I have been using GPS technology to support survey and mapping activities since 1989. How the technology has changed and the range of applications expanded!!!
During a meeting in Hong Kong with WONG Chung-hang (Deputy Director of Survey and Mapping Office), Gordon ANDREASSEND (Former Head of Survey and Mapping Office) and Simon Chi-wo KWOK (Chief Land Surveyor) on 29 July 2009 it came up in discussions that I had been using the GPS technology now for 20 years. I was amazed. So decided to write about it to capture some of those 20 years.
So, where has GPS taken me? Further than I ever thought.
Initially in New Zealand the technology took me via with the Government survey department (DOSLI) from one end of the country to the other teaching people to use the equipment and undertaking surveys. I either drove, walked, flew (yeah in helicopters) or sailed to forests, mountain tops, farms and to out to sea. Then into a research and application role which included:
- my PhD studies in Australia
- implementing the new geodetic datum in New Zealand (NZDG2000)
- investigating GPS height modelling with the use of geoid models, and
- undertaking audits of surveying and engineering consultancy firms.
- Brazil and
That is pretty amazing. Let me highlight these projects.
- Australia – Processing data to help establish the new Geocentric Datum of Australia (GDA)
- Fiji – Terrain surveys for a new coastal resort involving 4wd quad motorbikes and boats all mounted with GPS receivers
- Africa – Quality Assurance of boundary surveys between countries for the United Nations
- Brazil – Geoid modeling workshop with other global experts
- Antarctica – Tracking ice flows at South Pole and Earth Deformation Monitoring in Trans-Antarctic Mountains including the Dry Valleys.
What a journey so far! Now back to that meeting in Hong Kong, it finished with a tour of Hong Kong’s Satellite Positioning Reference Station Network Control Room. This is where they monitor via 12 GPS receivers the status of the GPS satellite signals in the Hong Kong region.
And to think that after 20 years I finally bought my own GPS receiver. Yeah, now I walk around with a GPS unit in my pocket disguised as a phone (Love my Nokia E71).