Technical Article

BeiDou - China completes building its own GPS, the third country to have so!

We are familiar with the Global Position System (GPS) which we use in cars for free. Although we use it in our daily lives, we are not aware of the fact that it is owned and operated by the US Air Force. It was opened to public and civilian use only on September 16, 1983 despite the US military not interested in doing the same. It believed that it would harm US prospectus in combat. This has created a couple of controversies especially in 1996, during the Taiwan crisis when China was denied access to GPS by the US. This was the point when Chinese military realized that it could no longer rely on it and required an alternative.

Starting from 2000, plans for BeiDou started in Beijing; the first satellite also was sent to space. Then for the trial three satellites were used. BeiDou means “Northern Dipper”, which refers to the constellation of Ursa Major Constellation and the North Star which literally means “Compass”. On June 23rd the last satellite for the PNS was launched and on August 1st President Xi Jinping commissioned it in the Great hall of People, in Beijing. The IEEE spectrum article dated 12th August 2020 describes in detail features about BeiDou.

Fig.1 A Model of BeiDou kept in Hunan, China Source- Nikkei and Reuters


BeiDou just like GPS is meant for both commercial and military use. It was made part of the Belt and Road Initiative from 2018, where countries participating in the same can use it. Pakistani military was given access to it this week, making it the second military to use it after People’s Liberation Army. BeiDou is a two communication system unlike the rest.

This initiative was collaborated by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation, AutoNavi Holdings Ltd., and China North Industries Group Corp at a whopping 31.5 Billion USD annually ever since the first launch. It offers both Satellite-Based Augmentation System) and SAR (Search and Rescue) services. Over 70% of smartphones sold in China, 6.2 million taxis, buses, cars, boats use this system at present. Vessels can now send emergency signal even without cellular services in seas. BeiDou has been prominently in use for saving lives in Chinese floods.

Thailand, Pakistan, Laos, and Brunei are already using many of its services and it will be operational to many countries in Asia and Africa. It is expected that many of the developing countries will soon switch to BeiDou.


The BeiDou navigation system has 35 satellites compared to 32 of the GPS. Five of these are in the Geostationary Earth orbit, ie 35,000 km and 27 in the Medium Earth Orbit ie. 21,000 km. The system uses hydrogen atomic clock with the stability of E-15 and rubidium clock with E-14 stability. Satellites as usual are powered by solar power with battery back-up storage. For communication between the receivers and transmitters- Code Division Multiple Access/ CDMA is used. A short messaging service is also available which can send and receive 120 characters at a time. The civil signal sent is common to all Navigation systems alike, that means the signals used by all the navigation signals do not interfere with each other and will not affect the service.


BeiDou system offers high performance rivaling GPS and GLONASS. The system offers horizontal/vertical positioning accuracy of 10 m with velocity and time accuracies of 0.2 m/s and 20 ns, respectively. It is open for customers across the globe In the Asia-Pacific region, the positioning accuracies are 5 m horizontal and 5 m vertical for commercial uses. It has accuracy of 10 cm in the Asia Pacific Region which is far more advanced than GPS which has accuracy of only 30 cm.

Future scope

There is no doubt that BeiDou itself will be a big technological boost to technology in Asia and for the world. In 2013, an IEEE paper was presented in the Gold Coast Conference on how BeiDou aims to contribute to the exploration and development of Train Collision Early Warning System (TCEWS). Expansion of technology in both on earth and space is now enabled. China aims to use this as a core benchmark for future space explorations and expansion of its geo-economic ambitions. Automobile companies using new technologies like electric vehicles, autonomous driving cars etc will find it pretty useful. High precision and accuracy will be the main criteria on how companies, countries and the companies will start using BeiDou.

Replacing satellites each time is going to be the biggest challenge for BeiDou. There are more emerging rivals to GPS and BeiDou like India’s IRNSS-NavIC and Europe’s Galileo which are their own version of the navigation system. ISRO is now in touch with chip manufacturers to replace GPS enabled chips in future with NavIC. Let us hope that emerging technology like these will be used more for peaceful and useful purposes than for military and warfare.


