By: J. David Grossman, Executive Director, GPS Innovation Alliance November 20, 2019
The strength of the Global Positioning System (GPS) can be found in the diversity of industry sectors benefiting from this critical public resource. From the construction industry to agriculture to aviation, GPS receivers come in many shapes and sizes. Last week, the GPS Innovation Alliance (GPSIA), in collaboration with allied associations and the bipartisan House GPS Caucus, hosted the first-ever “GPS Tech Demo Day” on Capitol Hill. The event offered an opportunity to showcase the diversity of GPS-enabled technologies, with demonstrations and displays from six leading companies: Garmin, John Deere, Trimble, Collins Aerospace, Lockheed Martin and L3Harris. The National Coordination Office for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing was also on hand to highlight their role as the federal government’s coordinator for GPS-related matters.
During this three-hour event, over 100 attendees stopped by the Rayburn Foyer in the Rayburn House Office Building where they learned more about the new generation of Lockheed Martin’s GPS satellites, known as GPS III, which include L3Harris Technologies-built positioning, navigation and timing payloads that provide the GPS signal.
Attendees also experienced a simulation of a semi-autonomous tractor from John Deere and were able to try out Trimble SiteVision, a pioneering outdoor augmented reality system used to improve the efficiency of construction projects.
Visitors of Garmin’s exhibit were treated to a wide range of products including consumer wearables, cycling and golf devices, handheld satellite communicators, and GPS receivers used by the aviation and marine sectors. Garmin also displayed a video highlighting its just-announced Autoland autonomous landing technology for general aviation aircraft. Finally, Collins Aerospace highlighted their long legacy with GPS technology (the first GPS signal ever received was from the roof of their facilities in Cedar Rapids, Iowa) as well as their current military and commercial GPS products.
During the event, attendees heard remarks from GPS Caucus co-chair Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA), who discussed the importance of GPS to the agriculture community. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) recognized the men and women of the 2nd Space Operations Squadron, based at Schriever Air Force Base —the district in which he represents —and the role they play in ensuring the continuous availability, accuracy, reliability and resiliency of GPS.
Finally, attendees heard from Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), whose Congressional district includes Stanford University. The Congresswoman highlighted the role that Silicon Valley has played in the commercialization GPS, including the developments led by Dr. Brad Parkinson, the “father of GPS.”
GPSIA is grateful to our allied association partners, CompTIA’s Space Enterprise Council, the Aerospace Industries Association and the Space Foundation who helped make the inaugural demo day a success. For more information on upcoming events, visit www.gpsalliance.org or follow us on Twitter at @GPS4Life.