Posts Tagged ‘gps’

How Gadgets Helped Mumbai Attackers

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

The Mumbai terrorists used an array of commercial technologies — from Blackberries to GPS navigators to anonymous e-mail accounts — to pull off their heinous attacks.


For years, terrorists and insurgents around the world have used off-the-shelf hardware and software to stay ahead of bigger, better-funded authorities. In 2007, former U.S. Central Command chief Gen. John Abizaid complained that, with their Radio Shack stockpile of communications gear, “this enemy is better networked than we are.” The strikes that killed at least 174 appears to be another example of how wired today’s “global guerrillas” can be.

As they approached Mumbai by boat, the terrorists “steered the vessel using GPS equipment,” according to the Daily Mail. A satellite phone was later found aboard.

Once the coordinated attacks began, the terrorists were on their cell phones constantly. They used BlackBerries “to monitor international reaction to the atrocities, and to check on the police response via the internet,” the Courier Mail reports.

The gunmen were able to trawl the internet for information after cable television feeds to the two luxury hotels and office block were cut by the authorities.

The men looked beyond the instant updates of the Indian media to find worldwide reaction to the events in Mumbai, and to keep abreast of the movements of the soldiers sent to stop them.

Outside of Leopold’s Cafe, “one of the gunmen seemed to be talking on a mobile phone even as he used his other hand to fire off rounds,” an eyewitness told The New York Times.

The terror group then took credit for the bloodshed with a series of e-mails to local media. They used a “remailer” service to mask their identities; earlier attacks were claimed from cyber cafes.

[Photo: AP; plugged in: CA, Giz]

Nuance Studies Speech Recognition’s Effect on Driving

Saturday, July 12th, 2008

driving.pngCan speech recognition reduce driver distraction when using cell phones or in-car entertainment and navigation systems?

Vendor studies are typically self-serving, but the latest research from speech recognition specialist Nuance Communications conforms to ISO standards for automotive safety tests, the company said.  Tests were conducted at the Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany.

The ISO’s lane-change-task test exposes drivers to specified skills while performing tasks such as making calls, using an MP3 player and programming a GPS unit.  Some researchers challenge the test’s validity because it partially involves subjective observations, although it is a commonly used measurement.

In the Nuance test for making calls, “Speech input improved the ability to maintain the ideal car position by 19% compared to manual dialing.  Speech input was also approximately 40% faster in making a call, reducing the distraction period by the same amount,” the company said.

For music systems, an average driver can be 50% more distracted and take twice as long to change lanes when selecting music manually compared to using speech, while for navigation the use of speech results in 10 times less swerving, officials said.

Nuance said its technology is available in 100 models of cars and in 5 million vehicles total from all major manufacturers.

Source: Wireless Week

Gizmo Project – a network truck

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Gizmo is a remote-controlled toy monster truck which has been tricked out by Calit2 UCSD researchers. At just 20″x14″x11″ in size, it is tiny when compared to regular trucks, but it can deliver something that they cannot: an adaptable and reliable research platform which is reconfigurable for the task at hand.

Gizmo’s “tricks” are treats for researchers. Each truck has a Calit2 CalMesh ad-hoc network board which is equipped with both wireless local area network (WLAN) and global positioning system (GPS) cards. Basic features currently include full motor capabilities (forward, reverse, braking), an override circuit for manual remote control and a web-enabled camera.

The underlying motivation of the Gizmo project is to create an autonomous multi-radio platform that can be controlled by many kinds of interfaces and can be used for a wide variety of applications, such as, disaster response environments, radio frequency (RF) mapping, data gathering and educational purposes, as well as others.

Source: Calit2

The idea of this technology is to develop collision free traffic in the future where cars are control by centralized traffic controller, following the successful of fly-by-wire technology that have been applied in aviation field for years. In the future where most areas are covered by WLAN or WIMAX wireless signals, all vehicles are controlled by central traffic controller where passengers only need to key in their destinations into the cockpit control panel.

Kyocera Adds BREW to M2M Developer Tools

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

Kyocera Wireless used this week’s BREW conference in San Diego to take the wraps off two new BREW-enabled modules – the 300 and the 1xD. The modules allow customers to reduce cost by running integrated BREW applications within the embedded module. This reduces the need for external application processors in M2M solutions.

