GPS Dancer is a peer-to-peer process on the internet for precise geodetic analysis of GPS data.

The GPS Dancer system is being developed as a voluntary project of the International Association of Geodesy. It will be declared operational as soon as Dancer peers are on-line for all formal ITRF reference frame stations in the world. At the moment, the target date for reaching this milestone is the IGS Workshop 2014, which will be precisely ten years after the Berne session on "Bigger, Better, Faster POD" that triggered the project.

A single Dancer peer is a computer program for analysing observation data from a geodetic GPS receiver. All by itself, this Dancer peer would never be able to compute global products such as satellite orbits, satellite clocks or Earth rotation parameters. However - if the Dancer peer connects to a couple of other peers on the internet, it is no longer alone. A global network of GPS Dancer peers forms a world-wide grid computer with all functionalities of a global analysis centre, but with a much larger processing capacity. 


The capabilities of peer-to-peer networks far exceed those of individual peers


The main advantages of the Dancer peer-to-peer approach over centralized GPS analysis are:

  • The processing capacity that GPS Dancer can dedicate to a single receiver is much larger than that of a conventional analysis centre. An analysis centre processes data from a few hundred receivers on a single computer, while each Dancer peer could in principle have an entire computer to itself. As a result, GPS Dancer solutions can run at much higher data rates and product rates than conventional analysis centre solutions.
  • The processing capacity of Dancer is scaleable in the number of receiver stations. As explained elsewhere on this website, the processing workload at a single peer is completely independent of the network size, while the exchanged data volume only grows as a weak logarithmic function of the network size. On today's internet there is no limit to the number of GPS stations that could join the Dancer solution process. The only limit is the actual number of permanent GPS receivers in the world.
  • GPS Dancer is a pure peer-to-peer system. The global Dancer network consists of no further elements than the collection of identical peer processes on-line. There is no central server, there are no data centres, no analysis centres, no combination centres, no product centres and no central bureau. The network is the system.
  • System integrity and availability remain entirely under the control of individual network operators, without depending on third party inputs. Any global network of ~50 or more well-distributed stations would suffice to find precise global products, with or without talking to other Dancer stations. However, if there are other Dancer stations in the world, they will automatically all work together to maintain global reference frame consistency.

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.


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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