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Discussion Starter #1
I have been wondering if the marine electronics companies build their own GPS receivers. I am mainly interested in if they build their own chip set and write their own signal acquisition/tracking software and position/velocity software. I would guess that they write their own display software to show maps, charts, speed, etc.

Garmin has been in the business for a long time. I know they write their own acquisition/tracking and position/velocity software. It seems like there is an expertise in the signal acquisition/tracking and position/velocity software that would be difficult to develop and maintain. Do companies like Raymarine, B&G, and Furuno maintain this expertise "in-house" or do they buy GPS receivers and integrate them into their products?

If they buy their GPS receivers, I wonder who they procure them from?
 

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I don't know the answer, but the entire GPS receiver is available on a single integrated circuit, so it seems very probable that Garmin, etc are using one of these chips, and supplementing it with some software/firmware that provides the mapping and handles the user interface. I would not expect Garmin or Raymarine to be designing integrated circuits.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Garmin writes their own receiver software (acquisition/tracking/position/velocity). They've been in the GPS business a long time. Not sure if they design their own chip set though. I'm guessing that the others are buying the receivers with acquisition/tracking/position/velocity already implemented. But I am interested to know who they might be buying their receiver from...if they are buying a complete receiver.
 

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Garmin writes their own receiver software (acquisition/tracking/position/velocity). They've been in the GPS business a long time. Not sure if they design their own chip set though. I'm guessing that the others are buying the receivers with acquisition/tracking/position/velocity already implemented. But I am interested to know who they might be buying their receiver from...if they are buying a complete receiver.
I would be very surprised if Garmin is still doing this. There are tons of quality chips available to do this very well.

I would almost bet my firstborn they are using "off-the-shelf" chips (with that already implemented in firmware) in their lower end products.

Just and FYI... Even the big boys buy a ton of chips through Digikey and Mouser. For specialized stuff, they may go direct to the manufacturer.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Boy, the responses weren't what I thought about Garmin. My information is more that 15 years old about them writing their own receiver software. They used to have some guru GPS guy working for them and were hiring GPS signal acquisition and tracking types in addition to PVT (position, velocity, time) types. I went off on a web search. You guys are right, they are buying chipsets with the firmware that has acq/track/PVT already in place. That is really interesting to me. Then it gets interesting as Sirf was the big supplier and then they got sued. Then other GPS chipset suppliers started selling more product.

I should have done the web search before asking the question...thanks for the help.
 

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My 4 year EE Degree Senior project involved GPS... specifically the NAVSTAR GPS, which is the US global positioning system. Lots of info here.
Navstar: GPS Satellite Network

What strikes me is how they glossed over the "Selective-Availability" being turned off by Pres. Clinton... The real reason why was simple... it didn't take rocket surgeons to figure out how to increase positioning precision using differential GPS... in fact myself and 3 other guys with 4 year EE degrees figured out how to get cm precision and provide it to the public free of charge (look up differential GPS and you'll get half the answer to how we did it)... So SA was tossed out the window, you know, because the government was being kind and all.

40 meter accuracy still stinks, but I realize its due to atmospheric distortion... I know the signals from this were originally spread spectrum to reduce jamming, however, it looks like they are still attempting to resist jamming, wonder how they are doing it now, probably some kind of frequency hopping.

No question that very few people are bothering to make their own IC for this, the bucks for this are in the software that uses the data. Sadly I think most of that is probably thin margins now too. I recall a couple years ago buying a bluetooth gps unit for $10... worked great (tell me someone didn't still make money even at $10).

What I find interesting is the breakout now of new products using both GLONASS (Russian) and NAVSTAR (USA) GPS.. that's interesting because I'd think that positioning should get MORE accurate with more points...

We use "dog trackers" that use a Garmin GPS handheld with a dual use type of GPS (GLONASS and NAVSTAR), and these units are extremely precise, probably within 20 feet or so. When you lose a dog during a field trial, sometimes they get themselves locked up tight in some pretty heavy cover, and you can run over them before you see them.

Garmin bought the biggest name in dog training, TriTronics.. now you get tracking and training in 1 collar.... nope I have no interest in any of these products other than to say we've come a long way since I had the government calling me in 1993 about our GPS signal improvements in our Senior project. https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/on-...ning/cOnTheTrail-cDogTrackingTraining-p1.html
 

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You can buy a GPS chip set at Fry's. The technology is dirt cheap these days. My guess is that translating the GPS data to NMEA is more expensive to do than getting the GPS data itself.
 
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