Online Journal of Space Communication


The United States Coast Guard is engaged in a project to re-capitalize Reference Station (RS) and Integrity Monitor (IM) equipment used in the Nationwide Differential Global Position System (NDGPS). The Coast Guard in partnership with industry is developing a new software application to run on an open architecture platform as a replacement for legacy equipment. Present commercially available off-the-shelf Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) RS and IM equipment lacks the open architecture required to support long term goals and future system improvements. The utility of the proposed new hardware architecture and software application is impressive - nearly every aspect of performance and supportability significantly exceeds that of the legacy architecture. The flexibility of the new hardware and software architectures complement each other to offer promising possibilities for the future. For example, the new hardware architecture uses Ethernet for internal and external site equipment communications. Each Local Area Network (LAN) will be equipped with a router and two 24 port switches. Various levels of password protection are provided to manage security both locally and remotely. While the new software application directly supports the legacy RS-232/422 interfaces to devices such as GPS receivers, a system design goal includes the ability to directly address each device from NCS. With the use of TCP/IP to RS-232/422 port server devices, the system can meet these forward reaching goals while supporting legacy equipment. New system capabilities include remote software management, remote hardware configuration management, and flexible options for management of licenses.

The new configurable RS and IM architecture is a PCbased emulation of legacy reference station and integrity monitor equipment. It supports fluid growth and exploitation of new signals, formats, and technology as they become available, while remaining backward compatible with legacy architecture and user equipment. Examples of new capabilities include enhanced data management & anomaly analysis, universal "On Change" Reference Station Integrity Monitor (RSIM) message scheduling, improved satellite clock handling, additional observation interval modes, and Range Rate Correction monitoring in the IM. Engineering initiatives under development such as implementation of pre-broadcast integrity are also presented.

This paper details challenges and goals that drove software and hardware design approaches destined to become the backbone of the Next Generation Differential GPS Architecture. Functional differences between legacy and next generation operation are explored. The new DGPS system architecture will allow the USCG radiobeacon system to continue to deliver and improve navigation and positioning services to our nation and its territories.

Reprinted with permission from The Institute of Navigation (http://ion.org/) and The Proceedings of the 18th International Technical Meeting of the Satellite Division of The Institute of Navigation, (pp. 816-826). Fairfax, VA: The Institute of Navigation.



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