Messing With GPS

The radio frequencies that global positioning signals travel on have had plenty of space to operate without interference from neighboring signals. But a recent move by the FCC to change that has created a firestorm in GPS circles, with dire predictions of GPS signal disruption should the plan come to fruition.

A company called LightSquared has been granted a waiver that will allow it to repurpose the satellite spectrum that is immediately adjacent to GPS. Its goal is noble: To deliver satellite-based broadband capability to all corners of the country. But if implemented as proposed it could put GPS signals in harm’s way, according to Coalition to Save Our GPS, a group of organizations that depend on reliable GPS delivery.

I asked LightSquared for a statement about the current controversy, and the company said that “like all spectrum holders, we have an obligation to operate properly within our band, and we take that responsibility very seriously. In an open and transparent process, the FCC has granted LightSquared’s request to create a network capable of satellite and terrestrial wireless communication across the U.S. Millions of Americans have little or no access to high-speed broadband, and, in the spirit of The National Broadband Plan, we will be able to bring nationwide, seamless coverage.”

The company goes on to express its current and ongoing commitment to working with the FCC and the GPS community to move this forward in a way that satisfies all parties and does not jeopardize global positioning.

“We have committed to the FCC that by 2015, we will bring 4G wireless broadband to 92% of America, enabling critical and reliable communication to consumers, businesses, public safety workers and other government entities. We are investing billions to ensure this is done efficiently and safely,” the statement concludes.

The Coalition to Save Our GPS is concerned that the FCC is not asking enough of LightSquared in “proving no harm” to GPS signals if the LightSquared vision comes to pass. Trimble, a member of the Coalition to Save GPS, provided the following statement about the current situation:

“Trimble shares the concerns of many others regarding the potential of this new network to interfere with GPS users. Given the critical national importance of uninterrupted GPS service, we believe that the ability of the proposed new network to exist without harmful interference to existing GPS users must be conclusively proven prior to any launch.

“The consequences of disruption to the GPS signals would be very significant and likely to affect millions of users including transportation, federal and local government, first responders, airlines, civil engineering, utility networks, construction and surveying, agriculture, science and everyday consumers in their cars and on handheld devices.”

No one, especially those who live and work in the many dead zones that exist throughout rural America, would debate the benefit of wider access to broadband. But with agriculture’s deep reliance on GPS as the driver for precise operations, peak efficiency and accurate data collection and management, it can’t come at the expense of a clean positioning signal.

Leave a Reply

Paul Schrimpf Stories

Paul SchrimpfWorking With Walmart
June 2, 2014
It's critical for agriculture to have seats at the table as the mega-retailer works out its definition of sustainability. Read More

Trending Articles

Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
Many new products were introduced to the ag retail marketplace this year. From this group, CropLife IRON and its consulting partners have selected five finalists for the Product of the Year award. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More
EquipmentNew Holland Acquires Miller-St. Nazianz
September 3, 2014
The assets of Miller acquired as part of the transaction will become part of New Holland Agriculture, a CNH Industrial brand, building on a successful four-year partnership between the two companies. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires East Kansas Chemical
September 2, 2014
Ranked 82nd on the CropLife 100, East Kansas Chemical will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
MAGIE 2014 ShowStopper
EquipmentJohn Deere Again Wins MAGIE ShowStopper Award
August 25, 2014
For the second consecutive year, John Deere was honored at the Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) for its new R4045 sprayer. Read More

Latest News

Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Crop InputsArysta LifeScience Acquires French Bio-Nutrient Company
October 2, 2014
Arysta LifeScience recently announced the acquisition of Goёmar, a French company that develops bioperformance technologies for crop production. Read More
Matthew GrassiVilsack, USDA Featured On New South Park
October 2, 2014
USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was featured on last night's hilarious new South Park episode titled "Gluten Free Ebola." Read More
Syngenta
Crop InputsSyngenta Launches Plant Breeding Academy
October 1, 2014
Syngenta announces the release of its Breeding Academy, a global initiative designed to enable the continued development of scientists at Syngenta and beyond. Read More
FertilizerFertilizer Outlook And Technology Conference Set For No…
September 30, 2014
Conference participants can expect to gain perspective on the outlook for agriculture and major fertilizer materials and inputs from industry experts. Read More
MicronutrientsVerdesian Acquires Micronutrient Supplier
September 30, 2014
Verdesian Life Sciences has acquired QC Corp., a producer and supplier of granular and dry micronutrients and ferrous sulfate products. Read More
Eric SfiligojHearing From Young Ag Voices
September 30, 2014
Potential future leaders in ag retail had the chance to shine at the recent Mid America CropLife Association meeting. Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
September 30, 2014
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Appoints New Chief Operating Officer
September 29, 2014
Jon Parr will succeed retiring COO John Atkin at the end of the year. Read More
CropLife 100South Dakota Wheat Growers To Add Grain-Agronomy Facili…
September 26, 2014
Planned to be constructed in Kennebec, the facility will be located along the soon-to-be rehabilitated line of heavy-rail service from Chamberlain to Presho. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Announces Vice President Appointments
September 25, 2014
Two individuals have been appointed Vice President positions on the GROWMARK executive team. Read More
FertilizerFertilizer Industry Organizations Join Global Alliance …
September 25, 2014
The Fertilizer Institute, the International Plant Nutrition Institute and the International Fertilizer Industry Association are encouraging the industry to promote the proper use of fertilizer products to minimize their environmental impact. Read More
Precision AgARA Organized Precision Forum Hits Capitol Hill
September 24, 2014
The Coalition for the Advancement of Precision Agriculture (CAPA) hosted its inaugural Precision Ag Forum, Sept. 18, in Washington, D.C. Read More
FertilizerFactors To Consider When Placing Fertilizer With Seed
September 24, 2014
The type of crop, fertilizer source, row spacing and soil environment all affect how much fertilizer can be safely applied with seed. Read More
FertilizerSidedressing Manure Into Corn Has Promising Results
September 24, 2014
Applying manure to growing crops can boost yields, reduce nutrient losses and give livestock producers another window of time to apply manure to farm fields. Read More
FertilizerWhen To Sample Manure For Analysis
September 24, 2014
Because the goal is to collect a sample that represents the manure actually being applied, the best time to sample is during loading or field application. Here's why. Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Faces Second Lawsuit Over Agrisure Viptera Cor…
September 23, 2014
A second company has sued Syngenta AG over sales of genetically modified corn seed not approved by China. Read More
StewardshipCover Crops Field Guide For Farmers Expanded
September 23, 2014
Farmers interested in planting cover crops to improve soil health now have an updated and expanded resource in the second edition of the Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide. Read More
HerbicidesArysta LifeScience Launches Contest For Wheat Growers
September 23, 2014
The Flush after Flush Photo Finish contest encourages farmers across the U.S. to participate through Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #FlushAfterFlush. Read More