Two days ago, Slashdot discussed a story named After US v. Jones, FBI Turns Off 3,000 GPS Tracking Devices.
Their summary: "The Supreme Court's recent ruling overturning the warrantless use of GPS tracking devices has caused a 'sea change' inside the U.S. Justice Department, according to FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann. Mr. Weissmann, speaking at a University of San Francisco conference called 'Big Brother in the 21st Century' on Friday, said that the court ruling prompted the FBI to turn off about 3,000 GPS tracking devices that were in use. These devices were often stuck underneath cars to track the movements of the car owners. In U.S. v. Jones, the Supreme Court ruled that using a device to track a car owner without a search warrant violated the law. After the ruling, the FBI had a problem collecting the devices that it had turned off, Mr. Weissmann said. In some cases, he said, the FBI sought court orders to obtain permission to turn the devices on briefly – only in order to locate and retrieve them."
Will this mean less GPS tracking stories in the future?
Slashdot is running a story named Secret UK Network Hunts GPS Jammers.
Their summary: "A secret network of 20 roadside listening stations across the UK has confirmed that criminals are attempting to jam GPS signals on a regular basis. From the article: 'Government-funded trials involving the police have revealed more than a hundred incidents of GPS jammer use in the UK. The Sentinel project, which has been running since January 2011, was designed to measure GPS jamming on UK roads. The project, run by GPS-tracking company Chronos Technology, picked up the illegal jamming incidents via four GPS sensors in trials lasting from two to six months per location.'"
Their summary: "A proposed wireless broadband network that would provide voice and Internet service using airwaves once reserved for satellite-telephone transmissions should be shelved because it interferes with GPS technology, the Federal Communications Commission said Tuesday. The news appears to squash the near-term hopes for the network pushed by LightSquared, a Virginia company that is majority-owned by Philip Falcone, a New York hedge fund manager. LightSquared, naturally, continues to deny that the interference is real."
This seems to be the end of the LightSquared debacle which started over a year ago.
This batch mode edition is unusually long. It covers the past month and a bit more. Yes, that's way too much and I won't try to repeat the experience ;-) Here's what I considered pertinent enough to share with you. Exceptionally, in some cases I haven't gave attribution to the source of the news, thank you for your comprehension.
On the geospatial open source front:
On the Esri front:
On the Microsoft front:
On the remote sensing front:
On the GNSS / GPS front:
In the miscellaneous category:
In the maps category:
Via @azolnai I learned about the 2012 Defense Authorization act that may prevent LightSquared, or anyone else, to interfere in any way with military GPS. Related, last week, Slashdot discussed a story named LightSquared Says GPS Tests Were Rigged.
From the NewScientist article: "A clause buried deep in the 565 pages of the 2012 Defense Authorization act passed in December bars the Federal Communications Commission from approving systems that interfere in any way with military GPS. The bill also tells the FCC to supply Congress with a final copy of the report from its working group, which late last year issued a preliminary report warning that a system proposed by telecoms firm LightSquared of Reston, Virginia would cause serious interference. [...] The concern was that signals near the 4G transmitters would be so strong that that would drown out the faint satnav signals reaching the ground. A series of subsequent tests backed up those claims."
The Slashdot story summary: "Would-be cellular carrier LightSquared claims that the company's LTE network was set up to fail in GPS interference tests. 'Makers of GPS (Global Positioning System) equipment put old and incomplete GPS receivers in the test so the results would show interference, under the cover of non-disclosure agreements that prevented the public and third parties from analyzing the process,' LightSquared executives said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday morning."
If you're not sick of it already, Slashdot runs another story on GPS monitoring and the law, this time, it's named Supreme Court Rules Warrants Needed for GPS Monitoring.
Their summary: "The Supreme Court has issued its ruling in the case of Washington, D.C. nightclub owner Antoine Jones, saying police must get a search warrant before using GPS technology to track criminal suspects. A federal appeals court in Washington overturned his drug conspiracy conviction because police did not have a warrant when they installed a GPS device on his vehicle and then tracked his movements for a month."
Or for geospatial purists, via 'satellite navigation systems' for pedestrian. In any case, Slashdot discusses a story named Microsoft Patents Bad Neighborhood Detection.
Their summary: "With the grant of their US Patent #8090532 Microsoft may be attempting to corner the market on GPS systems for use by pedestrians, or they may have opened a fertile ground for discrimination lawsuits. ... Described as a patent on pedestrian route production, the patent describes a two-way system of building navigation devices targeted at people who are not in vehicles, but still require the use of such a device to most efficiently route to their destination. ... For example, the user inputs their destination and any constraints or requirements they might have, such as a wheelchair accessible route, types of terrain they are willing to cross, the option of public transportation, and a way point such as the nearest Starbucks on the route. Any previously configured preferences are also considered, such as avoiding neighborhoods that exceed a certain threshold of violent crime statistics (hence the description of this as the 'avoid bad neighborhoods' patent), fastest route, most scenic, etc."
A local transport summit is being organized in the UK to look at better and more frequent ways to update the information used by Sat-Nav units (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16434183). This is to try to avoid those commonly occurring stories that appear in the media such as large vehicles being sent through narrow streets (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15395200) or sent along inappropriate roads (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1315762/White-van-man-airlifted-safety-satnav-sends-mountain.html).
First, happy 2012 to everyone! :-)
Slashdot is running a discussion named Judge Doesn't Care About Supreme Court GPS Case.
Their summary: "The Supreme Court is currently deciding whether or not law enforcement needs a warrant before they put a GPS tracker on a person's car. A judge in St. Louis doesn't seem to care about that, though. He ruled last week (PDF) that the FBI didn't need a warrant to track the car of a state employee they suspected was collecting a paycheck without actually going to work. (Their suspicions were confirmed.) While in favor of corrupt government employees being caught, it's a bit disturbing that a federal judge would decide a warrant wasn't needed while the Supreme Court has said the issue is unclear."
Slashdot discussed this story named China Begins Using New Global Positioning Satellites.
Their summary: "cswilly writes with the news that China's satellite navigation system, called Beidou, has been successfully activated. "With ten satellites now, 16 in 2012, and 35 in 2020, China is making damn sure they are independent of the U.S. military's lock on GPS. According to the article, 'Beidou, or 'Big Dipper,' would cover most parts of the Asia Pacific by next year and then the world by 2020.'" The BBC also has slightly more detailed coverage"