GPS Competitors

by Steve Kinder - Date: 2006-12-22 - Word Count: 403 Share This!


The Russian Federation controls and operates a constellation of satellites and related ground stations called GLONASS, for purposes similar to GPS. GLONASS was developed and launched originally by the Soviet Union and has been in operation for several years now, similar to GPS. But since break up of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation has not maintained GLONASS in a fully operational mode. The reasons are not technical in nature but are due to scarcity of money for maintenance of a fully operational constellation of GLONASS satellites. Similar to GPS, a certain minimum number of GLONASS satellites are required to achieve the fully operational status of providing view of at least four satellites everywhere on earth and at all times. Remember from discussions in the previous tutorial sections that the 'sacred' minimum number of satellites for fully operational status of GPS is twenty-four. So is there for GLONASS. Currently, however, the GLONASS satellite constellation consists of only twelve operational satellites. The Russian Federation has made announcements that it intends to upgrade GLONASS to fully operational status in the near future.


The availability and accuracy of GPS is controlled by the US Government. Now if you consider the fact that GPS applications are permeating into many aspects of civilian lifestyle all over the world. Use of GPS in automobiles is ubiquitous today - pretty soon GPS use for applications such as life saving emergency co-ordination and other critical applications for the civilian community (during times of war and peace) can be expected to become ubiquitous. Thus, one might have a tendency to derive a conclusion that the US Government has a means of controlling the life style of civilians all over the world to a certain extent.

Such politics and other financial reasons (such as for obtaining financial benefits for European industry instead of US companies) led to the Europeans to design an entirely new global navigation system called GALILEO, over which they would have total control. Off course, if you ask the politicians, they might not want to tell you the story in a manner as explicit as presented here!

Currently, the GALILEO navigation system is in a design and development phase. The satellite constellation is not expected to be operational until year 2010. The system is expected to work similar to GPS and provide a similar usage for civilians all over the world.

For a more comprehensive knowledge of GPS today, refer to websites such as

Related Tags: gps, navigation, history, competition, satellite, galileo, glonass

Steve Kinder is a GPS industry veteran with extensive experience in the GPS receiver design and manufacturing. His latest hobby is to spread the knowledge of GPS to everybody through tutorials and websites (

Not very often does a single system have such a large impact on the way we live. The Internet was revolutionary, so is GPS. Get to know GPS today and keep up with it before it permeates all over your lifestyle!

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