2010 Thurlow Award

Presented to: Dr. Frank van Diggelen

Citation: For navigation solutions in assisted GPS; coarse time GPS; Doppler navigation; millisecond ambiguity; extended ephemeris; long term orbit; and A-GPS.


Dr. Frank van Diggelen has made important contributions to the field of navigation, especially in the area of navigation computation in assisted GPS systems. Among other innovations, Dr. van Diggelen pioneered important mathematical techniques that address the problem of computing position using measurements obtained prior to the achieving of bit or frame synchronization. He developed and publicized a method for solving for the time of transmission of satellite signals without reliance on the handover word as well as an approach for seeding a navigation solution with a coarse position computed solely from Doppler measurements. In related research, Dr. van Diggelen developed algorithms to resolve the millisecond ambiguities that arise when working with sub-millisecond pseudoranges.

Dr. van Diggelen was part of a team that created the concept of extended ephemeris assistance data, which the group called Long Term Orbit data. This innovation built on earlier concepts for assisted GPS by allowing assistance data to be valid for periods much longer than broadcast ephemeris. To facilitate the creation of long term orbit and other assistance data, Dr. van Diggelen was instrumental in the creation of a worldwide network of reference stations, the first and only network of its kind dedicated to assisted GPS applications.

Dr. van Diggelen's work has had great impact on the commercial applications of GPS, especially in the adoption of GPS as a mainstream technology for mobile telephones. His techniques paved the way for time-to-fix reductions down to one second; for the computation of position in extremely low signal environments; and for the extension of assisted GPS to situations where a reliable initial position is not available. His innovations in extended ephemeris allowed assisted GPS techniques to be applied in smart phones and navigation devices which may not always have access to a network connection for obtaining real-time assistance data.

Dr. van Diggelen is sole- or co-inventor on over 50 issued U.S. patents and author of the bestselling text-book, A-GPS: Assisted GPS, GNSS, and SBAS (Artech House, Boston & London 2009). He is a frequent speaker at the ION and other navigation industry conferences and a consulting assistant professor at Stanford University, where he teaches a class on GPS.

Dr. van Diggelen, is senior technical director for GNSS and chief navigation officer at Broadcom Corporation. He joined Broadcom through its acquisition of Global Locate. Dr. van Diggelen received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Cambridge University.