Read the new article from u-blox, and get started with your next GPS project.
February 23, 2021 3:56 pm UTC
Our Friends at u-blox have released an article, “Five Trends in GPS: Satellite-based positioning is everywhere; a look back at 2020 offers some insights into how it will shape our future.”
The article delves into the following trends:
- Smaller, faster, more efficient - getting physically smaller, tracking more satellites, and using less power
- Security - from antenna to cloud, implementing solutions to avoid misuse of GPS
- From centimeter to nansecond accuracies - the adoption of high-precision, low-cost technology will accelerate across industries
- New paradigms in e-micromobility - use of GPS in small, light weight vehicles (like scooters and ebikes) will become more advanced and multifunctional
- Immersive experiences and other surprises - innovators will continue to innovate and create/discover completely new applications
SparkFun's Line of GNSS Solutions Using u-blox Modules
Technology is complex. Positioning and wireless communication is extremely complex. To bring the most useful products to market, companies must work together. For several years now, SparkFun has partnered with u-blox to develop innovative positioning, communication, and timing boards. u-blox has a history of pushing the boundaries of innovation and SparkFun makes their technology easier to use and accelerates prototyping and R&D.
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Want to Learn More About GPS?
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For someone who remembers "selective accuracy" on (civilian) GPS receivers (in the mid-1990s), the progress has been truely amazing. (I also find it amazing that folks like Garmin are able to cram all that map data into a GB or so of memory, and in a format that the GPS receiver can extract it in "real time".) And it will be exciting to see the new developments in GNSS.
However, it seems to me that we need to take a bit of care to not become overly dependant upon GNSS, at least for "life critical" things. The basis for all GNSS systems are satellites, and although I'm sure that the satellites themselves are very heavily "radiation hardened" and "EMP hardened", we have absolutely no control over natural events like the Carrington Event in 1859, which disrupted (wired!) telegraph communications. And this event is far from a unique occurance -- there is evidence that may point to a similar, albeit larger, event around 774 AD. Either of these, or the "near miss" from 2012, or many other things, could disrupt GNSS services for a minimum of several days. (The additional "solar wind" particles alone would likely distort the orbits of the satellites enough to through off system accuracies substantially until the "new" orbits could be accurately measured and almanacs updated.)
This isn't to say that we shouldn't use GNSS, but we need to be aware of the potential hazards.