Avionics News August 2019 - 23

GPS satellite constellation system is unarguably a safetyuse GPS to track and recover their nets, crab pots and
critical element, in navigation, for one, for aviation
lobster traps.
and maritime, in particular. In overnight shipping, it's
Utility companies use GPS to monitor repair crew and
an aid to speed drivers on the last leg of a package's
to track outages and the health of our national power
shipment, as well as a fast, efficient tool in surveying
grid. GPS tags even help scientists track how much a
and engineering.
part of the Earth moves from a major earthquake, tidal
It's that same success that makes GPS a concern for
wave or volcanic eruption.
security executives, software engineers, electronics
We have GPS receivers almost everywhere. They're in
engineers and, most of all, the users who depend on its
our smartphones, our wristwatches, our tablet computers,
accuracy to be there in life-andin rescue beacons we carry when
death circumstances.
hiking, camping, sailing, hunting
Vulnerabilities exist, in part
and more and in many 406 MHz
GPS IS, IN THE 21ST
because the GPS satellites orbit
emergency locator transmitters.
Earth 22,000 miles out in space;
Back in aviation, crop dusters
CENTURY, A PRODUCT,
their signals are weak under
use
precision GPS to guide their
A SYSTEM AND A TOOL,
normal circumstances.
spray patterns and passes - much
ONE WHICH REACHES
Yet in the two-score plus six
as the farmers they serve use
INTO
VIRTUALLY
EVERY
years since the U.S. GPS system
GPS to guide their planting and
was declared operational, two
harvesting.
LEVEL OF MODERN LIFE.
distinct challenges have hovered
Finding an area of modern life
IT'S THIS VERY SUCCESS
over the network, dangling an
lacking some sort of connection
THAT HELPED MAKE GPS
implicit threat of disruption.
to GPS may be an easier chore
A FACTOR IN SO MANY
The operators and equipment
than naming all the places and
MORE NEEDS THAN
providers now guard against
activities in which GPS does not
and correct the most obvious
factor into the activity.
SIMPLE NAVIGATION.
disruptions, one wrought
The core concerns remain
by natural causes such as
focused on navigation and
atmospheric distortions.
its related activities, but not
But the threats from unnatural causes - bad actors
exclusively. And well before the declaration of its
attempting to jam the weak signals from GPS satellites
operational status entrepreneurs, engineers and aviators
or using artificial satellites to spoof navigators - remain
were dreaming up ways to adapt the GPS system for
unaddressed issues.
their goals.
Yet the dependence on GPS continues to grow, with
navigators employing their own defenses against the
The birth of an industry
efforts of those bad actors.
By 1989, a pair of electronics engineers who
already recognized the extreme potential of GPS and
The scope of GPS uses expanded
its combination of positioning, navigation and timing
GPS. When conceived and launched more than 40
capabilities developed some of the earliest products to
years ago the goal of the Defense Department was to
tap those potentials. Their names: Gary Burrell and Min
provide an uninterruptible navigation system usable
H. Kao.
anywhere on the planet, any time of day. The electronics
Their company name is a hybrid of the two founders'
industry quickly found uses far beyond that seemingly
first names: Garmin.
simple goal.
Garmin's GPS expertise filters throughout its
Today, we use GPS tags to locate and track errant
children, confused elderly and escaped pets. Fishermen
Continued on following page
avionics news

*

august

2019

23



Avionics News August 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News August 2019

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Avionics News August 2019 - Intro
Avionics News August 2019 - No label
Avionics News August 2019 - Cover2
Avionics News August 2019 - 1
Avionics News August 2019 - 2
Avionics News August 2019 - 3
Avionics News August 2019 - 4
Avionics News August 2019 - 5
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Avionics News August 2019 - Cover3
Avionics News August 2019 - Cover4
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