Tag Archives: GPS

Cops’ Warrantless Cell Phone Tracking Now Better Than GPS

I was away last week, I have a lot of geonews to catch up... I'll try to share them in the coming days.

This story was discussed over Slashdot during the last weekend, Cops' Warrantless Cell Phone Tracking Now Better Than GPS.

Their summary: "On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing to discuss a proposed bill to limit location tracking of electronic devices without a warrant — what it's calling the Geolocational Privacy and Surveillance Act, or the GPS Act. Ahead of that hearing, University of Pennsylvania computer science professor Matt Blaze submitted written testimony (PDF) telling Congress that phone carriers, as well as the law enforcement agencies with which they share data, can now use phones' proximity to cell towers and other sources of cellular data to track their location as precisely or even more precisely than they can with global positioning satellites. Thanks to the growing density of cell towers and the proliferation of devices like picocells and femtocells that transmit cell signals indoors, even GPS-less phones can be tracked with a high degree of precision and can offer data that GPS can't, like the location of someone inside a building or what floor they're on. With the GPS Act, Congress is considering expanding the ban on warrantless tracking of cars with GPS devices that the Supreme Court decided on in January. Blaze's testimony suggests they need to include non-GPS tracking of cell phones in that ban, a measure law enforcement agencies are strongly resisting."

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North Korea Jamming GPS Signals In South Korea

That's the name of the Slashdot story, North Korea Jamming GPS Signals In South Korea.

Their summary: "North Korea has been looking for new and inventive ways to mess with South Korea. It seems that their missile launch fizzled a bit though, so those wacky folks from the North have bought a few GPS jamming trucks from Russia and are now blocking GPS signals around their city of Kaeson. While Kaeson is around 60 Km inside their borders, the jamming circle is around 100 Km, so it actually covers good parts of South Korea including the airports at Inchon and Gimpo. While no accidents have been caused as yet, it has caused quite some disruption and has made ocean going craft suffer as well due to their heavy reliance on GPS signals."

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Batch Geonews: StreetView in Jerusalem, Broadcom 4752 Location Chip, GIS Certification, Mapping Ice Shelf Disintegration, and much more

Here's the recent geonews in batch mode.

From the open source front:

  • Here's a DM summary entry on FOSS4G-NA that I haven't shared yet, and it's pretty informative
  • There's a new video showing us uDig features
  • Here's examples of using QGIS in local government, related to QGIS, here's an entry on What's New in QGIS Plugins
  • A technical entry on dynamic WMS styling with GeoServer with SLD
  • Here's an interesting web browser memory usage experiment for OpenLayers

From the Google front:

  • Google announce new StreetView imagery for Israel in an entry named Exploring Jerusalem’s Old City streets with Street View
  • There's also an update to the Google Maps API deprecation policy and Terms of Service
  • The GEB reminds us the options we have for Sharing your favorite locations in Google Earth

On the Microsoft front:

  • You can now Find Venue Maps, Businesses and Buildings Faster on Bing Maps
  • Bing Maps is Reducing the Complexity of Rendering Shapes

Discussed over Slashdot:

  • A "Big Brother Chip", the Broadcom 4752, that acts as a ubiquitous location chip using everything available: "global navigation satellites, cell phone towers, and Wi-Fi hot spots, coupled with input from gyroscopes, accelerometers, step counters, and altimeters"
  • A GPS system that will speed up tsunami warnings
  • The Physical Travelling Salesman Challenge
  • Using satellite imagery to counting Emperor Penguins from space

Directions Mag articles of note:

  • The Top 10 Things You Should Know about GIS Certification, including "In, more than 5,000 people are active GISPs." and "Eight states have recognized and endorsed the GISP"
  • A Q&A entry about Is Intergraph’s New GeoMedia Smart Client for You?

In the everything else category:

  • The ESA mentions Envisat's mapping of ice shelf disintegration in Antarctic and update on the investigation of Envisat woes, being offline since early April
  • @Thierry_G links to interesting impressions on the Where conference titled From Where 2.0 To Just Where; With Meh 2.0 Somewhere In The Middle, asking where is the geospatial excitement today?
  • Via Paul I found this extreme video example of augmented reality
  • APB has an entry on TomTom’s New Global Geocoder Targets Power Users
  • SS shares a perspective named Have the geospatial technology frontiers changed much in three years?
  • SS also shares an interesting summary of a session on capacity building and the expansion of the global geospatial marketplace to a billion plus people

In the maps category:

  • O'Reilly shares two visualizations, one on The history of shipping routes and the other on Mapping the Titanic's passengers
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U.S. NHTSA Suggestion Would Cripple In-Car GPS Displays

Slashdot is discussing a story named NHTSA Suggestion Would Cripple In-Car GPS Displays.

​Their summary: "The recently issued National Highway Transportation Safety Agency guidelines for automakers to minimize distraction for in-vehicle electronics included a proposal to freeze maps on navigation systems. No more scrolling maps... just static pictures. 'Every current installed navigation system uses the car as a fixed point, and shows the map moving around it. NHTSA wants that changed so as to keep the map fixed. Even showing the position of the car moving on the map could be considered a dynamic image. The recommendation seems to suggest that the position of the car could only be updated every couple of seconds. Likewise, the map could be refreshed once the car has left the currently displayed area. This recommendation would essentially make navigation unusable. The system could still give an auditory warning for the next turn, but without being able to glance down at the map and see how close the next street is would likely lead to a lot of missed turns and resultant frustration.'"

