GPS without borders

GCN Insider | U.S., EU satellites to use same radio frequency for more accurate GPS

The United States and Europe have been at odds on a lot of issues of late. But one thing they've managed to agree on is that it makes sense to work together on delivering Global Positioning System services.

Under an agreement finalized at the end of July, European Union and U.S. satellites would use the same radio frequency, which means GPS receivers will be able to get signals from both systems and combine the data.

The result will likely be more accurate GPS, especially in those areas with weak satellite reception.

It could be some time before users see the benefits of the agreement. Although the United States has 30 GPS satellites orbiting the Earth, the European Galileo GPS system has not yet been deployed. The EU plans to have 30 satellites in orbit by 2010 and have the Galileo system fully functional by 2012.

And then, of course, those who make the GPS receivers will need to design equipment capable of handling both systems. 'The market probably will drive dual-use receivers,' Raymond Clore, a senior adviser from the U.S. State Department, told reporters. 'We think probably that [the market for] GPS-specific, or Galileo-specific receivers'will phase out in time.'

About the Author

Patrick Marshall is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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