“In leveraging the … BREW platform within our new modules, we are creating additional value and versatility for our customers,” said Dean Fledderjohn, general manager of the M2M product line at Kyocera Wireless.

The 300 module integrates Qualcomm chipsets in a small but rugged form factor and delivers lower power consumption, extended operating temperatures and multimode assisted and integrated autonomous GPS.

The 1xD module provides a cheaper platform for telemetry and other data-only applications that don’t need GPS or voice features. The module’s reduced power consumption, streamlined feature-set and small size reduce the total cost of ownership and make it ideal for remote metering/monitoring and alarm applications.

GPS: Techniques to improve accuracy

Sunday, May 25th, 2008


Augmentation methods of improving accuracy rely on external information being integrated into the calculation process. There are many such systems in place and they are generally named or described based on how the GPS sensor receives the information. Some systems transmit additional information about sources of error (such as clock drift, ephemeris, or ionospheric delay), others provide direct measurements of how much the signal was off in the past, while a third group provide additional navigational or vehicle information to be integrated in the calculation process.

Examples of augmentation systems include the Wide Area Augmentation System, Differential GPS, Inertial Navigation Systems and Assisted GPS.

Precise monitoring

The accuracy of a calculation can also be improved through precise monitoring and measuring of the existing GPS signals in additional or alternate ways.

After SA, which has been turned off, the largest error in GPS is usually the unpredictable delay through the ionosphere. The spacecraft broadcast ionospheric model parameters, but errors remain. This is one reason the GPS spacecraft transmit on at least two frequencies, L1 and L2. Ionospheric delay is a well-defined function of frequency and the total electron content (TEC) along the path, so measuring the arrival time difference between the frequencies determines TEC and thus the precise ionospheric delay at each frequency.

Receivers with decryption keys can decode the P(Y)-code transmitted on both L1 and L2. However, these keys are reserved for the military and “authorized” agencies and are not available to the public. Without keys, it is still possible to use a codeless technique to compare the P(Y) codes on L1 and L2 to gain much of the same error information. However, this technique is slow, so it is currently limited to specialized surveying equipment. In the future, additional civilian codes are expected to be transmitted on the L2 and L5 frequencies (see GPS modernization, below). Then all users will be able to perform dual-frequency measurements and directly compute ionospheric delay errors.

A second form of precise monitoring is called Carrier-Phase Enhancement (CPGPS). The error, which this corrects, arises because the pulse transition of the PRN is not instantaneous, and thus the correlation (satellite-receiver sequence matching) operation is imperfect. The CPGPS approach utilizes the L1 carrier wave, which has a period 1000 times smaller than that of the C/A bit period, to act as an additional clock signal and resolve the uncertainty. The phase difference error in the normal GPS amounts to between 2 and 3 meters (6 to 10 ft) of ambiguity. CPGPS working to within 1% of perfect transition reduces this error to 3 centimeters (1 inch) of ambiguity. By eliminating this source of error, CPGPS coupled with DGPS normally realizes between 20 and 30 centimeters (8 to 12 inches) of absolute accuracy.

Relative Kinematic Positioning (RKP) is another approach for a precise GPS-based positioning system. In this approach, determination of range signal can be resolved to a precision of less than 10 centimeters (4 in). This is done by resolving the number of cycles in which the signal is transmitted and received by the receiver. This can be accomplished by using a combination of differential GPS (DGPS) correction data, transmitting GPS signal phase information and ambiguity resolution techniques via statistical tests—possibly with processing in real-time (real-time kinematic positioning, RTK).

GPS time and date

While most clocks are synchronized to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), the atomic clocks on the satellites are set to GPS time. The difference is that GPS time is not corrected to match the rotation of the Earth, so it does not contain leap seconds or other corrections which are periodically added to UTC. GPS time was set to match Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) in 1980, but has since diverged. The lack of corrections means that GPS time remains at a constant offset (19 seconds) with International Atomic Time (TAI). Periodic corrections are performed on the on-board clocks to correct relativistic effects and keep them synchronized with ground clocks.

The GPS navigation message includes the difference between GPS time and UTC, which as of 2006 is 14 seconds due to the leap second added to UTC December 31st of 2005. Receivers subtract this offset from GPS time to calculate UTC and specific timezone values. New GPS units may not show the correct UTC time until after receiving the UTC offset message. The GPS-UTC offset field can accommodate 255 leap seconds (eight bits) which, at the current rate of change of the Earth’s rotation, is sufficient to last until the year 2330.

