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Chinese GPS System To Be Offered Free

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the maker-of-rules-dealing-with-fools dept.

131

MattSparkes writes, "The Chinese GPS system, Beidou, is apparently to be opened up for free access within China, worrying European investors on the €2.5 billion competing project, Galileo. Initially, China had declared that access to their system would be restricted to the military, and Europe had planned to recoup some of the cost of their system by selling licenses to China. Michael Shaw, from the US government's National Space-based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Coordination Office in Washington DC, said, 'Frankly, China's behavior towards Europe is not so different to how Europe behaved with us when GPS was the only game in town a decade ago.'"

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China (2, Funny)

thejrwr (1024073) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774059)

I can see it now, a billion people running into each other looking down at there GPS device.

Re:China (1)

TransEurope (889206) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774227)

Yes, the other 500 millions of the chinese population doesn't need such gadgets.
They never left the plants of the company they're working for.

Re:China (0)

thejrwr (1024073) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774303)

is there really 1.5 billion people in china, damn thats ALOT of GPS devices

Re:China (Incompetent, Offtopic, Flamebait, Troll) (2, Informative)

foobsr (693224) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774929)

They are trying to reduce [cpirc.org.cn] .

CC.

Re:China (1)

LindseyJ (983603) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774319)

I'd say they would still be useful. After all, if I am going to get shot for 'contributing to the reduction of product output' if I accidentally wander outside the manufactory premises, I'd damn well like to make sure I'm still on the lot when I go to get my lunch.

Re:China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16774341)

I can see it now, a billion people running into each other looking down at there GPS device.

Huh, I don't get it? What's the joke GPS is a poor method of navigation or Chinese people are inherently funny?

Seriously what's with the torrent of offhand racism on Slashdot recently.

Re:China (1)

Bill Michaelson (414165) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774891)

I don't get it. What was racist? China has a lot of people. You see racism? Care to explain?

Re:China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16775197)

The identification of people living in China as Chinese is racist. How would you like it if the comment was about Americans' running into each other while they were looking down at their GPS's? I bet just being called an American would get you blood boiling. Wouldn't be funny then, would it? Because of course the americans would be too busy dialing their cell phone sto look at the GPS. And then they'd exercise their freedom to bear arms by gunning you down where you stood, while talking really load and slow so you non-english speaking types could understand.

Ok, it wasn't really funny to start with.

Re:China (1)

blugu64 (633729) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775343)

"I bet just being called an American would get you blood boiling. Wouldn't be funny then, would it? Because of course the americans would be too busy dialing their cell phone sto look at the GPS. And then they'd exercise their freedom to bear arms by gunning you down where you stood, while talking really load and slow so you non-english speaking types could understand."

We are, we do, sometimes happens, and we do.....nothing really racist about your statement.

Re:China (1)

thc69 (98798) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775205)

Huh, I don't get it? What's the joke GPS is a poor method of navigation or Chinese people are inherently funny?

Seriously what's with the torrent of offhand racism on Slashdot recently.

That's the second reply I've seen that assumes the joke was racist. I didn't read it that way at all. I read it as a joke about their population count and density, and the unnecessary addition of complication/technology.

The same joke would work if the article headline was "NYC giving free GPS unit to all residents", except s/"a billion"/"8 million"/...

Re:China (1)

thc69 (98798) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775251)

BTW, without even reading TFA, it's obvious to me that China isn't giving out receivers, just that they're going to allow manufacture and sale of receivers for consumer use.

Re:China (1)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774391)

Check out the video for Crackberries on the Rick Mercer Report website cbc.ca/mercerreport
There's an attachment where the crackberry user can stare at the screen, while their helmet with mounted camera directs them through the crowd. It would work on a GPS device too - if you can figure out how to read Cantonese.

United States (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16774633)

I can see it now, 300 million people running into each other looking down at there GPS device.

The "joke" doesn't seem so funny now does it? It's amazing how making a stupid comment about another country and/or ethnicity passes as "funny" these days.

Re:United States (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775057)

I thought it was just a joke about the population.
And the America thing wasn't as funny because the number wasn't as large.