Wikipedia, CGTN, The Diplomat, The Indian Express, IEEE Spectrum and Xplore, Equal ocean, Nikkei Review , Eoportal, The Time magazine

- Jairam R Prabhu (Model Engineering College)

Updates from IEEE LINK

Volunteer Leadership Training - 2020

IEEE LINK has conducted a Volunteer Leadership training for the student members under Kerala Section to enhance their leadership skills as well as to engage them in volunteering activities. The programme was conducted on Zoom platform on 17th May 2020. It witnessed registrations from 300+ student members under Kerala Section. The Introduction on VoLT sessions was done by Mrs. Sarada Jayakrishnan (Chairperson, IEEE Kerala Section), session on the topic Leadership and changes in volunteering culture due to virtual events was handled by Mr.Sahil Sameer & Mr.Akash P Nambiar (Volunteers IEEE Kerala Young Professionals) , session on time management and effective communication in volunteering was handled by Mr.Satish Babu, (Past Chairman IEEE Kerala Section) , session on ethical volunteering and volunteering guidelines was handled by Prof. V K Damodaran (Past Chairman IEEE Kerala Section) , and finally the instructions on VoLT Project submissions were given by Mr. Nandan S (Chairman - Student Activities Committee). The event helped the students to clear their doubts regarding leadership and volunteering and finally the projects were given to ensure the participation of each and every IEEE Members in volunteering as well as leadership platforms. As a result we witnessed our enthusiastic volunteers from 20+ different student branches, conducted 30+ events in the form of webinars,competitions and training in their respective SBs and this in turn strengthened the Student Branches.

ECOFRAME- Technical Article writing competition

IEEE LINK has conducted a Technical Article writing competition on the topic ‘Environment and Technology’, to understand the impact of technology on the environment and ways in which we can contribute to lessen the deteriorating effects. The competition started on 2nd June 2020, and the last date to submit the entries was 7th June 2020. This competition had a huge response and the best two submissions were selected as the winners.

ELECTRONOVA - Circuit design competition

IEEE LINK in association with CAS Society has conducted a Circuit design competition. The competition was started on 15th June and the final date to submit the projects was 29th June 2020. Around 125 students have registered for this competition in groups as well as individuals. The details regarding the competition including guidelines and questions were shared through a whatsapp group. Jithu Tagore, Jayesh Krishnan and Gregary Sam Geevarghese from TKM College of Engineering, Kollam bagged first prize. Abhimanyu P P and Syam Roy Kurian from GCEKannur bagged second prize and Jyothis T James from MBCCET Peermade bagged third prize in this competition.

WiE Chairs Meet #2

The second meet up of WiE Chairs had been conducted on 13th and 16th June 2020 at 8.45PM. Considering the pandemic situation, the meeting was held virtually through Google meet. Ameera Sherin, WIE Coordinator, IEEE LINK had initiated by welcoming the gathering. The panel discussion regarding the activities of the WIE Affinity group of various student branches had been opened up by Mini Ulanat, Chair, IEEE Kerala section. There were around 70 participants representing 31 affinity groups of which 2 of them hadn't represented. By the end of panel discussion, Mini ma’am pointed out to organise technical events ensuring the quality rather than the quantity. Along with the technology aspects, she had also advised to improve the soft skills including the writing and presentation skills.While organising an event, they need to be classified properly and at least 2 meetings should be conducted on which one is meant for the decision phase and another to analyse and review the activity. Proper documentation should be maintained upto date to imbibe while applying for various awards. She had reminded the representatives to bring out new initiatives incorporating the upcoming batches such that the multiple edition of the same event can be produced.

