GPS Receiver Trends in Technology, Equipment and Performance

Keith D. McDonald

Abstract: During the past twenty years the development of GPS receivers has progressed from four-channel equipments employing analogue devices to recent "all-in-view" receivers which are compact and fully digital in design. The initial impetus for GPS receiver development started in the 1960's with the Department of Defense (DoD) establishing requirements and funding the development and test of prototype GPS user equipment. The early availability of a test and demonstration satellite constellation (the current Block I system) provided the means for investigating the performance characteristics of a number of receiver system designs. Although the GPS from its inception has focused on military requirements, the DoD has provided the civil community with detailed information concerning the system design and operation, and access to the GPS satellite signals. Civil users and GPS equipment designers have taken advantage of this by configuring a variety of civil receivers and by exploiting GPS capabilities for a large number of applications. In this paper, we will review some of the historical trends in GPS receiver equipment technology and performance which have brought GPS user equipment to its current state. Then, several of the technology trends influencing GPS receiver development and production will be identified and estimates made of the impact of these trends, where feasible. A number of charts are presented providing current estimates, or more correctly "guesses" by the author, of the impact on GPS receiver system capabilities, uses and production figures for the trends discussed. Finally a comprehensive survey of GPS receiver equipment is presented. This survey includes nearly all models and types of GPS user equipment manufactured to date as well as a number of equipments which are planned for the future. The survey provides a guide not only to the current status of GPS receivers but indicates applications, performance obtained for the applications, receiver configurations, physical and electrical power characteristics, interface ports, price, availability, quantity produced, manufacturers, some test results and other related data.
Published in: Proceedings of the International Technical Meeting of the Satellite Division of The Institute of Navigation (ION GPS 1988)
September 19 - 23, 1988
The Broadmoor Hotel
Colorado Spring, CO
Pages: 357 - 359
Cite this article: McDonald, Keith D., "GPS Receiver Trends in Technology, Equipment and Performance," Proceedings of the International Technical Meeting of the Satellite Division of The Institute of Navigation (ION GPS 1988), Colorado Spring, CO, September 1988, pp. 357-359.
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