Re:United States (1)

c_forq (924234) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775063)

It isn't as funny because there are 700 million less people bumping into each other. If this was about US navigation, and there were a billion people in the US, then it would still be funny.

Re:United States (1)

LindseyJ (983603) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775295)

Chaning the joke entirely makes it not as funny as it was before? STOP THE PRESSES.

Seriously, get over yourself.

Re:China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16774681)

there != their != they're

Come on, it's not rocket science!

Re:China (1)

jac89 (979421) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775083)

What about a billion people being tracked wherever they go. GPS can work two ways is it so unlikely that the Chinese government has just found a easy way to keep even closer tabs on their subject.

Re:China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16775833)

GPS is invented because it works ONE way,
army troops can get their position in the battlefield,
by receiving GPS time signals, and combining that to an location.
they don't need to send, because that would reveal their position.
nowadays, its posible to send out your position to your team captain
over signals which hop frequency about 1000 times a sec,
but your tiny matchbox-sized-gps-device is never going to reach that satelite,
because it has no power to send that far, and the GPS system was never designed for that.

i don't beleive the chinese system will have that function,..
GSM towers have a much higher footprint, and no-one will cary around a bulky device
that is suposed to send the position it has calculated by itself back to the gov.

Re:China (1)

ningeo (1022283) | more than 7 years ago | (#16776037)

While that is possibly the wet dream of the government, it is highly unlikely. If the Chinese system is set up in the same manner as GPS, it will be a passive system, where the receivers do just that, receive. Broadcasting positions would also require transmission capability, so they would need a cell phone-like transmitter or a satellite phone-type transmitter. Certainly not impossible to do but it would be massively costly, especially with the potential number of users.

OTOH, it doesn't seem so far fetched that the government could require Chinese manufacturers to include a simple transmitter that works on existing cell phone networks. The problem then is handling the massive amount of data.

Free (4, Funny)

TheBogie (941620) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774077)

Each of their citizens will get a free tracking device implanted inside them. What a great country!!

Re:Free (1)

thejrwr (1024073) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774179)

i thought our goverment (USA) already did that kind of thing

Re:Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16774711)

Yes, it is for free, but China cannot use it for military pourposes as Good ol USA might
turn it off when they see fit.
Can't blame them :-)
Why should Sturdy Chinese not use their very own system when had to make one anyway?
Whoever believed that the Chinese should fork out good money abroad when they
earn pocketmoney and export dirt cheap DVD playes to pay for
oil at USD 60 a barrel is beyond me.
If you are poor you learn to be thrifty and live on a budget.
But why listen to me - I am just another Norwegian who works
less than 90 minutes to pay for a DVD-player :-)

Re:Free (1)

Cartack (628620) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774357)

And the tracking device will be supplied by a US company -http://www.verichipcorp.com/

Re:Free (1)

goddidit (988396) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774753)

What a great country! In America you can always find a GPS device. In Soviet Russia GPS device finds YOU!!!

see what i mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16775387)

There they go again, another racist comment. Will somebody please think of the chinese.

Re:Free (5, Funny)

ATMD (986401) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775591)

In communist China, global system positions YOU!

Re:Free (1)

Arwing (951573) | more than 7 years ago | (#16776661)

You know, that may not be that far away from the truth (I know I know, not happening right now, but 10 yrs from now.. ..)

That's a very good idea actually. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 7 years ago | (#16777193)

You think it's an idea that would only be tried in China? Why not put tracking devices in all watches, all headphones, all ipods, all electronics, and connect that to GPS so you know where ever human on earth is, 100% of the time?

You have to admit, it would be very good for security.

Re:That's a very good idea actually. (1)

ATMD (986401) | more than 7 years ago | (#16778231)

Ooh, they did that [wikipedia.org] in Dr. Who.

Then the devices took over everyone's brains and turned them into Cybermen...

But... (5, Funny)

ElBuf (887442) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774207)

Aren't they afraid of how all those people are going react when they find out they live in China?

Re:But... (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774313)

Um, why? What's wrong with China? Interesting article in the Economist recently showed how many Chinese emigrants are returning home now after working in the west and especially the US to work in China's rapidly growing IT sector. It can't be all that, and certainly not enough to warrant what could be construed as an arrogant, and possibly even bigotted comment. I've been to China and really liked it. I look forward to visiting again.

