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NSGIC issues guidance for states to strengthen address data programs

Guidance issued for states to strengthen address data programs complete and accurate data necessary for emergency response, other government services

Cover: NSGIC reportA report issued by the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) targets a key dataset for state governments. “Best Practices for State Geospatial Maturity: Addresses” is available now.

“Addresses are created by local address authorities in city, county, and tribal agencies,” explained NSGIC Executive Director Molly Schar. “The data support delivery of services like utilities and emergency response, so getting it right is absolutely critical. NSGIC advocates the process of rolling up local address point records to the state to aggregate and then to the national level to save lives, reduce costs, avoid duplication, increase revenues, improve service and foster efficient and effective government.”

The roll-up process is at the heart of an effort led by the U.S. Department of Transportation and supported by NSGIC to develop a National Address Database. Only 23 states have provided statewide address data to the national database, with five states providing partial data, and three states in the queue.

For this publication, NSGIC tapped state geospatial information officers in Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Utah and Vermont to identify key factors to the successful organization and coordination necessary to create and maintain strong address programs. These honor roll states scored in the top of the country in the area of address data in NSGIC’s 2019 Geospatial Maturity Assessment (GMA).

NSGIC recently finalized an interactive GMA geospatial web map application with dashboards customized for each data theme allows users to take a deeper dive into the 2019 results, interacting with individual state and collective national results to bring to life the visual patterns and trends in the data.

Geospatial data dashboards have become much more familiar to the public in recent months as most states and municipalities have adopted the interactive platforms to transparently display coronavirus information.

Launched in 2009 to document geospatial development practices and uses, the GMA has provided a biennial snapshot of each state’s geospatial maturity. Inspired by the National Spatial Data Infrastructure theme grading undertaken by the Coalition of Geospatial Organizations (of which NSGIC is a founding member), an entirely new process was developed for the 2019 GMA.

Nine-grade “report cards” were produced for individual state spatial data infrastructures and state geospatial coordination, in addition to overall theme and topical analysis.

Over the next 18 months, additional focused guidance will be issued in the areas of overall statewide coordination and the key datasets for next generation 9-1-1, transportation, parcels, hydrography, elevation, and orthoimagery.

“Collaboration, transparency, and increased efficiency in government are hallmarks of mature state GIS programs,” Schar said. “Through the Geospatial Maturity Assessment research and products, NSGIC is helping states set goals, identify opportunities for collaboration, shine a light on areas requiring attention, and build resources.”

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SMC awards 3 agreements for modernized GPS handheld

SMC awards multiple rapid prototyping agreements for joint modernized GPS handheld device; four demonstrations to be held

The Defense Advanced GPS Receiver (DAGR) in use in 2011. (Photo: U.S. Army)

The Defense Advanced GPS Receiver (DAGR) in use in 2011. (Photo: U.S. Army)

On June 26, the United States Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center awarded three separate rapid prototyping agreements to Collins Aerospace, Raytheon Intelligence & Space, and Technology Advancement Group for a total of $41.1 million.

The firm-fixed price agreements are for the development of a basic working prototype of the joint modernized GPS handheld device. The contract provides the government with innovative solutions demonstrated via hardware and software prototype development.

The purpose of this rapid prototyping effort is to produce a joint modernized handheld smaller in size with low power consumption, increased military-code capability, and improved anti-jamming and anti-spoofing capabilities compared to the equipment now used by the military.

4 demonstrations coming

This is the second competitive objective under the current Phase I strategy and is the result of a down-select from five to three vendors. It builds off the first objective of Phase I, which focused on mock-ups and drawings.

These agreements provide for four demonstrations to be held with Army and Marine Corps representatives. The demonstrations give the end users an early opportunity to provide feedback and the ability to influence the final design — ultimately making for a more seamless transition to operations.

“This is the first major update to the military’s GPS handheld device in more than 15 years,” said Col. Clifford Sulham, User Products Division chief.  “The advanced capabilities of this device will allow our airmen, soldiers, sailors and Marines to conduct operations in GPS-challenged environments.”

