2003 Fellow

Presented to: Mr. Charles Trimble (Honorary Fellow)

Citation: For the successful commercialization of practical, cost effective and high precision GPS receivers—bringing the utility of GPS to everyone.


Mr. Charles R. Trimble originally founded Trimble Navigation Limited (TNL) in 1978 to create Loran navigational products. In 1982, he began to develop GPS receivers and was the driving force behind introducing the fi rst economic timing receiver in 1984. This success led to the development of products for the military and for the nascent survey market, and to further innovations in GPS receiver designs, including military receivers and commercial handheld receivers. Under Trimble's guidance, TNL introduced the fi rst RTK survey receivers and products for GIS/mapping, avionics, and vehicle tracking. The Trimble patent portfolio has the largest single collection of GPS patents in the world. In 1998, Mr. Trimble left TNL to chair the U.S. GPS Industry Council. He has been active in policy development of GPS in commercial and civilian applications, while preserving the military advantages of GPS and has been intimately involved in protecting the GPS spectrum.

Mr. Trimble serves on the board of directors of several high tech companies and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Board of Trustees of Caltech, and the NASA Advisory Council. He also served on the Board of Governors for the National Center for Asia-Pacifi c Economic Cooperation and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Mr. Trimble has received many awards in recognition of his achievements: INC Magazine's Entrepreneur of the Year award (1991), CEO of the Year (electrical instruments) from Financial World Magazine (1996), the Kershner Award from the IEEE Position Location and Navigation Symposium (1996), the Piper General Aviation Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics for pioneering the manufacture and application of affordable GPS, the American Electronic Association's Medal of Achievement (2000), the NASA Technology Medal (2001), and the Golden Gizmo award from the San Jose Tech Museum (2002).

Mr. Trimble has a B.S. degree in engineering physics (1963)and an M.S. degree in electrical engineering (1964) from the California Institute of Technology..