Mark your calendars! Stanford University’s Per Enge and Frank van Diggelen have teamed up to teach a massively open online course (MOOC) about GPS basics during the fall of 2014.
When is the Course Offered?
The course itself, titled GPS: An Introduction to Satellite Navigation, with an interactive Worldwide Laboratory using Smartphones, takes place between October 13 and November 24 and focuses attention on the basics of GPS using smartphones.
Each week during the course a new lesson, or module, will be released along with a series of short quizzes to accompany the lessons. Some weeks will also require participation in a GPS lab, which is conducted outside with your smartphone or tablet. During these labs it is up to you to collect data and share it with the virtual classroom.
The fact that the class is offered online means that you have the flexibility to participate according to your own schedule. You have the option of doing all the week’s work in one sitting or breaking it up into small chunks during office lunch hours or whenever is convenient for you.
There is a great deal of excitement surrounding the course, the first of its kind taught in a MOOC (massively open online course) environment. The course, “GPS: An Introduction to Satellite Navigation, with an interactive Worldwide Laboratory using Smartphones,” is carried by the education platform Coursera.
The course guides students through the basics of satellite navigation to gain a deeper understanding of GPS and its role in our lives. After all, GPS technology is widely prolific, including GPS tracking applications, such as in animal and wildlife tracking, sports, weather monitoring, tracking of children, elderly dementia patient tracking, fleet tracking, and so much more.
- The first module is the basic introduction explaining how GPS works and how we use navigation all the time.
- The second module is entitled “Pseudoranges” and is much more technical in nature.
- The third module discusses orbits and signals. Once these first three course are complete you’ll move on to part two.
- The fourth module offers the basics about receiver design basics.
- The fifth module explores assisted GPS.
- And the sixth and final module theorizes about the future of GPS and satellite navigation in general.
What do Students Get Out of the Class?
Aside from the obvious benefit of learning more about GPS, students who complete the basic track of the course will receive a Statement of Accomplishment for completing the course. Those who do all the labs in addition to the basic requirements will receive a Statement of Accomplishment with Distinction.
Don’t forget that GPS knowledge is a skill that’s growing in demand in many professions. While this introductory course will not land you GPS engineering jobs, it can help you get GPS-related jobs in many industries.
Learning new skills is never a bad thing. It’s even better, though, when you’re getting Stanford quality instruction in the bargain. You really can’t go wrong with an opportunity like this aside from not taking advantage of it!
Here is an online video to learn more:
K9 dogs in Arizona test out new GPS tracking units to track their location and health status.
Three dogs that work for the Arizona Department of Public Safety department are testing out brand new GPS tracking devices. The devices utilize global positioning system (GPS) technology that is constantly being upgraded for more advanced data tracking abilities. What was previously used for mainly for mapping and navigational properties is now helping organizations all over the world get up-to-date data analysis, including police departments.
The GPS trackers will keep track of where the police dogs are and how they are doing, health-wise. It uses various data to gather and analyze this information, including the temperature and behavior of the dogs, and mapping technology to look at their movements and find their location.
In addition, the GPS tracking device are helping the Arizona police department with K9 training and for learning the searching patterns the dogs use to search for a missing item or person.
Especially in the summer, heat is a concern for police dogs that work long days out in the sun. The core temperature of the dogs is consistently tracked to protect their health and safety when Arizona heat gets up to 100 or more.
The three dogs currently being tracked are GoGo, Nico, and Clif, all of which have been working for the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS). They each have a tracking implant that is connected to a smartphone app. This app runs on Android with the dogs’ handlers having the smartphone to keep track of the information. They can check in at any time or get alerted to certain conditions, such as if the dog has wandered off too far or if their temperature has risen to an alarming degree.
The GPS tracking technology for the K9s has its origins in technology that was made to track down dogs who are let off the leash so their handlers know where they are. For the K9s, the tracking device monitors the dog’s temperature and health when they are in a squad car, which is crucial in the Arizona heat.
The K9 dogs working for the DPS in Arizona have a high amount of energy and desire to work, but they can often work too hard. They want to keep their dogs’ health in check and the GPS tracking device will help them do that. Officer Brian Greene told USA Today:
“With the high drive of the dog, he doesn’t want to stop. We need to pay attention so we don’t run him into the ground.”
Their vehicles are air conditioned, so if a dog is working outdoors and the GPS unit lets them know its temperature is too high, they can get into the cooled vehicle and take a break.
Approximately 15-18 police dogs die each year from heat exhaustion and the Arizona DPS is hoping to prevent this from happening.
Cargo Thefts in the U.S.
Cargo thefts occur all over the United States, from the Pacific Northwest to the East Coast. However, while every state does experience some type of cargo theft, just four states are showing a considerably higher rate of thefts.
Experts believe the criminals are becoming smarter, knowing not only what states tend to have the cargo they are looking for, but those with environmental conditions and other elements that make it easier to steal from these trucks. They know the larger, more populated states tend to have the more and higher quality products, including food, clothing, pharmaceutical drugs, and electronics.
FreightWatch, a leader in leader in logistics security services, believes that recent trends of cargo thefts in four states in particular are a sign of what is to come. They compiled a list of the items that are stolen most often from trucks, as well as what states they are stolen from. Through their detailed statistics, four states in the U.S. pose a higher risk for cargo theft.
States with the Most Cargo Thefts
FreightWatch compiled statistics that looked at the number of cargo thefts in the U.S., and how many of those thefts occurred in what states. They found that there were a total of 946 cargo thefts during 2012, which on its own was already much higher than the previous year. Among the thefts, the vast majority of them were in California, Florida, Texas, and New Jersey.
California had 230 cargo thefts
Florida had 132 cargo thefts
Texas had 123 cargo thefts
New Jersey had 78 cargo thefts
The states of Georgia and Illinois followed, with the top six states representing 73 percent of all cargo thefts in 2012.
Types of Items Stolen
There also tended to be certain items that more likely to be stolen from certain states, including those not listed in these statistics. For example, the state of Illinois saw three times more pharmaceutical thefts in their states than years previous. Other statistics about the times of items include:
Food and Drink are the most common product type stolen. Meats, energy drinks, produce, and other soft drinks were the most common food and drink items stolen. Jewelry had the highest value of stolen cargo, with an average value just under a half a million dollars. The percentage of electronic thefts dropped to a new low of 12 percent in 2012. Metal thefts, including copper, represented 14.9 percent (141 thefts) in 2012.
The increase in cargo thefts may be worrisome, but that doesn’t mean you can’t protect your trucks. Learn more about GPS tracking for cargo theft by giving us a call at 1.888.502.3636.