Farewell BlackDotGNSS

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.



Write a comment

Comments: 12
  • #1

    Manoj Deo (Tuesday, 04 December 2018 20:39)

    Hi Simon,
    Thanks for maintaining this blog over the years. I found it very informative and relevant my precise positioning research and interests.

    Good luck for the Future.

  • #2

    Chris d (Tuesday, 04 December 2018 20:42)

    Ah, what a shame. I am also a civil servant and there are many things we can not do due to provincial regulations. And it harms the public that you can't as your work is providing a valuable service. Thanks so much.

  • #3

    Amir Allahvirdizadeh (Tuesday, 04 December 2018 22:38)

    Thank you so much fir your great website.
    Wish you the best.

  • #4

    Feng Zhou (Tuesday, 04 December 2018 23:40)

    Hi Simon,
    Thanks a million for sharing your knowledge on this blog over the years. I have learnt a lot from it. I also carefully read each paper of yours. I am your fan. Good luck for the future. Look forward to your new reasearch work. Thanks a lot for sharing the PPP codes.

  • #5

    Edward (Wednesday, 05 December 2018 00:17)

    Thanks a lot.

  • #6

    Miquel Garcia (Wednesday, 05 December 2018 01:26)

    Hi Simon!
    It is a real pity to know these news! I have to thank you for sharing all your valuable knowledge you posted on the blog posts!
    Good luck in your future endeavors!

  • #7

    Munson, Roy E. (Wednesday, 05 December 2018 01:39)

    R.I.P. BlackDotGNSS.
    The King is dead, long live the King!

  • #8

    Hugo Sobreira (Wednesday, 05 December 2018 01:57)

    Dear Simon,

    Indeed a pity that we will miss your blog posts, I'm a recent subscriber and the few that I had a chance to read were quite informative. Thank you for your time and all the best!
    Kind Regards,

  • #9

    Joeri Spitaels (Wednesday, 05 December 2018 04:39)

    Thank you for all your teachings, and best of luck with your further endeavors.

  • #10

    Waterfox (Wednesday, 05 December 2018 09:24)

    Wow that's tough. I might understand the extracurricular activities with offering the PPP course, however, I cannot fully grasp the so-called conflict-of-interest while writing a blog... Writing twitter messages is then also a conflict-of-interest if you write about your work? ...
    Anyway, thanks a lot for sharing your posts in the past, but also for the statement here.
    Best of luck for the future.

  • #11

    Octavian (Thursday, 06 December 2018 02:28)

    Thank you for all you passion, energy and kindness put in sharing your knowledge over these years. We hope things are fine otherwise with your person. A door closes, a new one opens. Only time will tell which one. Chapeaux bas!

  • #12

    Elizabeth Petrie (Friday, 01 February 2019 05:43)

    That's a pity. Thanks for writing, and best of luck for the future.