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ProStar joins Trimble’s GIS Business Partner Program

Photo: Trimble

Photo: Trimble

Trimble GNSS integrates with PointMan field applications to identify, capture and record the precise geospatial location of utilities

ProStar has joined Trimble’s GIS Business Partner Program. As part of the program, ProStar has implemented the Trimble Precision SDK (software developer kit) to integrate high-accuracy positioning capability in its PointMan mobile application running on smartphones and tablets using Trimble GNSS receivers.

ProStar provides field crews with an easy-to-use mobile data collection solution designed to capture, record and provide real-time visualization of the precise locations of subsurface infrastructure, while utilizing a centralized database to permanently and securely store and share utility location records in the cloud.

By adding the Trimble R Series and Trimble Catalyst receivers to the ProStar workflow, users can confidently access high-quality data and identify potential conflicts to avoid accidents, disruption of services and costly delays to infrastructure projects impacted by not knowing the precise locations of buried utilities.

“Together, Trimble and ProStar are changing the way construction companies, engineering and surveying firms as well as government transportation agencies capture, store and utilize utility infrastructure data. By leveraging the power of geospatial technology, they are able to make more informed decisions in the field,” said Stephanie Michaud, strategic marketing manager, Trimble Survey & Mapping field solutions. “Through this collaboration with ProStar, we are committed to integrating Trimble technology into ProStar’s cloud and mobile solutions to enhance safety protocols on site, reduce project costs and make a safer work environment.”

“We’re excited about this new collaboration and the integration of our PointMan software with Trimble’s high-accuracy GNSS receivers,” said Page Tucker, president & CEO of ProStar. “Creating a seamless integration with Trimble high-accuracy receivers and our PointMan software is a game-changer that will now provide one of the most comprehensive and precise field data collection solutions in the industry.”

About ProStar

ProStar specializes in the development of Precision Mapping Solutions. ProStar’s Solution is natively cloud and mobile and offered as Software as a Service.

ProStar’s Solution is designed to improve the business operations of any industry that requires the precise location of sub-surface infrastructure including utility, oil & gas, construction, engineering & surveying, 811 and contract locating.

ProStar’s Solution enables real-time access to precise location information including in the office and out in the field. Knowing the type, precise location and condition of what lies below the earth’s surface can significantly decrease liabilities and increase productivity during construction and maintenance activities.

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Harxon and Fuyao Group partner to develop smart conformal antenna

Representatives from Fuyao Glass visited Harxon's Shenzhen, China, headquarters on July 1. (Photo: Harxon)

Representatives from Fuyao Glass visited Harxon’s Shenzhen, China, headquarters on July 1. (Photo: Harxon)

Fuyao Glass Industry Group Co. Ltd. and Harxon Corporation have established a partnership to develop an advanced smart conformal antenna with automotive glass. Representatives from Fuyao Glass visited Harxon’s Shenzhen, China, headquarters on July 1.

According to the agreement, Harxon will specifically study the pass-through characteristics of high-frequency signals, and develop revolutionary automotive antennas based on the material and manufacturing craftsmanship of Fuyao Group automotive glass.

Both parties will establish a joint innovation team to research and develop a smart, multi-band conformal automotive antenna that integrates radio services with Fuyao’s smart automotive glass technology.

By combining the automotive glass and the antennas into one package, automakers capture immediate benefits of cost reduction, reduced installation complexity, and improved reliability.

Founded in 2008, Harxon Corporation (a BDstar company) is a customer-focused enterprise carrying out innovative research, manufacturing and marketing in high-precision GNSS antennas, ultra-reliable wireless data transmission radio modems, and smart antennas. Applications include surveying, precision agriculture, UAVs and automotive vehicles.

Fuyao Glass was founded in Fuzhou, China, in 1987. It is a multinational company specializing in the manufacture of automobile safety glass and industrial technical glass.

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ION GNSS+ 2020 to be virtual-only show

The annual ION GNSS+ 2020 Conference scheduled to take place Sept. 21-25 in St. Louis, Missouri, will now be held entirely virtually.

The Institute of Navigation (ION) made the decision after careful consideration and in light of COVID-19 and the domestic and international travel restrictions that make it impossible for many speakers and participants to participate in person, the organization stated.

