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LightSquared: Corruption in the highest places seems to be the order of the day according to an Inside GNSS article which states "...political influences, driven by Harbinger’s billions and the president’s desire to lift up expansion of wireless broadband as a feature of his re-election campaign..."
To bring you up to speed, I have asked Gavin Schrock—our GNSS expert and tireless campaigner against that which would remove our ability to make money with GPS—to provide an update: "The public comment period on the FCC File Number: SAT-MOD-20101118-00239 “LightSquared Subsidiary LLC Request for Modification of Its Authority for an Ancillary Terrestrial Component" closed July 30th. With many hundreds of comments and related documents filed it is easy to see where the lines are drawn with respects to supporters and opponents. You can browse the filings HERE.
"You’ll see an overwhelming majority of comments against, but overall there is not the number of filings the FCC would usually receive for issues of even less economic impact. There have been matters affecting amateur radio enthusiasts in the past that received far more. It is very likely that the FCC has made up their minds already, possibly even before the waiver was granted early this year, and later despite the damning results. After all, LightSquared was granted an extension right when the early test results showed clearly that the GPS folks were not “exaggerating the potential interference hazards” (as the supporters “talking points” had it before the testing even began).
"Though there are some very strong and convincing filings from opponents; agriculture, aviation, telecommunications, surveyors, public safety, and even (finally) federal agencies, it is the filings of supporters that fit in line with the comments that even the FCC Chair have made in support of the proposal. There are many filings from mayors, legislatures, and even major city fire and police that all seem to have the same “talking points.” Indeed, many surveyors and surveying associations (including the ACSM) that contacted their elected officials and found that they were rebuffed at the staffer level with the very same “talking points”.
"It would appear that some entity has done some serious and very effective lobbying. Points about the “digital divide” and “rural broadband”, and the promise of enhanced broadband to boost industries and create jobs certainly does hit home when a lobbyist hits their offices offering the magic bullet and helps fulfill campaign promises. Problem is, there is some merit to those arguments.
Supporters have convinced elected folks to dismiss the wave of protest from entities such as the GPS Industry Council and the Coalition to Save Our GPS as those of whiney naysayers who simply want to protect their GPS equipment markets and a statistically small number of end users (however bogus that proves to be if they look a bit deeper into the subject)."
If you make money with GPS, since it appears that the FCC has been co-opted, as in the last newsletter, I urge you to contact your representatives. Gavin has more to say on what you can still do in the Spotlight below. Late Breaking News: After this text was prepared, the FCC announced that it was extending the public comment period until August 15th. Even so, the fix appears to be in with the FCC, so you'll have more luck contacting your political representatives.
As always, please don't hesitate to contact me if you've got a project or story you'd like to share. Thanks for your support.
Until next time,
Marc Cheves, LS
The American Surveyor

[Send your comments, announcements, tips, gripes, or kudos to Marc]
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Editorial: Military Surveying: Then & Now
As a former artillery surveyor for the U.S. Army, I have a soft spot in my heart for "82 Charlies." Until recently, 82C was the designation given to artillery surveyors, with other initials going to construction (82 Bravo) and topographic (82 Delta) surveyors. Because there was such a great ....
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Subsurface Modeling - Utilities Can't Be Seen... Can They Be Surveyed?
The accuracy and detail of above-ground surveying continues to be enhanced by satellite-based positioning, and optical technologies like LiDAR and laser scanning. Software is now ....
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The Elevation Certificate {translated} Part 1
Over the years we (the authors) keep hearing the crying and moaning from our colleagues about the abuse surveyors endure at the hands of civil engineers, zoning and planning regulators, government officials and all outsiders having no ....
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Reconstructing An Accident Scene
As do many police forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) investigates motor vehicle collisions as part of its mandate. The RCMP has trained some police officers to provide additional investigative expertise as collision analysts and ...
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Product Review: Sokkia SRX
A few years ago, when business was booming here in Texas and across the U.S., the demand for our services was growing. My dad and I realized that we needed to expand our survey operation. There were several routes we could pursue­hire more people to help increase production (investing ...
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How Precise is OPUS? - Part 1: Experimental Results
NOAA's National Geodetic Survey (NGS) introduced its Online Positioning User Service (OPUS) in 2001 as a means to provide both easy and accurate access to the National Spatial Reference System (NSRS). Surveyors and others can submit dual frequency GPS data to the OPUS web page ...
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Book Marks: Burt's Solar Compass: Its Conception, Development, Manufacturing, Marketing and Daily Use by Robert C. Miller
Experience with navigational trigonometry in high school led Robert Miller to a lifelong interest in the astronomical triangle and the equipment used in defining its values. A broader interest in the history of technology ....
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feature GPS end users like surveyors are NOT the GPS industry. We are the lowly end users that will be hurt the most by this particular broadband proposal. Even though the FCC filing period is closed, it may be Labor Day or later before the FCC dusts off that rubber stamp they have in wait and approve (or allow yet another retooling of the proposal).

