[amsat-bb] Re: Improving satellite reporting

Andrew Glasbrenner glasbrenner at mindspring.com
Thu Sep 3 06:16:09 PDT 2009

Bruce and all,

This is an excellent idea, especially the trusted updaters. While the Carr's 
page is the best source of up to the minute data on modes and status, it 
does occasionally suffer from erroneous reporting, and the links attached to 
the satellite names mostly go to the old webpage from 4 years ago (the N7HPR 
ones). There also are lots of newer satellites that could be added to the 
system. Combining the two resources would result in a very superior product.

The two people to talk to about this other than David Carr, are Gould Smith 
and Rick Hambly. I'll fully support this change, as it will get a very large 
and odoriferous monkey off my back, and result in better data for the 
members, and others who use our site.

Perhaps you could contact David, Gould, and Rick and get the ball rolling?

73, Drew KO4MA

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bruce Robertson" <ve9qrp at gmail.com>
To: "AMSAT-BB" <amsat-bb at amsat.org>
Sent: Thursday, September 03, 2009 9:04 AM
Subject: [amsat-bb] Improving satellite reporting

>I offer the following idea in order to speed up the reporting of
> satellite conditions on amsat.org. The situation is, as I see it,
> thus:
> 1. The best source of information is oscar.dcarr.org. It harnesses the
> many-eyes that the Internet can provide and summarizes their reports
> in a helpful visualization. Users can gain detailed information, like
> how FO-29's repair is progressing, or what mode AO-7 is in. In my
> experience its uptime is excellent. Moreover, if I understand it
> correctly, it does not require manual operation. Its only fault is
> that its url is not in amsat.org, and so beginners or those with just
> a general interest are unlikely to find it. It might be subject to
> spamming or malicious reporting, but I have seen no evidence of this.
> 2. The official amsat page of information reports conditions on a
> roughly week-by-week basis and does not include the detailed
> information described above. This is because, if I understand its
> operation correctly, it does require manual work by an authorized
> individual. This precludes the moment-by-moment reporting that
> oscar.dcarr.org offers, but it does mean that the trust factor is
> high.
> To my mind, an ideal solution is in two steps:
> A. Make oscar.dcarr.org an amsat.org page. At very least, this entails
> nothing more than the use of the HTML iframe element. It is true that
> amsat is thus endorsing an external page, but I think based on past
> performance, this is highly warranted. On the other end of the
> spectrum, the entire code and server software that drives
> oscar.dcarr.org could be moved to amsat.org. In any case, this would
> require the permission of Mr. Carr and prominent recognition from the
> organization for his (and Bob's) pioneering application of the
> Internet to this problem.
> B. Perhaps more complicated is to make the current official page
> become automatically updated from the dcarr page, or by means of an
> operator who is automatically informed from the dcarr page, or some
> combination of the two. For instance, a sufficient number of 'not
> heard' reports from dcarr.org pertaining to a given bird would change
> its status in the official page to be '?' or something like this.
> There are further possibilities. For instance, dcarr.org could be
> upgraded with a broad-based trust model. The twenty most enthusiastic
> reporters could, for instance, be furnished with passwords in a secure
> mode and their data could be privileged for the purpose of reporting.
> Besides improving the reporting on satellite conditions, this change
> would have a further effect. It would communicate to the members that
> if they create good resources, their work might eventually become
> highlighted by the AMSAT community, in effect, a 'publication' of
> AMSAT. 'Volunteering' thus becomes not much more than 'doing cool
> stuff that the community likes'.

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