“The virtual platform is the best way to deliver a meaningful technical program experience to all participants,” said Lisa Beaty, executive director.

ION GNSS+ 2020 VIRTUAL will be held over the original dates, Sept. 21-25, in Central Daylight Time and will live stream the plenary and all panel keynote sessions, including the Civil GPS Service Committee meeting, through the virtual web platform. These sessions will also be recorded and uploaded for viewing at a later time. Interactive question and answer will take place virtually.

Individual technical presentations will be pre-recorded and uploaded with slides to the ION GNSS+ 2020 VIRTUAL site each morning for viewing at a later time. Attendees will have the option to submit questions to each presenter. Details can be found in the online program.

Recognizing that industry partners want to connect with ION GNSS+ 2020 VIRTUAL attendees, ION is providing an expanded online exhibitor profile that allows exhibitors to upload a complete company profile with sales information, upload their company logo and company brochures, and will include complete contact information that allows attendees to email an exhibitor directly to ask questions or set up a phone or virtual appointment.

The Institute of Navigation is offering free conference registrations for ION GNSS+ first-time attendees (some restrictions apply) and a COVID-19 economic impact discounted virtual registration fee.

For more information on ION GNSS+ 2020 VIRTUAL, go to

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Intergeo 2020 to take place virtually only

Logo: Intergeo 2020

Intergeo 2020, originally slated to take place Oct. 13-15 in Berlin, Germany, will now take place entirely virtually. Organizers announced in early June that the show would take place partially in person and partially virtually.

“Due to international travel restrictions, the protection of risk groups and the limited possibilities of people coming together in enclosed spaces, the Intergeo 2020 in its diversity and size is not feasible under the usual circumstances,” organizers said in an email to registrants.

Berlin recently reduced the number of participants of indoor events to 1,000 people, making the show — which attracted more than 20,000 participants in 2019 — unfeasible.

Now called INTERGEO 2020 Digital, the conference will facilitate the transfer of knowledge and exchange of ideas as well as providing “accessibility and opportunity to drop in at the exhibitors.”

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Orolia selected by Raytheon to support US Missile Defense System

Orolia, through its Orolia Government Systems business, has been selected by Raytheon Missiles & Defense to support the U.S. Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS) radar program with its low SWaP (size, weight and power), rugged time and frequency system.

Defeating hypersonic weapons

An artist's rendering of the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS), a next-generation radar meant to help defeat advanced threats like hypersonic weapons. (Image: Raytheon/Orolia)

An artist’s rendering of the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS), a next-generation radar meant to help defeat advanced threats like hypersonic weapons. (Image: Raytheon/Orolia)

The LTAMDS system — an advanced air and missile defense radar — will help the U.S. Army defeat advanced threats, including hypersonic weapons. It is a radar designed to defeat advanced and next-generation threats including hypersonic weapons, or those that fly faster than a mile a second.

LTAMDS has three antenna arrays — a primary array on the front, and two secondary arrays on the back. They work together, detecting and engaging multiple threats from any direction at the same time. This results in a battlefield without blind spots, according to Raytheon.

LTAMDS’ primary array is about the same size as the array for the Patriot Air and Missile Defense System, but it has more than twice the power. It is designed for the U.S. Army’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense system, but it will also preserve existing military customers’ investment in the Patriot system.

Raytheon Missiles & Defense was selected by the United States Army in October 2019 to provide the next-generation LTAMDS.

Timing from Orolia

Orolia was chosen for the LTAMDS program based on its core expertise in resilient timing and configurable ruggedized PNT systems for challenging environments, together with its proven track record of successfully delivering time and frequency platforms for other Raytheon Programs of Record.

Orolia was the first company to receive approval for a time and frequency reference system on the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Department of Defense Information Network (DoDIN) Approved Products List for network interoperability, with its flagship SecureSync system.

“Ultra-precise mission timing and sync technology are fundamental building blocks for the Resilient PNT systems that warfighters rely on for continuous operations in contested environments,” said Hironori Sasaki, president of Orolia Defense & Security. “We are proud to be a Raytheon Missiles & Defense partner on LTAMDS and other programs that utilize GPS signals for timing, frequency and network synchronization across critical military systems.”

