May 2, 2000 Hancock County, Miss. — In low-lying Bangladesh, researchers are using a constellation of satellites known as the Global Positioning System (GPS) to help residents mitigate the effects of flood damage during the monsoon season. Using survey systems that incorporate GPS measurements, researchers developed models of the riverbeds and the water discharged into the waterways. These models will be used to develop plans to alleviate damage caused by flooding in the Asian country.
From aiding the visually impaired in France to improving the efficiency and safety of taxicab service in Australia, the Global Positioning System has the ability to touch our everyday lives. Now, NASA and its partners have developed a new Web site devoted to sharing the practical uses of GPS technology, called the GPS Application Exchange. The Web site can be found at: http://gpshome.ssc.nasa.gov
The Global Positioning System is a satellite navigation system developed and maintained by the U.S. government. Initially designed for military applications, civilian users have found numerous applications for GPS technology. Here are a few uses highlighted on the GPS Application Exchange site:
* As early as 1995, BMW began installing a GPS-based in-car navigation system in several of its models. The system offers turn-by-turn directions and menu-driven navigation controls using a GPS antenna hidden in the car’s rear deck. Even when driving among tall buildings, the car’s navigation system provides accurate location information.
* In Japan, seismologists pinpointed the physical ground movements that induced the Kobe earthquake of 1995 -- which claimed more 5500 lives -- by a deformation map produced by a nationwide GPS array system created just a year earlier. The Japanese network allows researchers to receive a constant flow of GPS data from observation stations located throughout the country so that they can continuously monitor crustal deformation. Scientists hope to provide warning systems to prevent the death and property damage typically associated with earthquakes.
* In Iceland, GPS-equipped snowmobiles aid in search and rescue operations. The Global Positioning System allows emergency personnel to conduct rescues in bad weather and precisely guide medical care to victims' locations.
The GPS Application Exchange Web site is part of an ongoing effort to educate and inform the government, commercial and scientific communities around the world about the benefits of the Global Positioning System prior to the 2000 World Radiocommunication Conference. The conference, which begins May 8 in Istanbul, Turkey, will explore several issues related to the protection of the GPS spectrum on Earth and in space.
The GPS Application Exchange was developed by NASA, members of the U.S. GPS Industry Council and the RAND Corporation. The authors are actively seeking contributions of new and unique GPS applications from anywhere in the world. Applications can be submitted via the Web site, by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing David Brannon, Program Manager, John C. Stennis Space Center, Commercial Remote Sensing Program Office, Building 1100, Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-6000, USA.
News releases provided by NASA's Stennis Space Center are available at http://www.ssc.nasa.gov/~pao/news/newsreleases/2000. For more information, call the NASA Public Affairs Office at Stennis at 1-800-237-1821 in Mississippi and Louisiana only, or (228) 688-3341.
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