Today, the international GNSS community mourns the loss of Dr. Javad Ashjaee, Ph.D., founder and visionary behind JAVAD GNSS and innovative giant in elevating the geospatial profession. 

From a statement posted on Javad.com, Ashjaee reportedly passed away in Moscow on May 30 after a lengthy battle with coronavirus.  

"Over the course of 37 years, Javad made an incredible and far-reaching impact in the GNSS community. He pioneered the world's most advanced GNSS technology through a multi-national effort that combined GPS and GLONASS and established more than a quarter century of partnership between Silicon Valley and Moscow," the statement shares. "He was always proud of this 'success story of cooperation.' Javad was a true industry disrupter long before the term and concept became popular. His whole way of doing business was challenging and disrupting to the status quo."

Born in Iran in 1941, the history of Ashjaee's ascent as a formidable force in the GNSS community has since become legend. A bold man, distinguished by his bold business decisions, Ashjaee has the kind of story only he can fully do justice.

In honor of his legacy, we share "My GNSS History," a piece of his history written in his own words: 

A Washington journalist told me that some members of PNT and GPS community try to discredit my reputation instead of criticizing or responding to my technical reports. At his request, I summarize my GNSS credentials once more in here:

In 1983, I co-pioneered high precision GPS at Trimble by introducing Trimble 4000-S. It was a 4-channel geodetic receiver. I single-handedly wrote its entire software. 16 hours a day, 7 days a week for several years. It was the first commercial geodetic GPS receiver and it changed the geodetic survey industry.

Later, after I founded Ashtech; in 1989 we introduced Ashtech L-12. This was the first All-in-One, All-in-View 12-channel geodetic GPS receiver. After that, we introduced Ashtech M-12 and the legendary Ashtech Z-12. These were the first truly portable geodetic GPS receivers. We were also the first to integrate GPS and GLONASS satellites. It took all other companies more than 10 years to catch up and add GLONASS to their receivers. Ashtech still is a very successful company and after changing hands several times, was recently purchased by Trimble.

In 1998, I founded JAVAD Positioning Systems (JPS) and introduced Legacy, Odyssey, and Regency products followed by HiPer. It was a 76-channel geodetic receiver. Other companies later copied HiPer. Today many of GNSS receivers look like it. I sold JPS to Topcon, who changed its name to Topcon Positioning System (TPS) and is a very successful company.

In 2007, after my obligations to Topcon ended and according to the provisions of our agreement, I founded JAVAD GNSS and introduced TRIUMPH products. These were 216-channel receivers, integrated with several communication channels. We also introduced their ALPHA, DELTA, and SIGMA versions. We were again the first to offer European Galileo and Japanese QZSS tracking in mass production. TRIUMPH technology has been shown to have the best signal quality and best multipath reduction capabilities against all others tested by the German Aerospace. We also introduced GLONASS inter-channel (group/carrier delay) calibration to 0.2 millimeter which made GLONASS FDMA as good as GPS CDMA. JAVAD GNSS is growing fast and gaining market share.

In June 2010, we introduced the revolutionary and the only fully integrated geodetic receiver in the market, TRIUMPH-VS, with features like “Lift & Tilt”, “Interference Analyzer”, and “Visual Stakeout”. It is the most advanced high precision GNSS receiver in the market capable of tracking current and next generation signals of GPS, GLONASS, QZSS, and Galileo signals.

In October 2011, we introduced LightSquared compatible GNSS receivers and we plan to introduce LightSquared integrated GNSS receivers and sub-nanosecond (100- and 10-picoseconds) time-transfer products.

I hold B.S. degree in Electronic Physics, M.S. in Electrical Engineering, M.S. in Mathematics, and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, U.S.A.

A natural educator, one of Ashjaee's most profound skill was his ability to bring people together.  "At the end of life, what matters is not what we bought but what we built, not what we got but what we shared, not our competency but our character, and not our success but our significance," continues a statement released by JAVAD GNSS. "On the day of his passing, Javad's technology played a role in the first successful crewed space vehicle launch from U.S. soil since the final Space Shuttle launch nine years ago. Javad did not wait for all of us, he launched himself to the 'heavens' in his own special Javad way."

Rest in power, Javad. You will be sorely missed.