2011 Thurlow Award

Presented to: Dr. John Betz

Citation: For contributions to GNSS signal design, and to compatibility and interoperability of GPS III and other global navigation satellite systems


Dr. John W. Betz invented a family of direct sequence spreading modulations, called Binary Offset Carrier (BOC) for the modernized GPS military signal, known as M-code. BOC allows M-code signals to share frequency bands with existing signals with minimal interference, while providing better performance including higher jamming margins and better control over denial of GPS service to adversaries in a region of conflict.

Dr. Betz developed an approach for performing initial synchronization of BOC modulations that significantly reduces processing requirements. He also developed a theory to predict code tracking accuracy of BOC modulations in noise and multipath, demonstrating reduced errors relative to modulations previously used. BOC modulations have subsequently been adopted by Galileo, QZSS, COMPASS, and GLONASS.

Dr. Betz has been instrumental in negotiations that have led to agreements among the designers of GPS, Europe's Galileo, China's COMPASS, Japan's QZSS, and prospectively other systems, to ensure that these systems are compatible and that their signals transmitted for open civil use are highly interoperable. In 2003 and 2004, Dr. Betz served as the principal technical advisor to the U.S. Government in negotiations with the European Union on defining technical criteria to achieve RF and national security compatibility between their two systems, leading to a historic agreement in 2004. He is now a U.S. representative charged to implement and enhance interoperability and compatibility between GPS and Galileo, and was integral to the development of the Multiplexed BOC (MBOC) spreading modulation adopted by GPS, COMPASS, and Galileo. He was the co-inventor of Time-Multiplexed BOC used for the GPS L1C signal. He is a key participant in similar discussions with Japanese representatives on signal design for QZSS, with Russia regarding revitalization of GLONASS, with India, which is developing its own satellite navigation system, and with China, developing and fielding its COMPASS system.

Dr. Betz is the author of numerous technical papers, has served as an organizer of ION GNSS meetings, and has held numerous leadership positions on the ION's Satellite Division Executive Committee and on the ION Council. He has been a member of the U.S. Air Force Scientific Advisory Board since 2004, which he chaired from 2008 to 2011. He has received numerous awards from The MITRE Corporation, is a corecipient of the ION's Burka Award (2000), an ION Fellow (2006), and an IEEE Fellow (2009).