DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

“GPS Tracking and Data loggers.” Tracking the World. 2008. Web. 30 Nov. 2009

           

Summary

            This article describes the many choices in the GPS arena if one is considering buying a GPS tracking unit (to keep track of a vehicle, for example).  It mentions tracking your spouse – a frightening but inevitable use of GPS.  The article describes a particular GPS tracking device that is smaller than a pack of cigarettes, runs on AAA batteries, and can be mounted anywhere on a vehicle because it is water-resistant.  The article also describes uses of GPS data logging devices and describes why the particular GPS device is a good one to purchase.  It mentions online mapping programs that go hand-in-hand with devices (such as Google Earth), and the simplicity of downloading data points via a high-speed USB cable.

 

Application to Research

            Because this gives advice on buying a GPS data logging device, this article will be helpful within the next week, where my mentor would like me to help him pick out a GPS device to buy.  It gives advice, sometimes obvious, such as “…also make sure that when you do choose a GPS data logger that you choose one that is compatible with either Windows or Macintosh if you’re using it but more importantly it is compatible with your mapping software.”  It talks about factors such as battery life (or other source of power), capacity (most collect up to 100,000 records), weight (most weigh less than 80 g – very convenient), and. of course, price.

  

Miragliotta, J. A.  “GPS Satellite System ‘Close to Breakdown’ and Could Fail by

            2010 – Leading motorists Straight into Trouble.”  Mail Online – World

            News.  19 May 2009.  Web. 9 December 2009.

 

Summary

            This article describes a recent U.S. government warning – the worldwide network of satellites that make up the Global Positioning System (GPS) could fail by 2010, affect millions of people around the globe.  Many people are incredibly dependent on the satellite navigation network that can give precise directions to and from anywhere directly into one’s car or mobile phone.  Mismanagement and a lack of investment could be leading consumers into trouble.  A first replacement satellite was supposed to be launched into space in 2007, but it will not be ready until November of this year (nearly three years too late).  According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the GPS system could begin to fail by as early as next year! 

 

Application to Research

            This article is very pertinent to my work at APL, which may gear toward the weakening of satellites (and, specifically, the toll it will take on GPS technology).  The worsening uncertainty of GPS technologies (which my work involves) has a lot to do with the weakening of satellites.  This article also notes some disadvantages of the common reliance on GPS, many that are similar to the story I use for my introduction during my oral presentations (a German man relied so much on his GPS that he ignored his common sense and drove straight into a river because of what his GPS was telling him to do).  The article notes that “Hapless motorists caught in unusual and often dangerous accidents are already a common side effect of reliance on GPS, with the AA reporting that one in three motorists are already sent the wrong way by satnav.”  Also the article describes that “the impact could be significant – both in terms of national security and defense, and everyday life."

 

“Breakthrough in Stereo Mission Could Help Prevent Satellite Damage.” Space Daily.  16 April

            2009.    Web.  12 December 2009.


Summary

            This article describes a significant breakthrough found by scientists working on NASA’s twin STEREO spacecraft that could play a major role in protecting satellites from the damage caused by solar explosions, known as Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs).  The article describes CMEs, which are powerful eruptions of plasma and magnetic energy from the Sun’s outer atmosphere that can have damaging effects when directed towards Earth.  Scientists are using data from the twin STEREO spacecraft to show that CMEs can be tracked all the way to the Earth and predict its arrival at least 24 hours beforehand.  This allows more time for preventative measures to be put in place to minimize the damage on satellites that is caused (and the resulting disruption to technologies, such as GPS.)

 

Application to Research

            As the article states, this breakthrough is very pertinent to the predicted failing of GPS satellites: Protecting satellites from these potential negative consequences is vital for preventing disruption to everything from GPS to power stations.”  Because my research may gear toward the weakening of satellites and its toll on the accuracy of GPS, this article is very relevant to my research.  Dr. Chris Davis, of the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, wrote that “these results demonstrate that we are now able to predict a storm's arrival at Earth with over twenty-four hours notice. That's sufficient time for satellite operators and astronauts on the International Space Station to minimize their risks.”

 

Manuel-Logan, Ruth.  “GPS Satellite System is in Trouble and so are You”  Examiner.com.  20

            May 2009.  Web.  12 December 2009.

 

Summary

            This article is about how the U.S. Department of Defense, which has owned and administered the GPS satellite system for over 20 years, is in trouble – it is over budget and way behind schedule in the maintenance of the GPS system.  The article predicts that now until the year 2013, when the system is scheduled for an update, there will be some major problems.  The article then describes what needs to be done to fix the system; in short, the technical equipment that orbits the earth needs to be revamped.  The budget that is in place is about $5.8 million for the update of the system, but it is unfortunately a significant amount of money short.  According to this article, the system could fail by early next year (2010) and affect millions of people worldwide.  

 

Application to Research

            This article pertains to my research in that it is about the predicted failing of GPS satellites.  The article, interestingly, ends with a fact that I had never read: “Thus far, there are one in three motorists who are being sent the wrong way by the satellite system that is currently in place.”  This fact, if verified, would be an interesting end to a future presentation about the subject.  A question that I wondered while reading this article pertains to the impact that the failing of the system could have on us – will it negatively affect our national security and defense, too (and how much)?

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.