|Thank you for the opportunity to share our history with you. While there are hundreds of cookie-cutter style GPS websites available on the Internet, we appreciate the chance to show why we are different and why GPS City is a natural extension of many years of GPS experience.|
The genesis of GPS City goes way back to the mid-1980's when the GPS system was still in its early developmental phase. Those of us who worked in the industry during these early years could forsee the future uses of this technology to all sectors of the marketplace. We could see that the availability of accurate positioning and navigation information on an instantaneous, worldwide, 24 hour-a-day, all-weather basis would have a tremendous impact on any application involving the measurement of time or space. Charlie Trimble, founder of Trimble Navigation in Sunnyvale, California, is recognized as a leading pioneer in the GPS industry. In recognizing the impact of this technology on all major apsects of our lives, he aptly dubbed the evolving GPS technology as 'The Next Utility'.
GPS Industry Setback, 1986
It was in these early years that small, fledgling groups of engineers and scientists worked hard to design and develop the technologies that would eventually be the basis of the GPS products available today. And we still remember the Challenger shuttle disaster which set back the commercialization of the GPS industry by a good number of years. Along with the heroic lives lost on that tragic flight was a GPS satellite meant to be launched into the small, test constellation of the GPS system in existence at that time. While the shuttle program was halted for the investigations, engineers scrambled to develop a more powerful staging rocket to launch the heavy GPS satellites into space without the use of the shuttle. The entire GPS industry watched and waited as our plans for the commercialization of the GPS technology were forced to slow down. It would take a couple years before the GPS satellites were back to launch status, and, once back in business, the US DoD took up the mantle of continuing to build the GPS satellite constellation.
The Texas Instruments TI-4100, 1987
Who of us from these early days in the GPS industry can forget the first GPS receiver? A marvel of engineering for its time, the Texas Instruments TI-4100 led the way by being the first commercially available GPS receiver. While we would laugh at it by today's standards, the bulky, $140,000 instrument was snapped up by surveyors and explorers alike, and used for remote surveys all around the world. The unit was huge, about the size of a small box, weighed probably 80 pounds, needed two 12V car batteries to power it, and tracked a whopping 5 GPS satellites using a multiplexing technology (remember at this time that there were only about 4 or 5 operational GPS satellites available).
GPS City, Established 1994
Which brings us to the early 1990's, well, 1994 to be exact. As with most things, GPS City started as an idea. Recognizing that the uses of GPS were really limited only by one's imagination, we formed our company in November 1994 in Calgary, Alberta, and called it 'Imagine GPS'. We started small, acting as dealers for a few GPS/GIS products that had integrated GPS into their product lines. We were the exclusive dealer for IIMorrow's line of GIS/GPS products in Western Canada, and also sold differential GPS services from the likes of AccQPoint and DCI (Differential Corrections Inc.). We also were local reps for mapping and GIS CAD-based software. Our Canadian operation is based in what we affectionately call the 'GPS Capital of Canada' - Calgary, Alberta. We say this because, over the 26 years we have spent in this business, Calgary has been (and continues to be) home to a number of world-class GPS companies (and one less than world class GPS company that will remain nameless) - more than any other city in Canada. It also offers world-class academic research into GPS technologies at the University of Calgary, Geomatics Department.
Hello Internet, 1996
Business was slow (the consumer side of GPS had yet to take off!), and necessity being the mother of invention, it was necessary for us to invent some other form of business to broaden our scope (read so we could survive!). In early 1996, we began our lengthy relationship with Garmin as a dealer to sell their GPS products and became the first ever online GPS dealer for Garmin in Canada (and the USA)! Shortly thereafter we also signed up as dealers for Magellan GPS products. Co-incidentally within this time frame we saw the evolution of the Internet from the scientific community to the business marketplace. The 'innovator' in us quickly married the Internet with our business operations, and we became one of the first, if not THE first, on-line consumer GPS dealers. Our original domain name, imaginegps.com, was registered in March, 1996, and gpscity.com followed some 6 months later. Here are links showing the imaginegps.com website in January, 1997 and the gpscity.com website in January, 1998
GPS City, USA Office Established 2000
In 1998 we directed our marketing efforts towards the US marketplace. Sales continued to grow, and in 2000 we set up our US operation in Henderson, Nevada. This permitted us the opportunity to better serve the fast-growing USA segment of our business.
Remembering Our Past Relationships
Looking back, it's hard to realize that we've spent some 20+ years directly in the GPS business. Over this time frame we've had the opportunity to work with a number of outstanding individuals and companies, some of whom we would like to briefly mention here purely out of respect. A.J. Van Dierendonck of Stanford Telecommunications worked with us in our early years at Norstar Instruments as we attempted to integrate an STEL 5 channel GPS unit into a survey quality GPS unit. Richard Langley of the University of New Brunswick in Frederiction, Canada. Alison Brown of Navsys.com in Colorado Springs, USA. Pat Fenton of NovAtel, who amazed us all as he led our NovAtel engineering team to develop the 'Narrow Correlator' - a technology that is having tremendous impact on GPS receiver accuracies. Dr. Gerard Lachapelle, professor in the Geomatics Department at the University of Calgary, a friend and academic gentleman whose persistent research into GPS algorithms and post-processing software has benefitted the entire GPS industry. And also the entire engineering team from Nortech Surveys/Norstar Instruments that formed the nucleus of the NovAtel GPS company today.
Onward And Forward
So there you have it - a brief overview of the history behind the company that is GPS City. But history never ends, in fact, every day ends up being another small piece of someone's history. Our goal is that our history continues each day in a positive manner, with happy, satisfied GPS City customers backed by the staff and team at GPS City.
Thank you, and we look forward to helping and serving you with your consumer GPS needs now and in the future!