From critical timing solutions to GPS/GNSS simulation, interference detection, and mitigation, Orolia is an industry leader in end-to-end NAVWAR and Resilient PNT solutions to protect, augment and strengthen military systems for GPS-denied environments.

Orolia Defense & Security provides resilient PNT solutions and custom engineering services to U.S. government agencies, defense organizations, and their contractors, and is authorized to work on the full spectrum of U.S. government classified and unclassified projects.

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CHC Navigation introduces CGI-610 GNSS/INS sensor

Photo: CHC Navigation

Photo: CHC Navigation

CHC Navigation has released the new CGI-610 GNSS/INS sensor, a high-precision dual-antenna receiver offering reliable and accurate navigation and positioning solutions for demanding land, marine, and aerial applications.

The tight fusion of the latest GNSS technology with an industrial-grade MEMS IMU is powered by CHCNAV’s algorithms to deliver accurate hybrid position, attitude and velocity data, even in complex and obstructed environments where GNSS outages can occur.

The CGI-610 is a powerful GNSS/INS system supporting data output up to 100 Hz to meet the requirements of highly dynamic applications (including airplane, train and automobile). The optional external odometer sensor for ground vehicles can provide an additional independent measurement of displacement and speed, which is fused with the GNSS/INS navigation solution.

“The CGI-610 GNSS/INS sensor is the perfect answer to the growing demand of robust positioning and navigation systems for the control of any unmanned vehicle and machine, as well as for highly dynamic applications,” said George Zhao, CEO of CHC Navigation. “Industrial system integrators in need of a reliable GNSS/INS sensor with an exceptional price/performance ratio would definitely consider our CGI-610.”

With its 4G modem, CAN and serial ports, the CGI-610 GNSS/INS sensor offers unparalleled compatibility to enable a wide range of applications including machine control, port automation, advanced trajectography, robotics and unmanned vehicles. The CGI-610’s industrial design ensures reliable and consistent operation in the harshest environments.

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Capt. Sullenberger, PNT board against Ligado decision

Opposing the FCC’s Ligado Decision

Not surprisingly, the primary topic at the July 1 meeting of the National Space-based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Advisory Board was the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision on Ligado Networks.

The meeting, virtually hosted by NASA, began with board chair retired Admiral Thad Allen reading a statement for the board’s record from Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger condemning the FCC’s action.

In it Captain Sullenberger cited many of the issues the board’s vice chair, Brad Parkinson, discussed later in the meeting. Sullenberger’s statement is available here.

In his presentation, Parkinson called the FCC decision “a grave error.” He outlined his rationale in 21 information-packed slides.

Parkinson summarized his presentation up front with three points:

  1. Repurposing the Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) radio spectrum is very high risk and brings virtually no near-term benefit to the United States.
  2. The risks affect much more than the Department of Defense: high-value civil applications are also in jeopardy.
  3. Any such repurposing should have been subject to a formal rulemaking process.

At the end of the presentation, the board voted unanimously to adopt the presentation, with slight modifications, as a reference document for posting on the board’s website.

The group had previously made strong recommendations to the Departments of Defense and Transportation to oppose any such action by the FCC. Both departments have done that and are continuing to do.

Hazardous information versus losing lock

One slide in Parkinson’s presentation included a Department of Transportation (DoT) depiction how of Ligado transmissions would cause several types of receivers to “lose lock.” This graphic was used in a recent DoT presentation to the FCC.

DOT briefing to FCC: “Concerns Over Ligado Order & Authorization,” June 2020. (Slide: DOT)

DOT briefing to FCC: “Concerns Over Ligado Order & Authorization,” June 2020. (Slide: DOT)

Heretofore DoT has usually discussed the points at which Ligado transmissions would cause a 25% increase in the noise floor for receivers. This is an important metric as tests have shown that beyond that point many receiver types begin to give hazardously misleading information. DoT officials have used the example that the 1dB limit is like putting a load limit on vehicles crossing a bridge so that the bridge never reaches its breaking point. An important consideration with a safety-of-life application like GPS.

