GNSS Today: A Four-leaf Clover

A year ago, the U.S. Global Positioning System celebrated its silver jubilee upon completing 25 years in operation. Also, it was more than 20 years ago that President Clinton agreed to switch off Selective Availability, thus offering seamless positioning to the civil community. The 10-bit GPS week count experienced its second rollover, and people worldwide got addicted to a ubiquitous positioning capability in those decades. Be it for finding the nearest restaurant or to track a Sunday afternoon bike ride, positioning-related services building on GPS have become an integral part of our daily life. In fact, GPS has almost become a synonym for navigation itself.

One cannot underestimate the contribution that GPS has made to society. It is for sure most deserved that the fathers of GPS were ultimately awarded the highly prestigious Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering in the year of the above jubilee. As always, success creates followers, and GPS is no longer the sole player. Next to the Russian GLONASS, two new actors — namely the European Galileo and the Chinese BeiDou-3 GNSS — have mounted the stage. So, users are now offered a choice of four independent GNSS.

However, do we really need so many systems? Isn’t one enough and all others just a waste of taxpayers’ money? The answer to the last question is certainly a clear “no.”

Read more in GPS World article.

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