July 5, 2016
The U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and the Department of Transportation (DoT) released a Federal Register notice today (July 5, 2016) announcing a reduction of the Nationwide Differential Global Positioning System (NDGPS).
The planned reduction calls for the shutdown and decommissioning of 37 DGPS sites, leaving 46 operational sites available to users in coastal areas. Termination of the NDGPS broadcasts is scheduled to occur on August 5, 2016.
Congress passed legislation in 1997 authorizing DoT to establish, operate and manage the NDGPS system.
The move to reduce the NDGPS network stemmed from the stagnation of transportation-related use of NDGPS, the Federal Register notice indicated, attributing this to several factors, including the “lack of a regulatory requirement for vessels to carry DGPS equipment within U.S. territorial waters, technological advances in GPS that have increased its accuracy, increased reliability of other GPS augmentation systems that do not require a second receiver, limited availability of consumer-grade DGPS radio beacon receivers, and the discontinuance of GPS Selective Availability.”
On August 18, 2015, USCG, DOT, and USACE published a notice in the Federal Register seeking public comments on the proposed shutdown and decommissioning of 62 NDGPS sites on January 15, 2016. However, Due to the number and nature of comments received, the USCG, DoT, and USACE decided to postpone the proposed closing of the sites until the comments were thoroughly reviewed. As a result of its analysis of these comments, the agencies decided to shut down only 37 of the the sites, leaving a total of 46 USCG and USACE stations that will continue to provide single-site coverage for the maritime areas.
Natural resources agencies, surveyors, and high-precision maritime users (for example, dredging companies and marine surveyors or hydrographers) were among the main commenters arguing for maintenance of particular NDGPS sites.
The full notice can be found via this link: <https://federalregister.gov/a/2016-15886>.
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