The National Space-Based PNT Advisory Board. (Board photo)

The National Space-Based PNT Advisory Board. (Board photo)

A receiver often gives inaccurate positioning and timing data, possibly hazardously misleading information, before it “loses lock” and stops providing any information at all. It is more difficult for a receiver to “acquire lock” than to track satellites and provide information, so equipment is rarely able to function again until it moves out of the area of interference.

When asked why DoT would bother to show such information to the FCC, one official suggested that loss of lock was more in line with the criteria the Commission used in making the Ligado decision. The hope was that, by showing that even this flawed standard had significant impacts which the FCC perhaps did not fully recognize, further technical discussions and reconsiderations could be realized.

Other Topics

While discussion of the FCC’s decision took the most time in the on-line meeting, several other issues were discussed as well.

Colonel Curtis Hernandez from the National Security Council briefly described development of a new space-based PNT policy to replace NSDP-39 which was put in place by President Bush in 2004.

He was not able to provide any specifics as it is a draft and still under consideration. Answering a question, he did say that the draft policy outlined the responsibilities of various departments, including for interference detection and monitoring.

Adam Balkcum from the Office of Science and Technology Policy discussed his office’s nascent efforts to investigate non-GNSS PNT as directed by the recent Executive Order on Responsible Use of PNT. The question of whether this includes possible PNT services from low earth orbit and geostationary satellites remains an open one.

Other presenters included:

  • Seth Jonas of the National Security Council staff on the recent Executive Order on Responsible Use of PNT,
  • Andrew Hansen of the Volpe Transportation Systems Center who spoke about efforts to monitor for GPS interference, especially in the post-FCC Ligado decision environment, and
  • NASA’s Chris Bonniksen discussed issues with operating and funding the agency’s Global Differential GPS system.

The agenda for the meeting and presentations are available here, as will be the meeting minutes once they have been finalized.

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Third GPS III powers itself into orbit

Third Lockheed Martin-Built GPS III satellite climbs to orbit on its own power

GPS III SV03 increases number of secure military code (M-code) enabled satellites in GPS constellation to 22 total. 

After a successful launch on June 30, the third Lockheed Martin-built GPS III satellite headed to orbit under its own propulsion. The satellite separated from its rocket and used onboard power to climb to its operational orbit, approximately 12,550 miles above the Earth.

GPS III Space Vehicle 03 is responding to commands from U.S. Space Force and Lockheed Martin engineers in the Launch & Checkout Center at the company’s Denver facility. There, they declared rocket booster separation and satellite control about 90 minutes after the satellite’s June 30 launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

“In the coming days, GPS III SV03’s onboard liquid apogee engines will continue to propel the satellite towards its operational orbit,” said Tonya Ladwig, Lockheed Martin’s acting vice president for Navigation Systems. “Once it arrives, we’ll send the satellite commands to deploy its solar arrays and antennas, and prepare the satellite for handover to Space Operations Command.”

After on-orbit testing, GPS III SV03 is expected to join the GPS constellation — including GPS III SV01 and SV02, which were declared operational in January and April — in providing positioning, navigation and timing signals for more than four billion military, civil and commercial users.

Lockheed Martin designed GPS III to help the Space Force modernize the GPS constellation with new technology and capabilities. The new GPS IIIs provide three times better accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities over any previous GPS satellite. They also offer a new L1C civil signal, which is compatible with other international global navigation satellite systems, like Europe’s Galileo, to improve civilian user connectivity.

GPS III also continues the Space Force’s plan to field M-code, a more-secure, harder-to-jam and spoof GPS signal for our military forces. GPS III SV03 brings the number of M-code enabled satellites to 22 in the 31-satellite GPS constellation.

“As a nation, we use GPS signals every day — they time-stamp all our financial transactions, they make aviation safe, they make precision farming possible, and so much more,” added Ladwig. “GPS has become a critical part of our national infrastructure. In fact, the U.S. economic benefit of GPS is estimated to be over $300 billion per year and $1.4 trillion since its inception. Continued investment in modernizing GPS — updating technology, improving its capabilities — is well worth it.”

Screenshot: SpaceX live feed of launch

Screenshot: SpaceX live feed of launch