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[aprssig] Where to from here for APRS ?

scott at opentrac.org scott at opentrac.org
Mon Oct 30 03:56:14 UTC 2006

There will always be applications for low-bandwidth communications.  In
critical, real-world applications the sort of information you usually need
most can often be distilled down to a few words, or a few bytes.  Consider
some historical examples...


And some of these high-bandwidth applications don't necessarily NEED to be
high-bandwidth - they're that way because some people don't know how to
design for efficiency, or because it wasn't worth the trouble.  I saw a
great example of this recently at work, where a certain 3-letter government
agency came up with an XML-based sensor data interchange format that
resulted in file sizes of 20 megs or more for what came out to around 15 or
20 KB of comma-separated values.

As I've said before, I fully expect to see APRS eventually decline among
casual users once cell phone based tracking systems become ubiquitous.
Hopefully we can keep a critical mass to maintain the infrastructure for the
rest of us, though - I'd hate to see the APRS network die like packet
messaging networks did after everyone got Internet access.  Like the rest of
amateur radio, it'll have value for disaster response and communications in
undeveloped areas for a long time still.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: aprssig-bounces at lists.tapr.org 
> [mailto:aprssig-bounces at lists.tapr.org] On Behalf Of A.J. 
> Farmer (AJ3U)
> Sent: Sunday, October 29, 2006 7:25 PM
> To: TAPR APRS Mailing List
> Subject: Re: [aprssig] Where to from here for APRS ?
> On 10/29/06, Jim Duncan <jdbandman at earthlink.net> wrote:
> > APRS will die a slow death within 10 year if we don't do 
> something about
> > getting away from 1200 baud. Many areas are close to packet 
> saturation.
> Oh boy.  Here we go again.  Didn't we beat this to death a 
> week or so ago? :-)
> > Finally, and I've been saying this since 1999, it is well beyond the
> It's nearing the end of 2006 and it hasn't died yet... :-)
> > IMHO, APRS usage has peaked and I suspect that many other 
> like me, lost
> > interest in APRS after so many years of "watching the grass 
> grow." Now,
> So many people want APRS to be something it's not and they seem
> embarrassed to tell people that we pass data on a "slow" 1200 baud
> network.  The fact is 1200 baud equipment is cheap, it is reliable,
> and upgrading to higher bandwidth just doesn't make sense for many
> reasons.  I agree, higher bandwidth applications are out there, but
> they don't need to be shoe-horned onto the APRS network.  These
> applications can *co-exist* with APRS and complement it - they don't
> have to be *part of* APRS.
> > I rarely use APRS now even mobile. I can use my existing 
> truck mounted
> > GPS tied into other software which retrieves real-time 
> weather radar and
> > puts me right onto the map. High speed wireless internet is 
> still a bit
> Exactly my point.  Real-time weather, high speed Internet, other high
> bandwidth applications - whatever you heart desires is out there...
> It doesn't mean you have to somehow figure out how to make it all work
> together on 144.39.  :-)  The things you mentioned do not have
> anything to do with APRS, so why do you want APRS to do them?  You
> have many tools in your toolbox - use the appropriate one for the task
> at hand.
>  --
> A.J. Farmer, AJ3U
> http://www.aj3u.com
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