Higher Amounts of GPS Data Collected by NGA That Won’t Kill Your Battery

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ArsTechnica reports that the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is gathering data from a higher number of GPS reference stations in an effort to make the data collected more accurate. NGA  supplies the GPS data to those in the scientific community and the Defense Department.


NGA plans to acquire additional orbit information by “collecting the data from a constellation of GPS ground stations operated by private companies and other institutions,” according to ArsTechnica. This collection of satellite orbit data, called Precise Ephemeris (PE), will help a GPS device acquire a GPS fix more quickly.


In a request for information posted on the FedBizOpps.gov website, NGA  spells out its plans to augment the real-time GPS data feeds with the GPS data collected by equipment not owned by the Defense Department. Right now there are over 350 ground stations operated by the International Global Navigation Satellite Systems Service and other GPS stations run by a variety of research organizations and government agencies.


Including these additional GPS reference points into the overall network of data collectors would make GPS tracking faster and more accurate. Furthermore, it would pave the way for smaller, more lightweight tracking devices that run for months on a single charge as signal processing calculations would be “pushed into the cloud, where computational cost is lower and power is plentiful,” according to ArsTechnica. This means the device would not use up its own power to perform positioning functions.


It will also save your smartphone’s battery life when using an app that uses your location information, which relies on your phone’s GPS capabilities. When calculations are all performed in the cloud, your phone’s battery life is spared. Currently, the Ephemeris data the majority of smartphones and commercial GPS devices relies on is based on predictive data. While this makes it work for typical navigation needs, the PE data published by NGS and NASA for the International Global Navigation Satellite Systems Service (IGS) is incredibly more accurate.

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Khristen Foss

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