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After US v. Jones, FBI Turns Off 3,000 GPS Tracking Devices

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?

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Secret UK Network Hunts GPS Jammers

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, 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.'"

We mentioned GPS jamming and spoofing a few times in the past.

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GPS Interferences Update: FCC Bars LightSquared From Using Airwaves

Nothing surprising since this outcome was expected, Slashdot runs a story named FCC Bars LightSquared From Using Airwaves.

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.

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Batch Geonews: 180,000 Free OrbView-3 Scenes, Car AR Driving, PostGISonline, Bing Maps Updates, Autodesk and Pitney Bowes Alliance, Obesity and Car Travel, and much much more

​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:

  • I just recently became aware of PostGISonline, a site for testing and learning spatial SQL
  • You can now create and manipulate SLD (the OGC Styled Layer Descriptor standard) in Python with python-sld
  • Via the AGISRS list, I learned about OpenQuake, for calculating seismic hazard and risk at any scale, which of course ingest geospatial data and outputs maps
  • Here's WherePost.ca, which crowdsources the location of mailboxes and post offices for Canada
  • Here's the Switch2OSM website promoting OpenStreetMap, OpenStreetMap might go indoor too
  • Still on the OSM topic, V1 shares an entry on the use of OpenStreetMap data in agriculture
  • Here's an entry on the future of GeoCouch and CouchDB
  • GeoServer gets database-level security
  • There's now a plugin to run Python scripts in QGIS
  • Here's about improvements to the QGIS rule-based rendering
  • On a similar topic, here's a guide to beautiful reliefs in QGIS
  • Did you know you can add Google Maps, OSM, and Bing Maps directly in QGIS? You can via the OpenLayers plugin - hey, there's even a Profile plugin
  • There's an updated book published by Gary Sherman, now named The Geospatial Desktop , subtitled Open source GIS and mapping
  • GEOS 3.3.2 has been released

On the Esri front:

  • Mandown shares how to convert GPX files to Features using ArcGIS 10
  • From the same source, Learn The Basics Of Working With The ArcGIS Runtime SDK For Android
  • There were updates to ArcGIS for SharePoint, ArcGIS Mobile and to the ArcGIS API for Windows Phone
  • James and SS talks about ArcGIS Online as the Esri Content Management System

On the Microsoft front:

  • Microsoft announced a few new Bing Maps features, such as traffic incidents and find near route
  • They announced the Bing Maps Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) Control v1
  • There's new Bing Maps V7 modules too along with a new routing engine
  • James Fee shares an interesting entry named Bing Maps gets Nokia Brand and Possibly the Boot

On the remote sensing front:

  • This is pretty interesting to many: SS shares an entry named USGS Now Offers OrbView-3 High-Resolution Images for Free, 180,000 scenes at 1m spatial resolution available
  • China launched their first high-resolution remote sensing satellite, Ziyuan I-02C
  • Slashdot discussed the newly released version of Blue Marble high definition (and beautiful) satellite image of the Earth from the Suomi NPP satellite
  • Slashdot is running a story named Who's Flying Those Drones? FAA Won't Say and related, O'Reilly mentions OpenPilot, open source UAV with cameras
  • And another named Launch Your Own Nanosatellite Into Space

On the GNSS / GPS front:

  • It's coming, car makers are preparing for augmented reality driving
  • Not exactly GPS but via radio-tagging, see the nice and short video of whale 3D paths in the ocean
  • Slashdot is also discussing a story named New Mexico Is Stretching, GPS Reveals
  • MapQuest launched an html5 app-like site for Android and iPhone for using MapQuest

In the miscellaneous category:

  • The 7 geo predictions for of Cédric are interesting 
  • Microsoft's Flight Simulator, renamed Flight, will be available for free next Spring, with paid extra content
  • We never mentioned it before, but now Indiemapper is free, it "helps you make static, thematic maps from geographic data by bringing the best of traditional cartographic design to internet map-making."
  • SS mentions the new alliance between Autodesk and Pitney Bowes, APB also discuss this new relationship
  • SS also shares an entry named Safe Software’s Expanded Role as a Conduit Between Sensors and Systems
  • The U.S. EPA in their Locations Challenge introduced a crowdsourcing project of georeferenced photos of environmental problems
  • Slashdot ran a discussion on assembling your own 3D printer
  • The OGC shared a summary of the Eye on Earth Summit held in December
  • Another OGC entry was named Status of the OGC's Water Resource Activities
  • DM shares an article named GIS Adoption and Use on College Campuses: An End-of-Year Review and Look Ahead to
  • The GEB mentions a new 3D San Francisco website
  • I found interesting the possibility of a .data TLD
  • A new free iPad app: GeoViewer from LizardTech, supports MrSID format and more
  • It's been a while since we mentioned them, GISCorps were recently in 7 countries, including Libya

In the maps category:

  • APB summarizes this: Comparing Maps of Obesity and Car Travel
  • Here's an entry on cleanly using symbols on maps
  • Here's U.S. routes as a subway map and the U.S. National Wind Energy Map
  • Fox News shared a map with missing or wrongly placed countries
  • TMR shares an obligatory animated map of rising global temperatures since 1880
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LightSquared 4G Plans Interfering with GPS Prevented by New U.S. Defense Act?

Via @azolnai I learned about the 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 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."

While we mentioned frequently the LightSquared debacle, those interested in all the details can read All Points Blog's excellent coverage.

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules Warrants Needed for GPS Monitoring

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."

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