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Suggested Citation:"TASK 3." National Research Council. 1995. The Global Positioning System: A Shared National Asset. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4920.
Page 12

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 12 TASK 3 In order to preserve and promote U.S. industry leadership in this field, how can communication, navigation, and computing technology be integrated to support and enhance the utility of GPS in all transportation sectors, in scientific and engineering applications beyond transportation, and in other civilian applications identified by the study in the context of national security considerations? As described in Chapter 2 and Appendix C, the NRC committee found that civil, commercial, and military GPS users are making rapid progress in developing and utilizing systems that integrate GPS with other technologies. For many navigation and position location applications, GPS is being combined with one or more of the following: radar; inertial navigation systems; dead reckoning systems; aircraft avionics and flight management systems; digital maps; computers and computer databases; and communication datalinks. For timing applications, GPS can be combined with reference clocks and digital communication networks. Surveying and mapping users have combined GPS with computer databases, inertial navigation systems, digital imaging systems, and laser measuring systems. Earth science users have integrated GPS with radar altimeters, precision accelerometers, synthetic aperture radar, computer databases and workstations, and communications datalinks. By integrating GPS with other technologies, highly accurate positioning and timing information can be obtained at a very modest cost, which provides a large incentive to system designers to develop integrated GPS products. For example, with the large market potential for ground vehicle position location and guidance systems, there is considerable motivation for the vigorous commercially funded research and development activity that is underway. The NRC committee believes that the U.S. user equipment industry's intensive focus on research and development is sufficient to ensure that its technical competitiveness will be maintained. During its deliberations, the committee found that some user communities had a limited number of very specific issues related to the integrated use of GPS with other technologies that may require government action. Examples include the need to modernize the air traffic management system to take advantage of the full capabilities of GPS-based navigation and surveillance and the need to speed up the process of providing up-to- date digital hydrographic data for use in Electronic Chart Display Information Systems (ECDIS). These findings and others have been reported in Chapter 2. In general, however, the GPS industry is meeting most user demands by continuously improving integrated user equipment and services and is limited only by the need to augment and enhance the characteristics of the basic GPS constellation. Therefore, it is the opinion of the NRC committee that the most important government action required is to improve the performance of the basic GPS satellite system to provide the highest levels of position accuracy, signal integrity, and signal availability that can be technologically achieved at reasonable cost without negatively impacting national security. The committee believes that the performance improvements summarized in response to Task 2 above and further discussed in Chapter 3 meet these criteria.

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The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based navigation system that was originally designed for the U.S. military. However, the number of civilian GPS users now exceeds the military users, and many commercial markets have emerged. This book identifies technical improvements that would enhance military, civilian, and commercial use of the GPS. Several technical improvements are recommended that could be made to enhance the overall system performance.

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