Smart receivers are high-end GPS receivers with enough processing capacity to run an embedded GPS Dancer process. They are connected directly to the internet, and therefore to the Dancer peer-to-peer network.

Smart receivers can of course still write RINEX files and other low level outputs, but why should they. A smart receiver can immediately provide precise ITRF coordinates, receiver clocks aligned to a UTC reference of choice, troposphere delays, and even precise satellite orbits, satellite clocks and Earth rotation parameters. No post-processing will be needed anymore.

Smart receivers do not yet exist, and in fact the GPS Dancer peer-to-peer process itself must first become fully mature as a desk-top application or cloud computing application.  However, smart manufacturers are encouraged to already get involved with the GPS Dancer project today, for instance by running one or more Dancer processes for the on-line test campaign. This will provide insight in the technical requirements for making proper smart receivers, and allows for early feedback to the Dancer project about any specific requirements that may arise. 

Developing smart receivers should not require a major effort. A smart GPS receiver will look very much like any satellite TV receiver today. Internally, these are just PC's, often running standard operating systems like Linux. The HF electronics for the signal reception are relatively insignificant compared to the processing part.

Today's software receivers for GPS already match that concept very closely, and the borderline between "software receivers" and other receivers seems to gradually disappear. The Dancer project keeps a close eye on the GNSS-SDR project (...perhaps one day we may get married!). More and more geodetic GPS receivers have direct internet connections, run standard operating systems (hence, could support JAVA) and have increasing amounts of processing memory. Adding mass storage to hold the entire history of the receiver should be a trivial effort: a 32 GB USB stick costs around 20 dollars nowadays, and would easily hold the full history of a single smart receiver.

The GPS Dancer project is a voluntary project from the IAG, and has no association with any receiver manufacturer in particular. It also has no commercial interests. We just want to make an accurate International Terrestrial Reference Frame that can be accessed anywhere on the planet - and above - with any high-end GPS receiver. It is then essential that all receivers follow the same modelling standards and processing conventions, which ultimately means that all smart receivers should run the same Dancer software (... which is updated automatically over the internet).

To make Dancer as portable as possible, it has been written in clean JAVA, using a relatively old JDK version 1.6.11. Any Java run-time engine in the world today should be able to run it. Without the graphical user interface, the dancer binary (the dancer.jar file) only occupies a few hundred kilobytes, and could happily run within 512 MB of RAM memory on an average CPU. Any smart phone today could handle this workload - let's make the GPS receivers smart as well.

Project details

Ultimate Browsers SupportThe GPS Dancer project started in 2007 as a voluntary project of a working group of the International Association of Geodesy.

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Square dance algorithm

Great Docs and SupportThe GPS Dancer system was named after its "square dance" exchange algorithm. Of course, it also wants to to make the GPS reference frame denser.

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Here, there be pirates

The Dancer on-line network became immune against internet connection problems by leaving the US marines, and becoming a pirate.

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