As opposed to the year, month, and day format of the Gregorian calendar, the GPS date is expressed as a week number and a day-of-week number. The week number is transmitted as a ten-bit field in the C/A and P(Y) navigation messages, and so it becomes zero again every 1,024 weeks (19.6 years). GPS week zero started at 00:00:00 UTC (00:00:19 TAI) on January 6, 1980 and the week number became zero again for the first time at 23:59:47 UTC on August 21, 1999 (00:00:19 TAI on August 22, 1999). To determine the current Gregorian date, a GPS receiver must be provided with the approximate date (to within 3,584 days) to correctly translate the GPS date signal. To address this concern the modernized GPS navigation messages use a 13-bit field, which only repeats every 8,192 weeks (157 years), and will not return to zero until near the year 2137.

GPS modernization

Having reached the program’s requirements for Full Operational Capability (FOC) on July 17, 1995, the GPS completed its original design goals. However, additional advances in technology and new demands on the existing system led to the effort to modernize the GPS. Announcements from the U.S. Vice President and the White House in 1998 initiated these changes, and in 2000 the U.S. Congress authorized the effort, referring to it as GPS III.

The project aims to improve the accuracy and availability for all users and involves new ground stations, new satellites, and four additional navigation signals. New civilian signals are called L2C, L5 and L1C; the new military code is called M-Code. Initial Operational Capability (IOC) of the L2C code is expected in 2008. A goal of 2013 has been established for the entire program, with incentives offered to the contractors if they can complete it by 2011.

GPS interference and jamming

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

Natural sources

Since GPS signals at terrestrial receivers tend to be relatively weak, it is easy for other sources of electromagnetic radiation to desensitize the receiver, making acquiring and tracking the satellite signals difficult or impossible.

Solar flares are one such naturally occurring emission with the potential to degrade GPS reception, and their impact can affect reception over the half of the Earth facing the sun. GPS signals can also be interfered with by naturally occurring geomagnetic storms, predominantly found near the poles of the Earth’s magnetic field. GPS signals are also subjected to interference from Van Allen Belt radiation when the satellites pass through the South Atlantic Anomaly.

Artificial sources

Metallic features in windshield, such as defrosters, or car window tinting films can act as a Faraday cage, degrading reception just inside the car.

Man-made EMI can also disrupt, or jam, GPS signals. In one well documented case, an entire harbor was unable to receive GPS signals due to unintentional jamming caused by a malfunctioning TV antenna preamplifier. Intentional jamming is also possible. Generally, stronger signals can interfere with GPS receivers when they are within radio range, or line of sight. In 2002, a detailed description of how to build a short range GPS L1 C/A jammer was published in the online magazine Phrack.

The U.S. government believes that such jammers were used occasionally during the 2001 war in Afghanistan and the U.S. military claimed to destroy a GPS jammer with a GPS-guided bomb during the Iraq War. Such a jammer is relatively easy to detect and locate, making it an attractive target for anti-radiation missiles. The UK Ministry of Defence tested a jamming system in the UK’s West Country on 7 and 8 June 2007.

Some countries allow the use of GPS repeaters to allow for the reception of GPS signals indoors and in obscured locations, however, under EU and UK laws, the use of these is prohibited as the signals can cause interference to other GPS receivers that may receive data from both GPS satellites and the repeater.

Due to the potential for both natural and man-made noise, numerous techniques continue to be developed to deal with the interference. The first is to not rely on GPS as a sole source. According to John Ruley, “IFR pilots should have a fallback plan in case of a GPS malfunction”. Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring (RAIM) is a feature now included in some receivers, which is designed to provide a warning to the user if jamming or another problem is detected. The U.S. military has also deployed their Selective Availability / Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) in the Defense Advanced GPS Receiver (DAGR). In demonstration videos, the DAGR is able to detect jamming and maintain its lock on the encrypted GPS signals during interference which causes civilian receivers to lose lock.

