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Editorial Advisory Board PNT Q&A: Lessons from Galileo and BeiDou

March 22, 2021  - By

What is the single most valuable lesson GPS can learn from Galileo and/or BeiDou?

Bernard Gruber

Bernard Gruber

Service continuity. Given that GNSS are so ubiquitous today, similar to the electrical grid, it is imperative that GPS continue the superb system of outage reporting via NANUs, transparency via GPS.gov, and statutory commitments via U.S. Code. Aligning to the U.S. commitment, continued Open Service Signal-in-Space, such as GPS-Galileo-BeiDou, allows thousands of planned and interoperable “apps” such as Google Maps and Waze to thrive. Although not directly in line with the question, terrestrial timing backup systems, similar to what China and some other countries do, is a valuable lesson in continuity from BeiDou.

Bernard Gruber
Northrop Grumman


Ellen Hall

Ellen Hall

Perhaps the lesson could be, ‘It’s easier not to be first!’ Newer navigation constellations have the benefit of watching and learning from GPS — things done well and things to improve. From technology to operational procedures, a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) is difficult to execute. Would it have been easier or cost less if the United States had decided to land on the Moon after someone else had paved the way? Probably, but there is something very satisfying about being first! And, despite the fact that GPS satellites outlive their life expectancy, we keep launching new ones, with improved technology, to give the world better accuracy and more robust signals. The world of navigation welcomes Galileo, BeiDou, and all the others to follow.

Ellen Hall
Spirent Federal Systems


Alison Brown

Alison Brown

“GPS could benefit from lessons learned from BeiDou as to the importance of resilience in providing PNT services. BeiDou has a total of 42 satellites now in operation and open signals are broadcast on six frequencies (B1I, B1C, B2I, B2a, B2b, and B3I). In comparison, GPS has currently 29 operational satellites and provides open signals on three frequencies (L1, L2, L5). As the global threat to GPS grows, from frequency incursions by evolving 5G systems as well as deliberate interference or spoofing, the ability to operate on different frequencies to provide resilience against harmful interference will become increasingly important.”

Alison Brown
NAVSYS Corporation 


Jean-Marie Sleewaegen

Jean-Marie Sleewaegen

“While GPS remains a gold standard with decades of reliable service, the advent of BeiDou and Galileo has undoubtedly stirred up competition. While BeiDou is exceptionally fast at deploying new signals and services, Galileo is now transmitting the first ever authenticated OSNMA signals, helping secure GNSS receivers against spoofers. The main lesson is that it is better to have company than to be alone. Having multiple GNSS not only increases the number of satellites and signals, which improves positioning accuracy and reliability, but more importantly, it fosters continuous innovation, for the benefit of all users.”

Jean-Marie Sleewaegen
Septentrio

About the Author:


Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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