EU unveils more precise satnav system

October 1, 2009
A GPS system installed in a car in France. The European Union has launched a free satellite navigation system with increased accuracy for drivers, hikers and boat owners, but also for use on farms and roadworks.

(AP) -- The European Union has unveiled an updated satellite navigation system that is up to five times more precise than the current GPS system.

EU Transport Commissioner Antonio Tajani says the EGNOS system will allow for far more intricate applications ranging from pinpointing agricultural spraying to helping to guide blind people in their everyday lives. It would also improve applications in aviation and automatic road tolling.

Tajani said Thursday that EGNOS is not a replacement for the EU's troubled Galileo system, which is supposed to be operational by 2013.

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2.3 / 5 (4) Oct 01, 2009
How many GPS systems do we need? Is this just a pride thing or will they be charging people to use the "new and advanced" system?
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 01, 2009
@NotAsleep: According to a U.S. government report obtained by U.K. newspaper The Guardian, the nation's satellites used for GPS may be failing and could even begin to malfunction by 2010.


If a positioning system could track markers at a much more precise resolution, the uses would skyrocket. Currently the system is only accurate to ~13.2 Meters.

Also, large portions of Africa, South America, and Russia (to name a few) are completely out of service range of our current satellites (which total 24).

I am unable to locate the link right now, but I read an official report on a new constellation they plan on putting up with more satellites with newer technology evenly spaced around the earth, so as to cover the entire earth with free gps. Not to mention the precision is supposed to be cut down to ~3m accurate.
2.5 / 5 (2) Oct 01, 2009

If GPS isn't available in Africa, you may want to let these people know before they all get lost!

Why wouldn't it work in these places? As for your article, they really make it sound scary... but since all newspapers are totally unbiased and aren't driven by profit, it's ok to believe them, right? Saying that the GPS system is going to fail is ridiculous. Meantime, we're in the process of launching more advanced satelites every year.


My original point had NOTHING TO DO WITH WHO OWNED THE GPS SYSTEM, simply that it seems to be a waste of BILLIONS UPON BILLIONS OF DOLLARS to operate and maintain so many of them. Unless programmed otherwise, the nature of a GPS system allows the world to use it for free and nowadays there's really no reason to preclude people from use of it. Let's just have one that works REALLY WELL
1 / 5 (1) Oct 02, 2009
GPS should work worldwide since the satellites are always moving in their low altitude orbits. The original use of GPS was US military, and no doubt the old GPS can resolve to 3m but the US military have desensitized them for non-military use.
not rated yet Oct 02, 2009
The military no longer desensitizes GPS. In fact, the new GPS III units don't even have the ability for being desensitized. From a strategic standpoint, there's no reason for it. If someone wanted to attack the USA, they wouldn't use a precision guided munition... much less one that has to be accurate to within than 3 meters.

PS, I just realized how sarcastic my last post was. My apologies, t'wasn't a good day for me...
1 / 5 (1) Oct 03, 2009
I always thought the 'American' version of GPS could only pin point your location to 50' (15m) without local transmitters to increase accuracy? It sounds like the European version is much better to start with.
not rated yet Oct 05, 2009
It's also a bit about who controls these systems. Having one that works 'really well' is all well and good. But if political tensions arise turning off GPS for part of the world could be a heavy bragaining chip (read: blackmail opportunity). Multiple systems make this less of an option.

Also a certain amount of redundancy is always a good idea. Think how much damage a systemic error can cause if you only have one system in operation.

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