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Difference between GPS and Satellite Navigation System

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Global Positioning System (GPS): Global Positioning System provides time and location-based information to a GPS receiver, located anywhere on or near the earth surface. GPS works in all weather conditions, provided there is an unobstructed line of sight communication with 4 or more GPS satellites. GPS uses a constellation of at least 24 satellites in orbit around the Earth. These satellites transmit signals that are received by GPS receivers on the ground. By comparing the timing of the signals from different satellites, the GPS receiver can determine the distance to each satellite and calculate its own position on the Earth’s surface.

GPS provides a variety of location and time-related information, including latitude, longitude, altitude, speed, and direction of travel. This information is used in a wide range of applications, including navigation, surveying, mapping, and timing synchronization.

GPS is managed by the US Air Force.

  • Space Segment
  • Control segment
  • User segments

Satellite Navigation System (SNS): A satellite navigation system is a system that uses satellites to provide autonomous geo-spatial positioning. It allows small electronic receivers to determine their location to high precision. It is based on a wide network of artificial satellites that transmit radio signals in medium earth orbit. The most widely used SNS is the Global Positioning System (GPS), which is owned and operated by the United States government. Other SNS include the Russian GLONASS system, the European Galileo system, and the Chinese BeiDou system. These systems use a network of satellites in orbit around the Earth, along with ground-based control stations and user receivers, to provide accurate positioning and timing information.

SNS works by transmitting a signal from a satellite to a receiver on the ground. The signal contains information about the satellite’s location and the time the signal was transmitted. The receiver uses this information to calculate its distance from the satellite, based on the time it took for the signal to reach the receiver. By receiving signals from multiple satellites, the receiver can calculate its precise location, speed, and time.

GNSS consist of three main satellite technologies:

  • GPS
  • Glonass
  • Galileo

Let’s see the difference between GPS and Satellite Navigation System:

S.NO. GPS Satellite Navigation System
1 GPS is a fully-functional satellite-based navigation system. Satellite navigation is a system based on a wide network of artificial satellites.
2 GPS satellites transmit continuous microwave radio signals composed of two carriers, two codes and a navigation message. It describes constellation of satellites that provide navigation, positioning and timing services globally.
3 GPS is maintained by the U.S. Department of Defense. It provide autonomous geospatial positioning
4 GPS satellites broadcast timely signals via radio to the GPS receivers. Satellite navigation systems help us to drive across unknown roads, whether by land, sea or air, etc.
5 GPS is a joint name for group of satellites that are orbiting around the earth. Satellite Navigation is a special software that makes use of GPS signals
6 It processes the signal using its built-in software. The position, velocity and time estimates obtained from the satellite navigation system.
7. Provides accuracy of up to 3 meters  Provides accuracy of up to 1 meter
8. Operates at frequencies between 1227.6 and 1575.42 MHz  Operates at various frequencies depending on the system

Conclusion : 

 GPS is a specific satellite navigation system that offers high accuracy and global coverage. SNS, on the other hand, is a broader term that encompasses a range of satellite-based navigation systems, including GPS, and offers varying levels of accuracy and coverage.

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Last Updated : 16 May, 2023
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