US Space-Based Position, Navigation and Timing Advisory Board
Report by Matt Higgins, IGNSS President
In December 2014, I attended the most recent meeting of the US Position, Navigation and Timing Advisory Board in Washington, D.C.
The PNT Advisory Board is a Presidential committee that advises the U.S. Government on national and international PNT related issues and is currently convened by NASA.
I am one of six international members of the Board.
The agenda & presentations from the December meeting are now available at:
The Advisory Board has two working groups, one on “Assured Availability” and another on “Economic Value of PNT”.
The work of the first working group is strongly aligned to the “Protect, Toughen and Augment” concept developed by the Board’s Acting Chair, Brad Parkinson.
Ron Hatch from John Deere, Co-Chairs the “Protect” sub-group and has written a nice summary of the meeting for GPS World, available at:
I will not duplicate the details of Ron’s report here but below I have fleshed out a few of the key issues from my perspective.
A feature of Ron’s report is the Board’s discussion of spectrum protection and the joint presentation by Paige Atkins from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and Ron Repasi from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
This led to a robust discussion about the need to not only protect the spectrum for GPS but to also protect other GNSS, which are not well catered for under present spectrum rules and procedures.
I Co-Chair, with Terry McGurn, the sub-group looking at the “Augment” issue, within the PTA framework.
Our group also covers international interaction issues.
As in many countries, the US is interested is how to mitigate potential vulnerabilities affecting GNSS and is therefore interested in non-GNSS technologies such as eLoran and Locata (an Australian invention).
Presentations on the work of each of the sub-groups are also available on the meeting web page.
The meeting also had a number of very good presentations on key PNT application areas.
A highlight from my perspective was a presentation by Andrew Bach from Juniper Networks on the Role of GPS & Precision Timing in the Financial Services Sector.
Andrew gave us a feel for the scope of the application by pointing out that the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), which provides clearing and settlement services to the financial markets, handles more than $24 quadrillion dollars worth of trading per year.
He also pointed out that that there are more than 20 such organisation globally or around 300 quadrillion dollars globally!
Competition between stock markets and banks along with new regulations are driving these companies towards needing to improve the precision of their timing of trades and to also move to an absolute time basis.
The goal is micro-second synchronisation, which can only be delivered globally using GNSS.
Inside GNSS Magazine has since published a summary article that nicely complements Andrew’s Advisory Board Presentation (See: “Financial Networks Shifting to GPS-Stamped Precise Time” – at http://www.insidegnss.com/node/4355)
The next meeting of the US PNT Advisory Board is scheduled for May and I am looking forward to being able to report on any hot issues from that meeting at our IGNSS Conference on the Gold Coast in July.