This? (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 7 years ago | (#16776383)

What's wrong with China? Oh I don't know, maybe this? [economist.com] How about this? [hrichina.org] Or maybe you'd prefer more Economist? [economist.com]

Of course there are a few successful localized industries... but as with many other poor countries, there are a few developed areas, while the rest of the country is still in the stone age.

What? (2, Funny)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774239)

You mean China is going to make, manufacture, and use technology themselves without paying us royalties? I'm outraged. We're screwed.

Re:What? (2, Insightful)

v616 (971332) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774353)

It's not first day we know China and Japan able to copy other's idea and make a cheaper version for their people. ;) Difference is China make the stuff worst, Japan make it much better then original idea.

We talking about the same China? (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774689)

Since when have the Chinese bothered with piddling little things like royalties?

What if (1)

otacon (445694) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774325)

What if the government censors it, you might accidently walk off a cliff or something

Re:What if (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774749)

What if the government censors it, you might accidently walk off a cliff or something

Cliffs? What cliffs. China doesn't have any cliffs, nor do they engage in censorship!

Right, comrade?

Re:What if (1)

Snarfangel (203258) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774861)

What if the government censors it, you might accidently walk off a cliff or something

For some reason, I keep getting lost in Tiananmen Square.

Chinese opposite to the West (3, Insightful)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774337)

The Chinese are taking power away from corporations and giving it to their people, by making public services available for free. That is almost the opposite of what happens in the West.

Re:Chinese opposite to the West (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774545)

The Chinese are taking away power from the people and giving it to the Communist leadership, and thus making their people nearly prisoners/slaves. That is almost the opposite of what happens in the West.

Re:Chinese opposite to the West (1)

ettlz (639203) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774603)

Damn, beat me to it. Remember Chinese constitution Article 51, which starts "The exercise by citizens of the People's Republic of China of their freedoms and rights may not infringe upon the interests of the state."

Re:Chinese opposite to the West (1)

Erixxxxx (920617) | more than 7 years ago | (#16777487)

Which always cracks me up, considering that citizens exercising of their freedoms and rights is the only reason states exist in the first place.

Re:Chinese opposite to the West (4, Insightful)

Aim Here (765712) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775357)

The Chinese have taken away power from the people and given it to the state for the benefit of the ruling political elite and a number of friendly corporations, exploiting the people while spying on them and taking away their freedoms. That is just a more extreme case of what is currently happening in the West.

They're NOT communists... (2)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775463)

China is a totalitarian capitalist state... Hmm, I wondered where Rove got his ideas from.

 

Re:They're NOT communists... (2, Insightful)

Twiceblessedman (590621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16776527)

If only I had mod points you would get them. It's sad how most Americans call China communist when they haven't even read the communist manifesto. Hell, most scream that socialist welfare states in Europe are communist.

Re:Chinese opposite to the West (2, Insightful)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775805)

Power is flowing from the people to groups unaccountable to the people. This is happening in both nations.

Re:Chinese opposite to the West (1)

john_sheu (755802) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775961)

I am absolutely suffocating in the irony.

Re:Chinese opposite to the West (2, Interesting)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 7 years ago | (#16777695)

For a second I thought you were saying:

The US leadership are taking away power from the people and giving it to the Communist-detracting leadership, and thus making their people nearly prisoners/slaves. That is almost the expected to happen in the West.

captcha: propound

Chinese giving away nothing (1)

amightywind (691887) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775201)

The Chinese are taking power away from corporations and giving it to their people, by making public services available for free. That is almost the opposite of what happens in the West.

They take power from corporations and give it to the Peoples Liberation Army. By the way, GPS is free.

It took decades for the Air Force to learn how to manage a constellation of 24 satellites. It should be fun to watch China and Europe struggle with it.

