Software

Telephone-Directory Program

eDirectory is a computer program that makes it possible to view entries in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) telephone directory by use of PalmPilot ™ (or equivalent) personal digital assistants. When one uses eDirectory, a single click causes the downloading of a current copy of the directory (which is updated nightly) from a server. The downloaded directory data can be sorted and searched. The program can append a “JPL” category and save directory information in a file that can be imported into the Palm Desktop™ software.

Posted in: Software, Briefs

Read More >>

Simulating a Direction-Finder Search for an ELT

A computer program simulates the operation of direction-finding equipment engaged in a search for an emergency locator transmitter (ELT) aboard an aircraft that has crashed. The simulated equipment is patterned after the equipment used by the Civil Air Patrol to search for missing aircraft. The program is designed to be used for training in radio direction-finding and/or searching for missing aircraft without incurring the expense and risk of using real aircraft and ground search resources. The program places a hidden ELT on a map and enables the user to search for the location of the ELT by moving a small aircraft image around the map while observing signal-strength and direction readings on a simulated direction-finding locator instrument. As the simulated aircraft is turned and moved on the map, the program updates the readings on the directionfinding instrument to reflect the current position and heading of the aircraft relative to the location of the ELT. The software is distributed in a zip file that contains an installation program. The software runs on the Microsoft Windows 9x, NT, and XP operating systems.

Posted in: Software, Briefs

Read More >>

Traffic-Light-Preemption Vehicle-Transponder Software Module

A prototype wireless data-communication and control system automatically modifies the switching of traffic lights to give priority to emergency vehicles. The system, which was reported in several NASA Tech Briefs articles at earlier stages of development, includes a transponder on each emergency vehicle, a monitoring and control unit (an intersection controller) at each intersection equipped with traffic lights, and a central monitoring subsystem. An essential component of the system is a software module executed by a microcontroller in each transponder. This module integrates and broadcasts data on the position, velocity, acceleration, and emergency status of the vehicle. The position, velocity, and acceleration data are derived partly from the Global Positioning System, partly from deductive reckoning, and partly from a diagnostic computer aboard the vehicle. The software module also monitors similar broadcasts from other vehicles and from intersection controllers, informs the driver of which intersections it controls, and generates visible and audible alerts to inform the driver of any other emergency vehicles that are close enough to create a potential hazard. The execution of the software module can be monitored remotely and the module can be upgraded remotely and, hence, automatically.

Posted in: Software, Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

Intersection-Controller Software Module

An important part of the emergencyvehicle traffic-light-preemption system summarized in the preceding article is a software module executed by a microcontroller in each intersection controller. This module monitors the broadcasts from all nearby participating emergency vehicles and intersections. It gathers the broadcast data pertaining to the positions and velocities of the vehicles and the timing of traffic and pedestrian lights and processes the data into predictions of the future positions of the vehicles. Analyzing the predictions by a combination of proximity tests, map-matching techniques, and statistical calculations designed to minimize the adverse effects of uncertainties in vehicle positions and headings, the module decides whether to preempt and issues the appropriate commands to the traffic lights, pedestrian lights, and electronic warning signs at the intersection. The module also broadcasts its state to all nearby vehicles and intersections. The module is designed to mitigate the effects of missing data and of unpredictable delays in the system. It has been intensively tested and refined so that it fails to warn in very few cases and issues very few false warnings.

Posted in: Software, Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

Central-Monitor Software Module

One of the software modules of the emergency-vehicle traffic-light-preemption system of the two preceding articles performs numerous functions for the central monitoring subsystem. This module monitors the states of all units (vehicle transponders and intersection controllers): It provides real-time access to the phases of traffic and pedestrian lights, and maps the positions and states of all emergency vehicles. Most of this module is used for installation and configuration of units as they are added to the system. The module logs all activity in the system, thereby providing information that can be analyzed to minimize response times and optimize response strategies. The module can be used from any location within communication range of the system; with proper configuration, it can also be used via the Internet. It can be integrated into call-response centers, where it can be used for alerting emergency vehicles and managing their responses to specific incidents. A variety of utility subprograms provide access to any or all units for purposes of monitoring, testing, and modification. Included are “sniffer” utility subprograms that monitor incoming and outgoing data for accuracy and timeliness, and that quickly and autonomously shut off malfunctioning vehicle or intersection units.

Posted in: Software, Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

Estimating Effects of Multipath Propagation on GPS Signals

Multipath Simulator Taking into Account Reflection and Diffraction (MUSTARD) is a computer program that simulates effects of multipath propagation on received Global Positioning System (GPS) signals. MUSTARD is a very efficient means of estimating multipath-induced position and phase errors as functions of time, given the positions and orientations of GPS satellites, the GPS receiver, and any structures near the receiver as functions of time. MUSTARD traces each signal from a GPS satellite to the receiver, accounting for all possible paths the signal can take, including all paths that include reflection and/or diffraction from surfaces of structures near the receiver and on the satellite. Reflection and diffraction are modeled by use of the geometrical theory of diffraction. The multipath signals are added to the direct signal after accounting for the gain of the receiving antenna. Then, in a simulation of a delay-lock tracking loop in the receiver, the multipath-induced range and phase errors as measured by the receiver are estimated. All of these computations are performed for both right circular polarization and left circular polarization of both the L1 (1.57542-GHz) and L2 (1.2276-GHz) GPS signals.

Posted in: Software, Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

Parallel Adaptive Mesh Refinement Library

Parallel Adaptive Mesh Refinement Library (PARAMESH) is a package of Fortran 90 subroutines designed to provide a computer programmer with an easy route to extension of (1) a previously written serial code that uses a logically Cartesian structured mesh into (2) a parallel code with adaptive mesh refinement (AMR). Alternatively, in its simplest use, and with minimal effort, PARAMESH can operate as a domaindecomposition tool for users who want to parallelize their serial codes but who do not wish to utilize adaptivity. The package builds a hierarchy of sub-grids to cover the computational domain of a given application program, with spatial resolution varying to satisfy the demands of the application. The sub-grid blocks form the nodes of a tree data structure (a quad-tree in two or an oct-tree in three dimensions). Each grid block has a logically Cartesian mesh. The package supports one-, two- and three-dimensional models.

Posted in: Software, Briefs

Read More >>