DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Samsundar, Dr. John. Personal Interview. 18 November 2009.


What do you read in order to stay current in your field?

 

I read lots of things, too much to – well, let me show you.  I have here [shows where he has piles of magazines and books] -- an issue of “Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics,” several issues of “Unmanned Systems,” “Aerospace AMERICA,” “Control Systems,” “Inside GNSS,” “C4ISR” – C4 -- this stands for Command, Control, Communications, Computers… I-S means Intelligence and Surveillance and – I don’t remember what the R stands for.   Online, I read a bunch of database websites -- IEEE Xplore, where you can access, look up, and read about anything you want [shows website,  www.ieeexplore.ieee.org, a “digital library” with countless articles].  Anything you want to learn about, see?  APL subscribes to this website, so you probably can’t access it because you don’t have a password.  SPIE [shows website,  www.spie.org...] is another online library that APL subscribes to.  I don’t know what SPIE stands for.  I have others, too… you can look through them whenever, but they mostly are aerospace-related. 


Do you belong to any professional associations?

   

Yes, yes – AIAA – American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.  None of this has to do much with GPS.  I have a very broad background -- I received my doctorate in Aerospace Engineering.  I have a lot of interests.  My mother yells at me for it, she wants me to stick to only one thing.   [Shows personal statement with list of the five degrees he has received since 1990, including Physics and Aerospace Engineering.]


Does AIAA publish any kind of informational newsletters?

 

Online, here, on their website [shows me website,  www.aiaa.org...].  This one [clicks around] you can see almost anything even without a password.  But yes, they send me a lot of stuff.  They have a lot of information on their website, though, especially.  See, “Conferences & Events,” “Publications & Papers,” write these down, “Courses & Training,” “Industry News & Resources,” “Membership…” All of this, you can see.


Do you subscribe to professional periodicals or publications?

 

Yes, all these magazines.  I physically have them, so that means I, at one point, subscribed to them.  The “Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics,” “Unmanned Systems,” “Control Systems…”  All of these.


Do you know of a particular website which would be helpful in my exploration of this topic?

 

If you search on a search engine, for example, “Stanford GPS Lab” [searches, clicks link which goes to waas.stanford.edu which is titled “GPS Information from the Stanford GPS Lab”].   You can do this with MIT, too, any school like that… Ohio, too, I think, has a good GPS program.  These guys are working on cutting-edge stuff, and have these articles and presentations and videos open for everyone to see.  I will e-mail you this PowerPoint [quickly attaches and e-mails PowerPoint from Stanford website entitled “The Stanford GPS Laboratory – Presentation for Visit Day 2006”, flips through slides which have great diagrams and information].


Are there other people in this field to whom I should speak or write?

 

This guy is the leader of the Stanford group – I know him – Brad Parkinson.  You can contact him – or anyone from the Stanford or MIT or whatever college GPS group, just make sure they’re one of the leaders of the group.  [Looks through names on Stanford website] I know this guy, too.


Have you authored any published material?  How might I gain access to this material?

 

Yes, yes.  I have published a few things, but recently they have been confidential.  But you can go to SAE International [shows website –  www.sae.org...] – which stands for Society of Automotive Engineers.  You can type in my name [types name, “Samsundar”] and three of my published papers show up.  This one is from 2000, when I was at Lockheed, and was written with Jason Gillette.  It does not have to do with GPS.  This is Trajectory – physics stuff.  This second one I did by myself, and this one I did with Jeffrey Huston, the professor who I worked with to receive my doctorate.  I have published more things more recently, but, like I said – classified.


What are the basics I should know about GPS technology and where could I obtain them? 

 

Well like the book I lent you a couple weeks back – “GPS for Dummies”!  Now don’t take offense to that… You can also just search on Google or a search engine “GPS basic explanation.”  Or “GPS tutorial.”  The internet has anything, really.  Anything you want to know about GPS.


Are there any shows that you watch that pertain to your topic?

 

Well, I watch all the detective and police shows.  They have something to do with GPS.