WiE Chairs Meet #3

The third meetup of Women in engineering representatives had been conducted on 27th June 2020 at 7.00PM. It had about 36-44 attendees including the IEEE Kerala WIE Affinity group executive committee,LINK-Hub coordinators and Student Branch WIE Affinity Group executive committee.The points of discussion included the SWOT analysis of what the group had done till the date.The Newsletter works need to be initiated as the team had completed half an year. For that Dina,WIE Coordinator of Malabar Hub has been assigned the responsibility of a team lead and a team is to be formed in supporting her to publish the Newsletter. To integrate the activities of Various WIE affinity groups, the representatives were requested to submit their report by 5th August 2020. Considering this, it has been decided to publish the newsletter by 15th August 2020. Also, the team had been reminded to have proper documentation of the events by the team headed by the Secretary or Joint secretary of the AGs.The reports should include the membership demographics,duration of the event with starting and ending time, maintenance of agenda and minutes of the meet. In Order to have a new outlook for the WIE Website, a suggestion of bringing a specific team for the same needs to be put up.


Spectrum War

April Edition May Edition
First Martin Joe C (RIT) Santhwana T (FISAT)
Second Nima Moideen (FISAT) Aarsha Ajit (LBSITW)
Third Salma Sabir (FISAT) Avila James (SCMS)



1.1 Malabar Hub Student Branch Cluster Competitions (WAR)

Malabar Hub WAR is an inter-squad competition with 3 or 4 SBs grouped together in such a way that dormant SBs are grouped together with active SBs with the intention of bringing up these dormant SBS and further enhancing the energy of active SBs. With an aim to enhance, enkindle and explore the enterprising engineering journey, Malabar Hub WAR is in its way to create a sense of camaraderie among SBs collectively setting ablaze their members to develop the skills required to be an engineer efficiently, ethically, professionally and competently.

It consists of a series of competitions organized in 3 phases entitled, Analyse, Design & Build.Each phase consists of 5 related competitions along with a bonus competition. Squads will be awarded points after each event depending upon the terms and conditions associated with each competition.

Phase 1 - Analyse :

This phase seeks to create understanding of concepts involved in different domains of engineering, and encourage participants to decipher, learn to describe key findings, summarize effective strategies subjective to the context.


  1. Wrangle of words
    Date: 22 May 2020

    The event had 6 teams, each team of 6 members. Each team had to present a technical topic given to them, and the other team members were allowed to ask questions to the presented team. 5G, AI in service, Virtual Medical assistance, Autonomous systems, Blockchain, Computer Vision these were the topics given to each squads respectively. There were judges giving marks to the presentation and answering quality. The event lasted for 6 days. The winner team and best speakers were selected on the basis of marks.

  2. Unriddle-20
    Date: 9 June 2020

    This was an individual event. The organizers made a website with some riddles in, where participants were able to login and participate in the riddles in a specified time. There were 3 levels on consecutive days for the event and final winners were announced the next day.

  3. Wheeler dealer
    Date: 23 June 2020

    Participants were given a problem statement related to the technical innovation against coronavirus on public places. On the first level, an abstract was submitted, and best abstracts were selected for the presentation in front of the judges, with a question answer session. The winners were selected on the basis of their idea, way of presentation and content.

  4. Interpret
    Date: 11 July 2020

    An image was publicized among the students where they were asked to interpret some meaning from the image. More than 50 students submitted their write-ups on the meaning they get from the image, and the best ones were selected as the winners.

  5. Envision
    Date: 27 July 2020

    A website was given to the participants, and they were asked to prepare slides on the user-experience and the UI flaws the website was having. The slides were given marks by the judges and the winners were announced.

  6. Battle of Minds
    Date: 7 August 2020

    This was a debate competition held in 2 levels. As this was a bonus event for women, only women were allowed to participate in the debate. The topics were of relevant technical controversies. Winning team as well as best speakers were selected.

1.2 Malabar SubSection - Webinar series

IEEE Malabar Hub in association with Malabar subsection organized a Webinar Series on technologically and socially relevant topics from 4th June 2020 and is still going on in a weekly basis on every Thursday at 5.30 pm. It is started with an aim of updating the student’s socio-technological knowledge and to help them discover more about engineering and technology.

