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"I never thought I would spend my free time driving around looking for dollar store items hidden on top of mountains under a bunch of rocks." -Denny Ford of Tres Hombres
"In time, all caches will devolve and entropy will be achieved" -Steve Gross of Team Tierra Buena
A report is causing some concern that the GPS signal could become less accurate as soon as 2010.
The summary from the report reads:
It is uncertain whether the Air Force will be able to acquire new satellites in time to maintain current GPS service without interruption. If not, some military operations and some civilian users could be adversely affected. (1) In recent years, the Air Force has struggled to successfully build GPS satellites within cost and schedule goals; it encountered significant technical problems that still threaten its delivery schedule; and it struggled with a different contractor. As a result, the current IIF satellite program has overrun its original cost estimate by about $870 million and the launch of its first satellite has been delayed to November 2009--almost 3 years late. (2) Further, while the Air Force is structuring the new GPS IIIA program to prevent mistakes made on the IIF program, the Air Force is aiming to deploy the next generation of GPS satellites 3 years faster than the IIF satellites. GAO's analysis found that this schedule is optimistic, given the program's late start, past trends in space acquisitions, and challenges facing the new contractor. Of particular concern is leadership for GPS acquisition, as GAO and other studies have found the lack of a single point of authority for space programs and frequent turnover in program managers have hampered requirements setting, funding stability, and resource allocation. (3) If the Air Force does not meet its schedule goals for development of GPS IIIA satellites, there will be an increased likelihood that in 2010, as old satellites begin to fail, the overall GPS constellation will fall below the number of satellites required to provide the level of GPS service that the U.S. government commits to. Such a gap in capability could have wide-ranging impacts on all GPS users, though there are measures the Air Force and others can take to plan for and minimize these impacts. In addition to risks facing the acquisition of new GPS satellites, the Air Force has not been fully successful in synchronizing the acquisition and development of the next generation of GPS satellites with the ground control and user equipment, thereby delaying the ability of military users to fully utilize new GPS satellite capabilities. Diffuse leadership has been a contributing factor, given that there is no single authority responsible for synchronizing all procurements and fielding related to GPS, and funding has been diverted from ground programs to pay for problems in the space segment. DOD and others involved in ensuring GPS can serve communities beyond the military have taken prudent steps to manage requirements and coordinate among the many organizations involved with GPS. However, GAO identified challenges to ensuring civilian requirements and ensuring GPS compatibility with other new, potentially competing global space-based positioning, navigation, and timing systems.
"A US Government Accountability Office report raises concerns about the Air Force's ability to modernize and maintain the constellation of satellites necessary to provide GPS services to military and civilian users. TidBITS looks at the situation and possible solutions."
The mapping party is over, but we hope to see you are the next one
The Phoenix Linux Users Group (PLUG) and AzGeocaching will be teaming up to do an OpenStreetMap training and Mapping party.
What is OpenStreetMap you ask....
OpenStreetMap creates and provides free geographic data such as street maps to anyone who wants them. The project was started because most maps you think of as free actually have legal or technical restrictions on their use, holding back people from using them in creative, productive, or unexpected ways.
Contributors to OpenStreetMap take handheld GPS devices with them on journeys, or go out specially to record GPS tracks. They record street names, village names and other features using notebooks, digital cameras, and voice-recorders. Back at the computer, contributors upload those GPS logs showing where they travelled, and trace-out the roads on OpenStreetMap's collaborative database. Using their notes, contributors add the street names, information such as the type of road or path, and the connections between roads. That data is then processed to produce detailed street-level maps, which can be published freely on sites such as Wikipedia, used to create handheld or in-car navigation devices, or printed and copied without restriction.
This starts out at PLUG's East side meeting1 which is held on the second Thursday of every month, the 14th of this month, with an introduction to OpenStreetMap given by a OpenStreetMap representivive Hurrican McEwen, on what is OpenSteetMap and how to use it.
Then on the 16th and 17th, there will be mappingparties2 using Boulders On Broadway as a base camp.
What: A Camp-Out Event for the purpose of getting to know fellow cachers. We will serve dinner on Saturday. (NOTE: WE WILL NOT BE SERVING BREAKFAST ON SUNDAY.) There are over 100 existing caches within a 15 miles radius of the event. We will be hiding several new caches in the area. There are limitless hiking possibilites.
When: This event cache will begin on Friday, March 20th and continue through Sunday, March 22nd. If you can't stay for the whole three days, that's fine. In fact, if you can only attend for a few hours, that's fine too. Just drop by and chat for awhile.
Who: Anyone and everone of all ages is welcome to attend, whether you are a seasoned veteran cacher, a newbie cacher or just someone who is interested in geocaching.
Where: The location is in the desert southeast of the town of Florence, nestled among the Middle mountains. We chose this location to be equidistant from Phoenix and Tucson. We welcome cachers from anywhere, so no matter where you live, you're invited.
Why: Because we can! . We love to camp out and know that many others do too and because last year's event was such a huge success.