I think that probably 99.9% of us Geocachers take GPS technology for granted. We know that there is some kind of satellite signal that our GPSr is picking up, don’t really understand it all, and only wish it was more accurate. We also just want it there for us when we are out geocaching or travelling to a location we are unfamiliar with. Most of us are not aware of the “Powers to Be” that are in the background pulling the strings and deciding what is good and what is not good for us when it pertains to civil GPS usage.
Have you ever heard of the Civil GPS Service Interface Committee (CGSIC)? Neither have I.
I had never heard of this committee until I ran across this ARTICLE this morning but apparently they are the people who make United States civilian GPS usage policy. I wonder how a person gets on this committee. Well, it is an interesting article and discusses a few issues pertaining to GPS usage today and in the future. As Geocachers we should be interested in anything that has to do with civil GPS policy.
The article mentions that launching of the remaining 10 Block IIF GPS satellites is probably going to be delayed for a while due to budget constraints. Eventually they will get them all up but it might not be until near the year 2020.
Also interesting is the mention of the Russian GLONASS, Chinese Compass/BeiDou, and Europe’s Galileo Global Navigational Satellite System (GNSS). All the civil GPS users in the world should be happy that these areas are developing their own GPS satellite constellations. If they had not, President Clinton never would directed that Selective Availability be turned off. It seems though that there are some at the CGSIC that are not too happy about these “Competing GNSS”. I can understand from a military standpoint why it would be important to have the only GNSS in orbit but from a civilian side I am happy to have more satellites pin pointing my location with more accuracy.
So..the next time you are out in the woods cussing about your GPSr bouncing all around and making you log a DNF (Did Not Find)…..blame the CGSIC!