Blog Editor’s Note: In 1998 President Clinton directed a study of the growing dependency on satellite navigation and timing systems. In 2001 the resulting report confirmed it was a problem, recommended studying upgrading Loran-C to be a complementary system, and resulted in the US cancelling plans to base aviation operations solely on GPS. Unfortunately that report came only weeks before 9-11 and further action was delayed. In 2004 President Bush directed acquisition of a backup capability for GPS to protect the nation for when it failed or suffered from a malicious attack. President Obama affirmed that order in 2009. Yet the US is only now getting started. A date to begin construction has yet to be set.
Much economic, political, and emotional investment around the world has gone into building, deploying and operating satellite navigation and timing systems. It has been difficult for many to realize that these amazing systems, operating in the same frequency band, region of space, and with similar characteristics, are vulnerable and need augmentation with systems that have much different failure modes. – Ramsey Faragher at Cambridge likes to point out that God gave us five senses to find our way in the world and ask why we are equipping our technology with just one.
There has been a groundswell of concern about this recently and many conferences have begun to discuss the need for complementary and backup systems for GPS/ GNSS. The conference announced below is the first that we know of to have it as its theme. It is a step in the right direction. Let’s hope it is accompanied by nations acting to help protect their citizens against spoofing and jamming. And to protect their economies and national security against the day that a coronal mass ejection, rogue nation, or terrorist attack disrupts those faint signals from space that we all depend upon and wreaks havoc here on earth.
“Is it Time for GNSS Back-Up?” has been announced as the the theme of the 2017 Munich Satellite Navigation Summit, to take place March 14–16 in the prestigious and ornate Residenz Munich, royal palace of the Bavarian monarchs of the House of Wittelsbach in the center of Munich. International experts will gather to discuss recent position, navigation and timing developments and the necessity for GNSS backup solutions.
Among the topics, in addition to system updates on all major GNSS, the first conference announcement lists:
• From Iridium to e-Loran — GNSS in need for a Backup
• Galileo after the Brexit
• Civil use of the Galileo Public Regulated Service (PRS)
• Network-based solutions for GNSS Backup.