I love blogging: it is a quick and interactive way of expressing my views on GNSS, getting feedback and moving things forward. The blackdotgnss.com project started nearly four years ago and it grew considerably, from one follower (thanks Richard!) to over 100 mailing-list subscribers and over 300 followers on Twitter. Unfortunately, all good things come to an end.
Unknowingly, I shot myself in the foot when I launched the PPP-AR course last year. I thought that, as more people learn about the intricacies of PPP-AR, more users would eventually process GNSS data using this methodology and create a demand for integer-clock products. Since my organization is providing these products, it seemed like a great idea to promote this methodology. Writing course material is a time-consuming task that I accomplished entirely on my own time, and I thought that charging a fee for the course was reasonable. However, the launch of the course triggered a requirement to report all extracurricular activities to the “ethics” committee.
The government being the government, it took over a year to hear back from this committee, but I finally did a couple of weeks ago. According to the report, all references on blackdotgnss.com that could be linked to my work activities must be removed from the website. Since all blog posts discuss GNSS matters, and mostly precise point positioning, cherry-picking through blog posts to find suitable ones does not seem worthwhile. I know from the many comments I have received over the past three and a half years that people appreciate the blog posts, and I thank you all for reading these posts month after month. The PPP-AR course is also perceived as a conflict of interest and will no longer be offered.
My extracurricular activities also backfired in a strange way. The report asked not to use work hours and equipment to perform peer reviews for scientific journals… but peer review works because researchers submit and review papers and, therefore, create an equilibrium between the two activities! It looks like my organization only encourages publishing papers: all take no give! So, editors: no offense if I don’t review as many papers.
I will use my final blogging words to advertise a new NRCan offering: the source code for the GPSPACE PPP software is now available online. GPSPACE is the software that supported the NRCan online PPP service for a period of 15 years, from 2003 to August 2018. Software developers can find a lot of useful and validated code in there. I think it is very generous of NRCan to openly share this code, and I applaud this initiative.