GPS end users can still barrage their elected representatives with some old fashioned grass roots lobbying of their own. Letters and calls do not take much effort; but let’s be armed with some “talking points” of our own; not from the manufacturers or industry, but our own; calm and reasoned:

• The counter proposal by LightSquared to use (initially) only the lower band (after the tests showed the upper band causing widespread interference) has NOT BEEN TESTED. There was a limited test of about 40 cell phones with the lower band, and 12% of those experienced significant interference. High precision receivers are even more susceptible to interference than cell phones. This lower band proposal needs to be tested just as vigorously as the upper band.

• Broadband is a good thing. It will boost industry and all of the other cool things; it would be good for surveyors. Just NOT THIS PARTICULAR FLAWED broadband proposal.

• The Broadband for Public Safety Initiative is a separate initiative, in a completely different piece of spectrum. Halting or rethinking this LightSquared proposal will NOT kill the public safety initiative. You would be shocked to find out how many elected folks and their staffers think they are one in the same.

• The 2003 authorization for LightSquared to do very limited terrestrial in the satellite band was MUCH less hazardous than the current modification plan. It was for terrestrial to augment satellite communications where satellites could not do it alone, NOT for a primarily huge powered terrestrial augmented by very little satellite. The claim is that GPS knew about the 2003 plan, and did nothing about it. No comparison; it is like your neighbor asking if he could park a bicycle on the lawn between the driveways and then one morning you find an M1 Abrams tank there.

• Survey GPS gear is not obsolete, and the manufacturers designed them to fully deal with the satellite bands, even with the lil’ ol’ 2003 authorization in mind. The gear would only be obsolete if this huge modification is approved.

• So much of the modified proposal counts on technological solutions that do not even exist yet (even in the laboratory). If it is so easy to filter out the signals, then why could no one find any to test?

• The U.S. looks at other countries that have widespread broadband at higher speeds and at much lower costs with envy. Now how did these countries succeed in providing such great broadband without killing GPS?

• What a sad legacy if high precision GPS works everywhere else in the world EXCEPT in the United States. Didn’t we pioneer, design, build, pay for, and continue to operate this wonderful system? There will be high precision GPS in Syria, Libya, Iran, Pakistan, etc… everywhere but here.

• Jobs that will be exported to other countries with other constellations as they accept this “gift” of exclusivity in high precision GNSS.

• Supposedly, the counter proposal would only affect 0.5% of GPS end users. Bummer is that it represents about 40% of all of the economic value of GPS; billions and billions.

• Who do we send an invoice to for the gear we will have to replace? (Even if gear could be designed to deal with the interference). And how about lost productivity costs, and lost jobs in the years it will take to redesign and retool.

Go get em’!

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The Dutch Kadaster Contributes Data to Esri's World Topographic Map
MicroSurvey Releases FieldGenius 2011
Private Nonresidential Construction Spending Rises 1.8 Percent in June
Topcon’s FC-236 Expands Boundaries for Controllers
Second Quarter 2011 GDP: Nonresidential Fixed Investment Rises
Keson Donates Marking Chalk for U.S. Service Members in Afghanistan
Oregon DOT Completes Large Leica Geosystems’ Purchase
Another Chinese Navigation Satellite Launched Into Orbit
LightSquared Aviation Impacts Report Issued
3D Laser Scanning Market Expected to Double in Size by 2015
New Topcon Total Stations are Chosen for Europe’s Largest Construction Project
Leica Geosystems Releases Leica RCD30 60MP Multispectral Camera
Leica Geosystems Announces the Release of the New ALS70 Family of Airborne LiDAR Systems
Blue Marble Introduces Envelope Control to ArcMap with Desktop 2.3 Release
Secret WWII Underground Bunkers and Tunnels Mapped with ProMark 100 GNSS Receiver
Gowin Total Station is Now Available in North America
ESRI UC - Concept Total Station on a GPS Pole
Spatial Media Releases Two Videos from the Esri User Conference
Optech Announces the Release of its YouTube Channel, OptechGlobal
ASPRS Potomac Region GeoTech 2011 Annual Conference
GeoEye Provides U.S. Government Online Access to Imagery Through EnhancedView Web Hosting Service
Hemisphere GPS Launches New Earthworks Excavator Grade Control System
Maptek Releases Vulcan 8.1 to Global Market
SubSurface Instruments, Inc. Unveils Innovative ML-3 Magnetic Locators
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