Term Paper: Electronic Navigation Systems Are Continually

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[. . .] Used in combination with GPS, navigation has become much easier and much more precise and accurate. A majority of new aircraft and ships currently use these systems to pinpoint time to location and distance. Similar smaller scale systems are even being developed for use in every day equipment. One might note similar navigational tools used by luxury automobiles. GPS systems are often utilized in combination with other electronic navigation tools to deliver the greatest amount of information; the GPS systems of the future however, are more likely to be stand alone systems that offer convenience and reliability.

The future of electronic navigation systems seems promising; in the near future, GPS systems are planned for use in by two systems called Wide Area Augmentation and Local Area Augmentation, WAAS and LAAS respectively. These tools will be sued to help guide aircraft from in flight to the runway surface (GA, 2004). Currently GPS systems alone can be used for this function, but not with as great accuracy. Typically the distance to landing is slightly off using these systems alone. Also GPS systems currently are used in combination with ILS systems. Use of WAAS and LAAS will change this. The utilization of these hybrid systems will eliminate the need for the use of ILS systems altogether. Scientists and technicians are continually working to develop newer and more advanced tools to aid the navigation process. Also, aircraft using the GPS systems combined with WAAS will be able to fly more "precision approaches" into much smaller community airports; this type of airport is not commonly equipped with an ILS system even today. It is also expected that advances in navigation will help reduce air traffic congestion at large airports (GA, 2004). Among the other benefits of advances in technology include the following: reduction of air traffic delays (especially during bad weather) and increased safety at airports (GA, 2004).

Also in the works related to the future of electronic navigation, the Federal Aviation Administration is currently working on upgrading their Air Traffic Control or ATC systems (GA, 2004). Soon all airports will be utilizing a new Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System, or STARS (GA, 2004). The new system will be of use to controllers operating out of terminal areas; this system is fully color with good resolution and high accuracy. The cost to benefit ratio for implementing technologically advanced electronic navigation systems is positive.

Traditionally controllers have used old round green tube screens that gave little definition; the new electronic terminals however, use a high resolution flat panel that has a color display and solid state (GA, 2004). Other functions of electronic navigation are also being examined to assess their potential for automation. The FAA is also working with the Department of Defense to replace many of their older navigational systems at control towers. The future of electronic navigation seems to offer higher accuracy, precision and efficiency, to enable better productivity and air traffic control.


GA. "General Aviation - The Future of Navigation Technologies in Aircraft." {Online}. Available: http://www.gaservingamerica.org/future_navigation.htm

Johansen, Jan. 2001. "The History of Navigation." from, 1996 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia.

Nolan, M. Air Traffic Control," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2004

http://encarta.msn.com© 1997-2004 Microsoft Corporation.

Walls, Colin. (1999). "Electronic Navigation." {Online} Available: http://www.murorum.demon.co.uk/sailling/electronicNavigation/img1.html

The astrolabe was a disk made of bronze or brass, generally 10 to 50 centimeters in diameter with a pointer in the center of the disk; a person holding the disk would point the device at the sun and read the angle of the suns shadow to give information about the approximate location time. From Johansen.

During this time, John Hadley and Thomas Godfrey are credited for inventing the quadrant, which made accurate observation of celestial bodies possible. The quadrant is very similar to the sextant still used by navigators in contemporary society. From Johansen.

Most vessels also utilize an automatic pilot; the U.S. Air force also uses a Global Positioning System, which is a satellite system that aids navigators in determining latitude and longitude with a 10 meter accuracy. From Johansen.

Loran stands for long-range aviation navigation.

Further referred to as GPS

International Civil Aviation Organization

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