GPS (Global Positioning System), conceived in the 1970s (for military uses), had been developed by the US DOD by the early 1980s, with 7 Phase I satellites in orbit, using US ingenuity and initiative. In 1983 Dr. James Counselman of MIT conceived of using the wave lengths only, but not the information of the broadcast signals of the GPS satellites (for civilian uses) similarly as astronomers had used large parabolic antennas and the long radio wave lengths of pulsar stars for VLBL to determine very accurate positions and distances. The beta GPS test receivers of this civilian technology worked well, and by April 1984 I was able to use GPS receivers on a land surveying project to establish 44 highly accurate control points across a 450 miles stretch of North and South Dakota in the then-unbelievable time of 22 days. I’ve been using these GPS survey procedures whenever possible every since.
GPS technology is an American-conceived and -developed technology that has been applied and adapted beyond its originally intended military uses to greatly enable land surveying capabilities. (Numerous other civilian applications using the position data broadcast by GPS satellites have since developed, as you know.) Thus, GPS survey technology is also an American-lead industry. It is used worldwide YET WE NOW FACE THE PROSPECT OF THE U.S. BECOMING THE FIRST COUNTRY TO TAKE THE BACKWARD STEP of giving up the latest technology and being forced to return to total dependence on more limiting survey technologies, as explained below. This will result in the US being well behind all other countries in survey capabilities for no good reason, nor gain. GPS survey technology is a great gain that surveyors apply in providing their professional services to the public in all aspects of surveying, public and private. The US will behind all the European countries, Japan, Russia, China, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Columbia and all the rest of the South American countries, South Africa, Liberia, the Sudan, Egypt, Libya and all the other African countries, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippine Islands, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, and on and on. ALL WILL HAVE THE USE OF AND BE WELL SERVED BY U.S. GPS SURVEY TECHNOLOGY – EXCEPT THE ENTIRE U.S. POPULATION ACROSS THE ENTIRE U.S. – NO LONGER ABLE TO BENEFIT FROM THE U.S. PROFESSIONAL SURVEY COMMUNITY PROVIDING U.S.-DEVELOPED GPS SURVEY TECHNOLOGY. Why would we, the US, even contemplate moving toward such a second-rate status for our survey capabilities? Survey costs to provide design surveys for engineering design of our public infrastructure will necessarily go up as a result to the increased time (i.e. – costs) of depending solely on more limiting, and more time consuming, survey technologies.