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Navigation: The Road to GPS & Getting Beyond It


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Navigation can be viewed as merely determining position or direction, but more commonly it relies on knowledge of position or direction to control or monitor movement from one place to another. In this talk, the field of navigation is introduced, including the evolution of techniques up through modern navigation dominated by electronic navigation including radio, radar, and satellite. The working of GPS, a navigation system based on a constellation of satellites in medium earth orbit that provides positioning information with global coverage is explained. Since its launch in 1978, it has been in ever wider use for finding and keeping track of just about anything: people, animals, boats, trucks, planes, and more. Its initial military uses have expanded far into civilian applications both for individuals and for large-scale commerce and transportation. The wide availability of first personal vehicle GPS navigation and later mobile phone-based navigation have changed how the world does business and how people and goods are moved around. As more and more vehicles and people rely upon it, any threats to GPS navigation become more dangerous. This is a result that more systems have become completely or primarily dependent on GPS for guidance and navigation. Simple jamming of the GPS can render a system completely blind to its location, while more sophisticated attacks can spoof a GPS signal to control its navigation. Future trends and technologies to address the security issue and to move forward in navigation are discussed.