2018 Fellow

Presented to: Prof. David Last

Citation: For distinguished and sustained technical and strategic contributions, leadership, and guidance to fellow practitioners in terrestrial and space-based positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) solutions.


Prof. David Last is an expert in Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) technologies. He has proposed and helped develop commercial tracking systems employed at sea and for high-security vehicles on land. He influenced the current mix of radionavigation systems in Europe and the U.S. as a contributor to the draft baseline European Radionavigation Plan. He has acted as a consultant on radionavigation and communications technologies and their applications to numerous companies and to governmental and international organizations and contributed technically to navigation programs as diverse as Omega, Decca Navigator, Loran-C, eLoran, Argos, DGPS, and GNSS/GPS. He has authored over 400 papers on navigation technology and policy.

Prof. Last is a registered Expert Witness in diverse technologies, especially in forensic matters concerning GPS. He was one of the first to develop the technology to support such forensic analyses in a court of law. He has been instrumental presenting and explaining complex technical audience to a non-technical audience.

Prof. Last was the head of the Radio Navigation Group at the University of Wales where he led a research team working on terrestrial-based radionavigation systems and the safe and effective transition to Differential GNSS services. He taught several PhD and post-doctorate students, many of whom have subsequently made significant contributions in public and private sectors worldwide. As Professor Emeritus, he has acted as external examiner for PhD candidates.

Prof. Last was awarded the degree of BSc (Eng) by the University of Bristol, PhD by the University of Sheffield and DSc by the University of Wales. He served three years as president of the Royal Institute of Navigation (RIN, 2005-2008) and a term as president of the International Loran Association (2002). He is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology; a Chartered Engineer; a recipient of the RIN’s Harold Spencer-Jones Gold Medal (2010) the International Institute of Navigation’s Necho Award (2015); and The Institute of Navigation’s Burka Award (1994). He is an instrument-rated pilot.