GPS, meet Galileo

GPS, meet Galileo

The State Department announced yesterday that it is pushing for interoperability between the U.S. Global Positioning System and the European Union's proposed competing system, called Galileo.

The 19-year-old GPS, overseen by the Defense and Transportation departments, has taken on considerable importance in telecommunications, mapping and transportation systems because of its free, precise timing and position signals. The 24-satellite system is receiving a $1 billion infusion over the next several years to launch new, so-called GPS III satellites and to refine nonmilitary signal accuracy down to three meters'about 9.8 feet.

The department said in its announcement that the United States government 'sees no compelling need for Galileo, because GPS is expected to meet the needs of users around the world for the foreseeable future.'

But if the Galileo plans do go forward, State wants cooperation and interoperability. It opposes the use by Galileo of any radio frequencies used by GPS and any system-driven standards that 'mandate the use of Galileo at the expense of GPS manufacturers, service providers and users.'

Galileo proponents, at, say its related services and equipment could represent a market worth 35 billion euros'about $31 billion.

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