Thursday, December 27, 2007

GPS satellite developments

GPS World discusses Russia's recent launch of three more GLONASS satellites. This brings the total available satellites to 18, enough for navigation in Russia. Russia hopes to have a complete constellation of GPS satellites working by 2009. There was a recent news story of President Putin with his dog showing how a GLONASS-based GPS tracking device was now possible.

This follows last week's successful launch of a new GPS satellite, also described in GPS World. The new GPS IIR-18 (M) satellite will replace an existing older unit. It provides a stronger civilian signal and some new capabilities for military navigation.

This news is exciting for anyone interested in GPS. Within a few years we will have the choice of receivers using NAVSTAR (American), Galileo (European), or GLONASS (Russian). There will certainly be combinations of the different systems for even better accuracy and reliability. The combinations may be subscription-based for the extra service. I am sure there will be intense competition among providers to provide good deals and packages.

Maybe they will even solve the problem of good reception under a closed forest canopy with a low cost receiver!