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Embedded Linux enables ‘1st Internet-connected GPS receiver’

Sep 25, 2002 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive

Santa Clara, CA — (press release excerpt) — Thales Navigation today announced the industry's first direct Internet-connected GPS receiver, the Thales Navigation Internet-Enabled Continuous Geodetic Reference Station (iCGRS) System. The system features an embedded PC running Linux.

The iCGRS provides direct Internet connectivity with a 12-channel, dual-frequency continuously operating geodetic reference station, making a laptop or other computer system unnecessary for data control, monitoring, or downloading.

Designed for a wide range of scientific, engineering, land survey and GIS applications, iCGRS is a comprehensive solution in one durable, waterproof box, eliminating the need for expensive adapters or additional computers. Users simply plug iCGRS into an Ethernet connection just like a PC, gaining full Internet access. The user can stream data in real time to up to five separate IP addresses. iCGRS offers a more reliable solution for real-time data streaming than modems, which tend to drop connections during transfers.

The system features an embedded PC running Linux, an operating system renowned for its stability. The configuration means that the computer is virtually weatherproof and far less likely to crash than an attached Windows-based PC. Further, the iCGRS uses much less power than a traditional PC-based system — a mere 8 watts, compared to a minimum of 30 watts for an external PC system. Because if its low power consumption, the iCGRS can be easily solar-powered, something not typically feasible for an external PC.

The new iCGRS offers the most cost-effective option to connect a reference station to the Internet. With only the iCGRS and an Internet connection — no additional adapters, equipment or software — users can control this receiver from any Web browser or send data anywhere in the world. No competing GPS provider today offers this level of reliability.

iCGRS is an enhanced version of the Ashtech MicroZ-CGRS with the added Linux-based computer. Developed for high-accuracy applications, iCGRS is ideal as a permanent GPS base station with a direct Internet connection. The iCGRS system has been designed to meet the stringent requirements of constant, unattended operation. The system includes all necessary components for continuous collection of high-quality, dual-frequency GPS data. Data can be downloaded from the iCGRS while the receiver continues tracking and logging data. iCGRS can even send email error notifications automatically.

iCGRS provides a choice of communication protocols including TCP/IP or UDP for data streaming, and ZMODEM or FTP for file transfer. iCGRS can be programmed to automatically create sessions as short as 15 minutes using the 10-character RINEX convention. The standard iCGRS System incorporates the high-precision Ashtech L1/L2 Choke Ring antenna, and offers an optional Ashtech Geodetic IV antenna with removable ground plane. The system also provides two sensor ports for simultaneous met and tilt connections.

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