SENTINEL keeps an eye on GPS

SENTINEL keeps an eye on GPS

21 Dec 2010

UK Company Chronos Technology is leading a consortium developing a system that monitors the correct performance of GPS, the Global Positioning Service that drives today’s satellite navigation devices.  

Funded by a research and development investment by the Technology Strategy Board, SENTINEL will continuously monitor GPS signals and warn users of interference, whether from nature or from hostile sources.   Today we not only use GPS to navigate in our cars but we also rely on GPS and signals from space as a timing signal to synchronise a wide range of computer based systems, including communication systems. 

Charles Curry, Managing Director of Chronos Technology, explains: “The SENTINEL project aims to take prototype GPS interference probes that we have already developed forward to real world deployment and applications to research, verify and pinpoint the nature and extent of interference and to alert the authorities where this is as a result of illegal activity or where it could impact on safety.

With the increasing occurrence of GPS interference, both intentional and unintentional (including natural events such as solar flares) together with the increasing reliance of a wide range of users on such systems, from navigation and safety to mission-critical uses, being able to detect interference or a jamming device – and even pinpoint its location – is an important tool

By being able to not only identify that there is interference to GPS but also to say if it is due to the sun, criminal activity or other interference will be useful in preparing a response and contingency actions.  Jim Hammond from the Association of Chief Police Officers, commented:

”As we face an increased occurrence of GPS interference it is important to be able to detect, quantify and locate the source of such interference to be able to warn critical users of GPS.  This includes the capability to detect when this is linked to criminal activity, to enable the law enforcement agencies to take action.  Tools such as SENTINEL will help us to do this.”

The consortium led by Chronos Technology includes  ACPO-ITS, a working group of the Association of Chief Police Officers, the General Lighthouse Authority, Ordnance Survey, the National Physical Laboratory, the University of Bath and Thatcham.  The consortium represents the breadth of interest in the public sector and the commercial interests of industry, coupled with applied expertise from the UK’s academic sector.

Financial support for this project has evolved through the Technology Strategy Board’s work supporting research and development in satellite navigation systems and in network security, and its co-operation with the newly-formed UK Space Agency.   The SENTINEL project illustrates how space technology is exploited in traditionally non-space domains, reflecting the growing importance of space applications to the wider community.

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Last updated on Tuesday 21 December 2010 at 10:21

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