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Blog Editor’s Note: An interesting article.

Army Futures Command has also been looking at this working with the University of Texas Radionavigation Lab. Todd Humphrey also presented about this work along the same lines at ION last week.

Also, you may recall the United Kingdom has speculated that they could do the same thing from the OneWeb satcom constellation they invested in. Seems like this could be a real possibility.

True, positioning isn’t as good as GPS, yet. But then, does it have to be?

In addition to providing location information, an incredibly important use of GPS/GNSS signals are for timing and synchronization. They are used for this by networks and a plethora of other systems/applications. We didn’t get a chance to attend the presentations and the papers are not yet available. But we suspect that getting timing will be another issue altogether.

ION is quickly moving to Open Access, so copies of the papers in St. Louis last week should be available to the public soon.


Scientists create their own GPS by spying on internet satellites

Technique could one day improve location tracking for geologists and biologists

GPS has transformed everything from driving to search and rescue. But it currently relies on government-run satellites that have trouble peering into canyons and forests—and which can be targeted by enemy countries. Now, engineers have demonstrated rudimentary location tracking by eavesdropping on signals sent by internet satellites. If refined to GPS levels of accuracy, the approach could help scientists who use GPS to track animals and earthquakes.

“Any advance that offers an improvement to what scientists are currently doing will be welcomed,” says Richard Langley, a geodesist at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, who studies GPS but was not involved in the work.