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SCPNT Mission

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PNT Ancient-Modern Collage

The Stanford Center for Position, Navigation and Time (SCPNT) was created in 2006.  It was the brainchild of Professors Jim Spilker (EE and Aero Astro), Per Enge (Aero Astro), Brad Parkinson (Aero Astro), Mark Kasevich (Physics) and Umran Inan (EE) to bring the many PNT-related research areas at Stanford into one inter-departmental organization or Center. Tom Langenstein, with many years of experience managing major research programs at Stanford, was asked to join the group and manage the business aspects of the Center.

Most of the research performed at Stanford is categorized as sponsored research. Sponsored research is typically formalized in a contractual agreement, including a statement of work (SOW) and deliverables, etc. with the sponsoring entity.  The funds provided via sponsored research typically do not allow general research outside of what is specified in the SOW. However, the results of sponsored research frequently germinate new ideas. Thus, sponsored research results can be highly leveraged, often leading to promising opportunities for research in related areas that are not sponsored, which is where SCPNT focuses it’s resources.

Another important aspect of SCPNT is open communication with our member company affiliates. Our member companies typically have PNT research interests aligned with those of SCPNT. We look to our member companies to help provide guidance and direction with SCPNT research.

SCPNT and the GPS Lab have played a significant role in educating the PNT professionals of today and tomorrow. Graduates from the Center and Lab hold 15 faculty positions at universities around the world. Many graduates have gone on to found their own companies. Stanford recently hosted a massive, open on-line course (MOOC) on GPS technology that attracted 31,000 registrants from 192 countries.

In the past few years, SCPNT has expanded to include Professor Barbara Block of Stanford’s Biology Department and Hopkins Marine Institute. Professor Block uses positioning technology to track marine animals in the world’s oceans. SCPNT provides a unique opportunity to host and share inter-disciplinary research. View the Labs Section of this website for more information about Professor Block's research.
Again, SCPNT has been organized so that professors and their graduate students can perform research in promising, non-sponsored areas of PNT. Much of this research is at the PhD-level. Typically, SCPNT funds about five or six PhD level graduate students each year. Examples of SCPNT research and education are provided below. Also, see further details in the Research Section of this website.

Aviation Benefits from Satellite Navigation

Aviation Benefits from Satellite Navigation graphic

View PDF paper: Aviation Benefits from Satellite Navigation by Per Enge, Nick Enge and Todd Walter (Stanford University GPS Lab) and Leo Eldredge (Tetra Tech AMT, Arlington, Virginia). Reprinted from New Space, VOL. XX,  NO. XX, © 2014 MARY ANN LIEBERT, INC. 

GPS MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)

GPs MOOC Graphic

In late 2014 Stanford hosted a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) entitled “GPS: An Introduction to Satellite Navigation, with an interactive Worldwide Laboratory using Smartphones”.  A MOOC is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. Prof. Per Enge and Dr. Frank van Diggelen taught the GPS MOOC.

More Information about the GPS MOOC...

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