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Descriptions, timelines, photographs and videos related to the history of geodesy-based research, development and education that involved UNAVCO.

History of UNAVCO

UNAVCO was created in 1984 in response to the challenge of applying GPS to the geosciences. At that time it was called the University NAVSTAR Consortium (UNAVCO). At its inception, UNAVCO was housed within the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado, Boulder. In 1992, UNAVCO moved under the umbrella of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). In 2001, UNAVCO, Inc. incorporated as an independent, non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation. For one and a half years, between April 2001 and September 2003, UCAR/UNAVCO and UNAVCO, Inc. both existed. In October 2003, funding for UCAR/UNAVCO ended and the staff and equipment of UCAR/UNAVCO moved to UNAVCO, Inc. The objective of this change was to provide the UNAVCO community with control over UNAVCO resources and activities with no additional cost to the community. UNAVCO, Inc. adopted the former acronym as its official name when it incorporated. See a timeline of key events through UNAVCO's history on our "ABOUT" page.

Learn more about UNAVCO's history through this short video, UNAVCO: 30 Years of Science and Innovation

UNAVCO's First GPS Receiver Systems

Three Texas Instruments' TI 4100 systems were purchased through UNAVCO’s first National Science Foundation award, The University GPS Consortium, EAR-8408005, 1 September 1984. The TI 4100s were delivered to UNAVCO in May of 1986 and the instruments were immediately put to use for campaigns in the United States, the Caribbean, Iceland and elsewhere. UNAVCO was among the first to use commercial receivers for early benchmarking, surveying, and precise positioning for research.

UNAVCO donated one of the first commercial GPS receivers for research, a Texas Instruments TI 4100 Navstar Navigator, an antenna, a recorder and associated documents (manuals and field log book) to the National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institution in 2014. The receiver and recorder are part of the National Air and Space Museum’s Time and Navigation Exhibition in Washington DC.

Learn more about UNAVCO community researchers' use of one of the first commercial GPS receivers, the TI 4100 NAVSTAR Navigator, from 1985 to 1994 through this short video, Mapping the Dynamic Earth: How the TI-4100 Revolutionized Geodesy

Interviews with Community Members About UNAVCO Through the Years

See more about UNAVCO's history through interviews with community members at unavcovideos, UNAVCO History Playlist

Send questions or comments about this page to scienceunavco.org.


Last modified: 2019-12-24  02:24:27  America/Denver