The informative sessions covered so far are:

4th June 2020 Avoid COVID-19 Anxieties by Mr.Vinod Mithran
11th June 2020 Building a Successful Career after Engineering by Dr.Sandeep K. Krishnan
18th June 2020 Creative Women of COVID Times by Dr.Anu Mary Chacko and Ms.Preethi M
25th June 2020 Teaching and Learning in the Post-COVID Era by Dr. Amruth G Kumar
2nd July 2020 Challenges and Trends in Hybrid Emulation by Mr. Sampath V. P
9th July 2020 Engineering Education in post COVID Era - Opportunities and Challenges for Faculties by Mr. Shinto Joseph
16th July 2020 Open Idea Open Imagination by Mr. Manash Bagchi
23rd July 2020 Blockchain Technology by Mr. Srinivas Mahankali
30th July 2020 Communication and Professional Networking in Covid Era by Mr.Jinesh Narayanankutty
6th August 2020 Will I get a job? by Dr.Sameer S M
13th August 2020 The role of Legal Regime for the effective Environmental Management by Dr.S Ganapathy Venkatasubramaniantr>
20th August 2020 Simple tips to win over the pandemic: SMS by Dr.Karthik Anantharaman
27th August 2020 Computers and Coronavirus by Dr.Gopakumar G


2.1 ORE ( Outreach for resources in Engineering )

ORE ( Outreach for resources in Engineering) is yet another venture from IEEE Kochi Hub, aimed at enhancing the skills and giving exposure in industry grade topics. The core of ORE is to take the benefits that an IEEE Membership gives to a student, to the next level. This is a typical Kochi Hub exclusive event, started in the year 2019, and was executed with utmost positive feedback from the students. This year, we plan to restructure ORE by including a phase of peer-mentoring, by which the students, be it from college or the graduates, who have the passion and knowledge they like to share, can guide the students selected under the mentorship program. This helps students to get the maximum benefit they deserve from their membership.

We are making ORE bigger and better this year, by offering a wide range of 27 courses and accommodating more than 500 students. ORE is a 10 week long program, specially designed to make the student industry-ready. Also we have 55 students mentors and 12 professional mentors to mentor the recruited students.

On behalf of the Kochi Hub team and the ORE team, the inauguration ceremony was held on 15th Aug 2020 at 3.30pm by Ms. Sarada Jayakrishnan ( chairperson of IEEE kerala section). A 10 min exposure to her thought was a great benefit to the students, particularly in elevating their doubts and concerns in the light of the pandemic scenario from 4.30 PM to 4.40 PM.

ORE Structure

It was started by recruiting or selecting the needed mentors for the program, based on their area/domain of proficiency and categorizing them to be allotted to different teams. Then once the mentors are given with enough counselling, we assign teams for each of them, under certain specific conditions. Each team is supposed to finish the work given to them by their respective mentors, and the deadlines for the work submissions are decided in accordance with the mentors convenience. The best performing team/students would get a chance for industry exposure which can benefit them in their career, and the networking they get as part of the program is one the participants can all cherish!



IEEE Travancore Hub conducted their second SB Chairs’ Meet on 10th May 2020 wherein 10 SB Chairs and the 4 hub representatives engaged themselves in the successful planning and execution of TECHX - an SB Cluster War which is also a pre-event of Travancore Hub Meet. The reporting of events since the previous meet also took place and the ideas for future events were also discussed with the SB representatives.

3.2 TECH-X

TECHX is an online Student Branch Cluster competition Organized by IEEE Travancore Hub. Student Branches are divided into groups of 4 or 5 each having 5 teams in total. It consists of a total 3 phases in which the first one is an elimination phase being conducted in collaboration with the SBs and the final two rounds will be conducted by the Hub team. Phase 1 consists of 15 technical competitions, after which 4 teams will be selected to participate in the next phases.

Phase 1

★ ★ ★

We appreciate all the Student Branches under IEEE Kerala Section for their immense support and cooperation with us. As a result of your hard work, we have completed 700+ events, from June-August. You have made these Lockdown days more productive by organizing webinars, virtual workshops, competitions etc. within your Student Branch. The amount of effort that you all have made for making your Student Branch strong and active is tremendous. You all are enthusiastic, energetic and have a positive attitude. Without your tremendous support we might not have been able to achieve such an amount of success. We thank each and everyone of you for the constant hardwork and dedication. #joyofvolunteering.

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