GPS and it’s Competitors
Global Positioning System or GPS is developed and now completely operated by the United State’s Department of Defense. US possess the exclusive right to shut down or restrict its use at any point of time. From the development of this technology, its been widely used in all over the world for various purpose and now one of the most popular technology of this twenty first century. Though global positioning system is free for civilian use but for commercial purpose one has to pay a considerable amount according to its use.
As it is totally controlled by US, country like Russia had already developed its own radio satellite navigation system named GLONASS or Global Navigation Satellite System. Russia is intended to use it for both military and civilian purposes. Operated by Russian Space Force, now it is used by the military and available for civilians to some extent. The whole system consists of 24 satellites in three orbital planes of which only 12 satellites are in operation now. These are arranged in such a way that 5 satellites can be seen at any point of time from anywhere on the earth. By taking help of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Russia is planning to have 18 full operational satellites by 2008.
Besides GLONASS, the European Union also has its own navigational system i.e. Galileo and probably this would be fully operational by 2010. Initially involved by German, France, Italy and United Kingdom is under European Space Agency. Now other prominent members of EU including Asian countries like China, Malaysia, Pakistan, Japan are willing to cooperate in this development i.e. intended primarily for civilian purpose. This will provide greater accuracy for positioning service compared to the present GPS.
Though GPS is widely used in all parts of the world, but with the development of these systems will make other independent from US’s monopoly over navigational purpose. The primary motive for developing alternative to GPS is that GPS is solely owned by US military and can restrict or shut down its use in case of any emergency situation like war thereby affecting civilian and other service industries who are based on GPS. However, this will provide competition among these three systems in providing better service, which is a good sign for its user.