Finally…the GPS Solution

The Olympic men’s cycling road race was “plagued” with technical issues as the commercial GPS network failed due to the system being overloaded by tweets and cellphone traffic.

So when all else fails…?

What an Olympic opportunity for Ham Radio! And what a public relations opportunity for ARES and Radio Amateurs of Canada as the Pan Am Games come to Toronto in 2015 and yes they have cycling!

Somebody ring the bell and wake up the guys at RAC General Headquarters and let’s get the ARES guys out from behind their desks writing how-to manuals that nobody is going to read.

Think about it: We could actually deploy ARES at an international event.

This would take work! (This is likely a novel thought for some.) It will take planning. (That’s going to mean getting a committee together and not pissing the committee members off on the first day with infighting, empire building and mental instability – which would immediately rule me out.) We’ve got the time. (But we’d have to get moving right now.)

Someone would have to find a clean shirt and iron their suspenders and go call on the Pan Am folks but it could be done.

(We could offer to setup a redundant GPS system at the cycling road race and there might be other opportunities as well.)

Of course if RAC isn’t able or willing maybe the new Emergency Communications Ontario group might step in?

I tell you this would present Canadian Amateur Radio operators as the well-spoken, clean-shaven, technically adapt, community-oriented, well-organized, youthful, diverse group that we know and love on a world stage.

But are we up to the job?

4 thoughts on “Finally…the GPS Solution

  1. Good morning Peter,

    I find this a bit confusing so I gotta ask – Did you really mean GPS, that is Global Positioning System? I didn’t know that was networked and could be overloaded.

    Are they really referring to GSM – Global System for Mobile Communications ?

    GPS and GSM are two very different animals. Sounds to like a reporter or the Media has gotten their terms mixed up.

    cheers, Graham VE3GTC

  2. I think there is something fundamental that is missing here in the numerous reports I have seen with respect to this topic.

    Granted, the RAC or ARRL or RSGB could provide a secondary or tertiary level of simple point to point communications when the cellphone ( i.e. GSM ) network becomes overloaded or otherwise unusable.

    What is missing I think, is that the GSM network was likely being used by teams to relay in real or near real time data collection for their immediate use and strategical planning and for post event analysis. A bunch of RAC/ARRL/RSGB members could not supplement this requirement. Our repeater or packet network couldn’t cope either. Plus there would be a great deal of resistance on the part of the teams in their protection of what they would consider to be privileged or private data.

    I have read some of the reports and they are full small inaccuracies. Even the big media seems to have confused GPS which is not networked and GSM which is the networked mobile phone service.

    To expect the public which pays for the service of mobile phones and data services to not use or limit their use of these services during such events is absurd. For media providers, event organizers, and the teams themselves to rely on such services to fulfill their needs in times of very high levels of network uses is unrealistic and borders on being absurd expectations, poor planning and a fundamental lack of understanding of the infrastructure on which they are basing their needs.

    I fear too that many service organizations are basing too much of their plans on the availability of such infrastructure in times of need, sort of putting all their eggs into one basket.

    cheers, Graham ve3gtc

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