believes in their long time ally, China. Speaking of which the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang would be travelling to Pakistan next week after the visit to India.

Farmers Opting For GPS

A long time ago, farming was strenuous and intensive. Mules slogging the fields is now a thing of the past and now, tractors plowing them are developed. As time passes, the use of these tractors began to increase and manpower needed for the fields declined.

With the advent of the GPS since 9 years ago, people have been able to do more, with less. Things have become more efficient with the implementation of the GPS in the fields. Farmers instead of needing 5 trips, now only need 1 trip to get the seeds planted.

Fields are sprayed, and with the help of GPS, the farmers will know where and what is sprayed with insecticide. Yields too have increased. Farmers admit that although it is more expensive, but in the long run it is more cost effective. Furthermore, it helps to relieve stress by spending less time out in the fields. Checking the difference in yields in different parts of the farm and being able to measure the soil salinity in the various sections is just some of the things the GPS can provide. A GPS costs $25,000 and with the tractor, a total of $250,000.

Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Receiver

2.7 ounces or only 76 grams, the Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS receiver is one light companion. It is a portable navigator which will lead you to wherever you are headed.

Built for extreme sports, the watch-like GPS receiver also comes with a heart-rate monitor. It can be used for a multitude of sports such as cycling, cross-country skiing and even windsurfing! It provides athletes like yourself, data of precise speeds, distance and pacing. The sleek GPS can be worn like a stylish sports watch and specifically designed to meet the needs of athletes. Water-proof in one meter of water, you can take it swimming as well!


Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Receiver with a chest strap.

The digitally coded heart-rate monitor is worn as a chest strap and sends data directly to the device to let you know if you are training to little, or too much. With the advanced SiRF chip, the 305 is redesigned to provide real-time data to athletes and aside from that, transmit vastly more accurate satellite acquisition times.

Its lithium ion batter will last up to 10 hours and you can follow up by charging it with a USB cable. Neat and sleek, this watch is a compact wonder.

Facebook Eyeing GPS Mobile App

Just last Thursday, discussions for Facebook to buy over mobile GPS app, Waze have been ongoing. No decisions have been finalized as of yet. However, figures have been quoted at $1 billion to buy over the Israel-based GPS mobile navigation application.

The largest social networking website, Facebook is expected to proliferate its presence in the mobile industry by offering online maps in the future. Waze is a company which serves over 40 million users. Potentially, Facebook could offer driving directions as well as up to date information for people to avoid jams and accidents.

This being said, the deal would be the largest since the purchase of Instagram at $747 million just last year.

Using GPS For Weather Forcasting

PlanetIQ has a breakthrough in the manner they measure impending weather conditions. Expensive and over budget to replace aging satellites, the start-up situated in Bethesda, MD. makes use of physics to detect weather patterns.

Intending to launch 12 small satellites into orbit, PlanetIQ’s objective is to use them to watch the GPS satellites rise and fall.

An artist's interpretation of PlanetIQ's satellites in orbit.

An artist’s interpretation of PlanetIQ’s satellites in orbit.

How does it work? The signals sent by the GPS satellites are bent when passing through the atmosphere resulting in longer than expected travel times. And depending on the composition of the temperature, pressure and water vapor in the atmosphere, the delay of the signal varies.

With the new satellite observation, meteorologists would be able to acquire more detailed data instead of having to launch weather balloons. The data gathered is not exhaustive on its own, however combined with other atmospheric measurements, forecasts can be more precise.

Although they are looking forward towards launching weather satellites, the cost of about $160 million is a staggering sum which the government’s tight budget cannot fund at the moment.

New Technology To Replace GPS

A research group DAPRA, which helped to invent the Internet and also aided in the creation of the GPS is now developing a new navigation and positioning technology.

Since 2010 DAPRA has been creating a new system which does not require satellites to pinpoint a location. With just an eight cubic millimeter chip, they are able to detect the position, time and direction. This new technology is also aimed at being used underwater where satellites do not reach.

They fear to be over-reliant on GPS. Amongst it is that the enemy could scramble the GPS signal as happened in South Korea not long ago. Hence, such a technology which is a chip containing 3 gyroscopes, 3 accelerometers and an atomic clock creates an autonomous navigation system.

DAPRA looks towards using this technology to replace GPS in small caliber ammunition or for surveillance purposes.

Boston Bombers Tracked By GPS

After the carjacking victim was able to flee and alert the police, they tracked the Mercedes the Boston Marathon bombers carjacked. How were they able to do it? It appears the authorities tracked the suspects to Watertown with the help of the anti-theft system in the Mercedes they stole.

However, more evidence was revealed and it was concluded that the “Find My iPone” GPS tracking app was how they were able to capture the Boston Marathon bombers.

Pretty amazing to see how GPS can help bring criminals to justice.

Navevo Releases Satellite-Based Alert Feature

Navevo, UK’s leading software navigation specialist provides state-of-the-art in-vehicle satellite navigation systems. This time, they are offering a ProNav HGV Cyclist Alert. Heavy-goods vehicles (HVG) now have this safety feature on the new ProNav PNN420 satellite navigation device.

With the increasing number of cyclists in London, this device helps to ensure accidents between cyclists and truck drivers are minimized. This software developed in conjunction with Transport for London (TFL) provides vehicle drivers with both audio and visual alerts when nearing a junction with many cyclists.

50-meter warning zones are demarcated at junctions with high convergence of cyclists and trucks to act as a preemptive measure to ensure drivers have ample time to scan their vicinity for any cyclists on the road. For a start, 100 high-convergence areas have been included in this software.

Navevo CEO, Nick Caesari is proud to lead the navigation industry with the world’s first safety feature which will help contribute to greater safety on roads and reducing accidents between trucks and cyclists.

Check Out The Nike SportWatch GPS Powered by TomTom

Nike SportWatch GPS Powered by TomTom provides you with diversified uses for precise running routes and distances, setting individual goals and keeps you motivated.

Feeling lazy? The SportWatch GPS has an alarm feature which rings you up in the morning. Knowing what’s best for you, the watch has automatic run reminders telling you to run. It’s just like having your own personal running coach!

Nike SportWatch GPS Powered by TomTom

Nike SportWatch GPS Powered by TomTom

Boasting a sleek design, the Nike SportWatch tracks the last 50 runs in your run history record. Check out the to check out new running routes and training methods. Also with this SportWatch GPS, you can convert your exercises into NikeFuel. It is the most accurate representation of your athletic life allowing you to compare your own NikeFuel amongst your friends to view your progress!

The Nike SportWatch GPS Powered by TomTom is an all-in-one device and definitely a must have for just about anyone! If you need a motivational push to run, this watch can do just that; and if you are an exercise lover, this small device can provide you with impressive data about your regime!