GPS vs GNSS: What’s the Difference?

A total of 5.16 billion people around the world use devices that are connected to the internet. These include smartphones, wearables, and other communication devices. These devices need accurate positioning systems to thrive.

GPS is originally used for navigation in the military. They got adapted for civilian use in the 80s and became popular in the 90s.

On the other hand, Global Navigation Satellite Systems or GNSS refers to a group of satellite navigation systems. It seeks to replace GPS in the future.

GPS vs GNSS — which of the two technologies do you need? We’ll explain both so you can find the one that suits your device. Read on!

GPS is a Specific Type of GNSS

GPS (Global Positioning System) is a specific type of GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System). GNSS is a generic term that refers to any system that uses a network of satellites to give location and positioning information to users. GPS is owned and operated by the United States government and was the first operational global navigation system.

GPS consists of a network of satellites orbiting the earth and a ground control system that monitors and manages the satellites. GPS receivers use signals from GPS satellites to determine their location, speed, and direction. The GPS system is free to use and has become an essential tool in many industries, including transportation, surveying, and agriculture.

GNSS Provides More Coverage

In the battle of coverage between GPS vs GNSS, the latter comes out on top. GNSS provides more coverage than GPS because there amanyple GNSS systems in operation, each with its own network of satellites.

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By using signals from multiple GNSS systems, a user can receive location and positioning information from more satellites. This will provide better coverage, especially in areas where GPS signals may be weak or obstructed.

GNSS is More Accurate

GNSS is more accurate than GPS because it uses signals from multiple satellite constellations. This provides more precise location and positioning information.

When a GNSS receiver uses signals from many satellite constellations, it is able to combine the signals to improve the accuracy of the location and positioning information. This technique is known as multi-GNSS or GNSS augmentation. You can check out this technology in the GNSS simulators linked here.

GNSS is More Expensive

Developing and operating a GNSS system requires significant investment in research and development, satellite construction and launch, and ground infrastructure. This can make the initial cost of establishing a GNSS system much higher than the cost of establishing a GPS system.

Though the initial costs are high, it doesn’t stop there. Maintaining and upgrading a GNSS system can also be more expensive than maintaining and upgrading a GPS system. This is due to the complexity of the technology and the need for ongoing investment in research and development to improve the system’s capabilities.

GPS vs GNSS: Which is Better?

In the battle between GPS vs GNSS, the winner is dependent on the situation. GNSS is better on paper even though it has higher costs. However, GNSS is overkill in most situations. GPS is also more affordable and will still give you adequate performance. All in all, it all comes down to which situation you find yourself in.

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