Cops Test Cannon That Fires Sticky GPS Beacons at Fleeing Cars

Friday, May 16th, 2008

police gps cannonDriving a getaway car just got a little tougher. As if high-speed patrol cars, helicopters, and tire spikes weren’t enough, soon the fuzz might come armed with a laser-sighted, double-barreled homing-device launcher. The gizmo, called the StarChase Pursuit Management System, fires sticky GPS transmitters from compressed-air cannons mounted in the front grill of a police cruiser. A backlit control panel allows officers to arm the capsule and launch it at their target; once the projectile is attached to the fleeing vehicle, it starts feeding real-time location data to police HQ over a cellular network. This lets cops fall back and tail the suspect covertly, avoiding dangerous chases. “It has real James Bond appeal,” says sergeant Dan Gomez with the LAPD’s Tactical Technology Unit. The system is still in the testing phase, but the LAPD says it will be on the streets by early 2008. It could spell the end of high-speed pursuits — and put a lot of news helicopter pilots out of work.

Source: Wired

Get Rid of Your Stalkers With Portable GPS Tracking Jammer

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

Portable_GPS_Tracking_JammerFeeling unsecure and got no more private life. Use this little device to screw up GPS signal before it can be reached by any GPS devices, and transmit back to your stalkers.

A company base in Taiwan, Web Strategies Ltd. (WSL) feel responsible to produce this gadget in order to provide private life to whom life have always been stalked by some kind of paparazzis or maybe mafia in their everydays life. Protecting your whereabouts and movements from citizen and vehicle tracking personnel with 1933key’s Portable GPS Tracking Jammer utilizes unique and intelligent technology to interfere with GPS satellite signals and GPS receivers. You now can decide to be either on or off someone’s satellite tracking radar.

Using a standard mobile phone battery pack and battery charger, the Portable GPS Tracking Jammer is ready for mobile operations anytime. The included direct power pack allows continuous operation even when the batteries are drained.

No complicated installation or professional spy knowledge is required for operation. Sleek handheld design provides easy to carry and easy to use functions, anytime, anywhere.


  • Blocks GPS tracking, tagging, stalking and surveillance devices to protect your movement privacy.
  • Prevents mobile GPS logging systems from submitting geographical positioning data to base tracking stations.
  • Cautions-Not for use near GPS dependent motorized craft such as airplanes, farm equipment, ships or yachts; nor should used for vehicle theft.


  • Jamming distance (coverage radius)
    Model: JGPS01A: Up to 40 meter diameter-20 meter radius
    Model: JGPS01B: Up to 20 meter diameter-10 meter radius
  • Antenna: Internal
  • Dimensions: L 139 x W 49 x H 24 mm
  • Power: 4. 8v DC rechargeable battery pack or car power supply (cigarette lighter plug)

Losing Your Car While Technically Not Lost Your Car

Friday, May 9th, 2008

Vehicle Tracking System that rely 100% on GPRS sometimes will have this problem. The tracking device is functioning with GPS module exactly calculate the location. It keep on reporting to the central server for every single minute. The owner of the car or vehicle simply can watch their car moving on the web-based map on his or her PC. Suddenly, his or her car simply disappears on the map. Is the car just vanished into the air? He/She call the provider, regarding the lost. The operator pick up the call, and check the status of the car using SMS directly to the tracking device. He got text-based reply with car location and engine status.

The car maybe still drove by authorized driver on have been carjacked. How to solve this mystery?

tracked car lost in the map

The answer is: poor GPRS coverage. Hahahaha. Let’s the telco step forward to be blamed. The owner still not satisfying about this. So, he/she decides to stop subscribing the service. Again, the telco frees without blames and upgrading their system. The AVL provider is always lose. Maybe, we should do something about this.

GPS Logger Tracks Your Mail

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

The GPS mail logger tracks itself. The idea is that you slide it into an envelope to discover why your mail is being delayed. The logger can be set to record positioning data at timed intervals or when it detects movement. It looks fairly easy to use, and integrates with Google Earth, but we see problems.

One, it costs $700. Two, what if it gets lost in the mail. There would be a supreme irony in losing a GPS tracker in the post (the data is recorded to a MicroSD card, not beamed directly to the owner). Three, even if your mail is going astray, what do you do? Call up the postal service and complain that the mail van was stuck in traffic for two hours?

No. We think the real reason for shipping a gadget that will fit into an envelope is cheap attempt by Brickhouse Security to cash in on some of the MacBook Air sexy. Manilla is the new white plastic, baby.

Product page [Brickhouse Security via Crave]