GPS or GNSS: Which is More Accurate?

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Introduction: The Difference Between GPS and GNSS

GPS or GNSS is just a position that we receive on the earth that’s coming from a satellite or a group of satellites. So we send a message to the satellite and the satellite sends a response that tells us where we are. These satellites revolve around the earth. The satellites that are specific to the US are called GPS.

One of the vital pieces to the inertial sense navigation system is GPS or what we know it across the world is GNSS. The difference is very basic.

GNSS is a little bit broader because we have Europe, and Europe has its own constellations of satellites that are revolving. Then also Russia has its own constellations of satellites that revolve around the earth. China also has satellites that revolve around the earth.

These satellites are doing the same thing they provide a position. These entire networks of GPS(USA), BAIDU(China), GALILEO(Europe), and GLONASS(Russia) are what we call GNSS.

GPS is a term very specific to the USA.

What are the Different Uses for GPS and GNSS?

GPS and GNSS are two different systems that rely on the same principle of triangulation to locate a user. GPS, the Global Positioning System, is a system operated by the United States military and is used for navigation purposes. GNSS, or Global Navigation Satellite System, is an international system that includes both civilian and military satellites.

GPS is a standalone system that does not require other systems to work, but GNSS needs to work in tandem with other systems to provide accurate positioning data.

GPS uses satellites that transmit radio waves with precise timing signals for calculating positions on earth, while GNSS uses satellites that transmit microwaves.

Conclusion: Which Is More Accurate and Why?

Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) are closely related, but GNSS-compatible tools can use satellites from other networks besides those of the GPS system. This means better accuracy and reliability for receivers with many more sources.

GPS is used for navigation such as when someone sends in their coordinates. In this instance, the GPS system can help pinpoint where they are. While GPS technology is inherently flawed in its exclusivity to only American satellites, it has been the most reliable global navigation system we have. Satellite signals can be blocked by natural obstacles like bad weather and geography. If enough of the signals are blocked, then your GPS becomes useless until the signal is re-established.

GPS is the most popular navigation satellite system but is not the only option. You can get more accuracy and reliability by using a broader range of signals from any navigation satellite, and it is possible because of GNSS. All GNSS receivers are GPS-compatible, but not all GPS receivers are GNSS-compatible.

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