 

Is there anything that you are curious about pertaining to your field? 

 

I wonder about these things, we talked about before -- things I would like to know.  You know how some GPS systems can tell you not to go on a certain route because it has too much traffic – well how do they measure traffic?  I know they don’t have some guy manually watching and recording and doing all this stuff – they must have sensors in the road that can somehow tell if there is a lot of traffic.  How do the sensors do that, what do they look at?  And what sensors are currently in use on U.S. roadways… specifically in Maryland?  Where?  Are cameras used, also -- the thin, long, tube-like ones?  If in the APL parking lot someone bumped into my car but then drove away quickly… how would I began to find out who it was?  Are there enough cameras on the roads nearby?  Also, how can they determine what road the vehicle – maybe the vehicle with the bad guy -- is on, in a complicated road network?  These things guide me when I’m working on these projects.

 


Sinnott, Kevin. Personal Interview. 13 December 2009.


What do you read in order to stay current in your field?

 

A big part of staying current is working with the technology.  We are using a high grade GPS system for position information with the radar system and by using this I have current experience in the state of the art and the problems that exist.  For example we have had jamming systems operating while we were gathering data -- they did not know about us, they were just testing their equipment and happened to be at the same site and time as we were.  By using the system you can determine what is just marketing and what is real.  When there are problems, I call and talk to the engineers who designed the GPS receivers and software and during these discussions I get a lot of insider information on what is happening.


Do you belong to any professional associations?

 

I don’t belong to any professional societies, but have been considering IEEE.  I just haven’t gotten around to joining.


Do you subscribe to professional periodicals or publications?

 

I get a bunch of industry magazines, like EDN, ECN, Design News, and a few others -- like NASA Tech Briefs...  I try to skim these.  I also have my own subscription to Aviation Week and Space Technology, which do a good job of letting me know what the industry is thinking.  But this is no substitute for actually talking to the engineers that have to make the systems work.


Do you know of any particular websites which would be helpful in my exploration of this topic?

 

At first the sites of the vendors that supply the equipment is a good place to start.  However, most don’t put the best or most important information on the website.  Should they?  Yes, but they prefer to know who is reading it so they require you to call them and talk to the technical staff.  When looking at a web site you must be very careful to separate the marketing from what actually exists.  Most vendors are very optimistic in their claims for the equipment.


Are there other people in this field to whom I should speak or write?

 

Is very sensor specific.  Before I worked for this company I worked for a flow meter company in Frederick, Maryland.   In the water flow industry, there were a few leading companies and they were very small.  Most of them have failed to survive the recession and Hawk Flowmeters has acquired a bunch of them.  Talking to the applications engineer at these companies is the only way to get a good idea of what is actually happening.  Each area – like Radar, Lidar, Flowmeters -- has its own “main” players and you need to find those to see what is happening.  However, it is very rare, in my opinion, that the leader in an industry to be the one with the innovation.  It is almost always from new and up-and-coming competitors that new ideas and innovations get put into common use. 


What are the basics I should know about GPS or sensor technology and where could I obtain them?

 

As far as basics for GPS or sensors -- two very different fields, by the way -- I have found that learning the “basics” is very difficult without a specific application in mind.  For example, looking how a GPS system supports a Radar system, or how a laser range finder works with an artillery piece will give you a much easier way of learning.  You have a set of specific questions you need to answer and then can review a paper design to see how every thing works.  Learning the basics without a specific application also makes it harder to talk to field application engineers, who will want to know exactly what you are trying to do.


Are there any shows that you watch that pertain to your topic?

 

Where I am is far ahead of the rest of the field that -- by the time any of this information is in any show it is so old that I do not care about it.


Is there anything that you are curious about pertaining to your field? 

 

I am curious about every new idea or possible way of doing things.  Once you lose your curiosity, you are ready for retirement -- you will fail to keep current at that time.  I have found that if you decide to become an expert in every area, you need to work… and if you can do this without wasting a lot of time, you will do very well.  Those that just want to know enough to get by never do know enough.

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.