Re:Chinese giving away nothing (2, Informative)

ningeo (1022283) | more than 7 years ago | (#16776477)

The Europeans have the advantage of learning from the mistakes made by the Air Force, as well as newer technology. GALILEO is a win-win for users, because it is causing the acceleration of the GPS program, GPS-III should be operational years ahead of schedule (and many augmentations originally slated for block III are now in IIF - launch starts 2007). When combined GALILEO/GPS recievers are released to market, the accuracy commonly available to civilians will increase because of the added frequencies and potentially better geometry. Another potential benefit could be a dramatically reduced barrier to entry in the GPS/GNSS reciever manufacturing and design industry. The current players are working hard now to keep their dominance when the new systems are operational.

As for the Chinese, I don't think they will 'struggle' all that much, but I guess time will tell. The fact that they will have a free to use segment just means that the system will actually be used by the public, instead of primarily the military.

Re:Chinese giving away nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16776725)

Why would it be fun? Are you assuming the Europeans and Chinese systems will be managed by buffoons?

Majority Rule (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774361)

I'm really looking forward to those "universal antennas" of all frequencies at once, run through parallel "software radios". I want my mobile devices to get competing GPS data for averaging. It's like having two or three eyes in the land of the blind.

Re:Majority Rule (1)

Colonel Sponsz (768423) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774581)

It's like having two or three eyes in the land of the blind.

Ah, you're referring to that old saying: "In the land of the blind, the man with the Geiger counter is king"

Re:Majority Rule (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774699)

I want my mobile devices to get competing GPS data for averaging. It's like having two or three eyes in the land of the blind.

In the US, with WAAS (in areas that it works well, not northern states), you can get down to 7 or 8 feet (on Interstates or areas with little to no tree cover). With a decent GPS unit (and WAAS) even under heavy tree cover you can get an average of 18 to 25 feet.

For most people that's fine. What are you looking to do that you need something more accurate than that and thus requiring a speedy CPU and large antenna?

Re:Majority Rule (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775035)

Not just accuracy, but reliability. I don't want the "infostructure" of the rest of my life, full of networked physical objects, to depend on one source of GPS, whether US, EU, China, or any one other. Politics is too unreliable. Competition among politics is the only stability we've got.

As for "speedy CPU and large antenna", that's why I'm talking about smart antennas, SW radios, all preferably on reconfigurable HW (like FPGA). Multiple GPS, multiple data networks, etc. Only when these mobile devices have ample signal diversity will they be reliable.

Re:Majority Rule (1)

Crystalmonkey (743087) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775573)

Actually, since everyone, or at least the majority of people, would be blind (in a blind society), most of the stuff would be geared towards them.



When we say something like "in the land of the blind..." we are generally assuming people would develop everything the same, which is just silly.



$0.02

Re:Majority Rule (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775755)

The idea is that the overall reality is more important than the convention within which everyone lives. So even a limited view of the reality can give the only person to have that view more power than everyone else. That power derives from knowledge of the true state of the world, not just the ignorant interactions of the people in it.

The king doesn't have to deal with most stuff in society, just the best stuff that he alone can see to pick.

In the realm beyond our senses, into which we extend with necessarily limited technology, we're all pretty blind in one way or another, often literally.

One can only hope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16774405)

...it will make them better drivers.

Sounds sensible. (5, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774445)

The economic benefit of free location services is so great, it makes sense for a country to provide this the same way as it provides a national highway system.

Furthermore, it'd simply be absurd to make your businesses pay all the costs to field a system they aren't allowed to use, and have them pay fees to get similar service from a foreign country. Such a policy would serve neither security nor economic interests. I'm all for private development of technologies, but I can't feel too badly for Galileo investors if they were counting on China to act in such an irrational way.

The resolution of the Chinese system isn't so great, so clearly there's a business opportunity for the private sector there to create subscription services, either to a competing system or to some kind of terrestially based correction service.

Re:Sounds sensible. (1)

Peet42 (904274) | more than 7 years ago | (#16776907)

And the Chinese gov't will ban "Western" systems too, no doubt. That way, if there's an insurrection they will have total control of the "switch" to turn off all non-military GPS systems, or better still to scramble them so they give misleading results.

How many do we need? (5, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774621)

Seriously, how many different navigation systems do we need?

Let's see, the U.S. has GPS. And the Europeans don't trust Americans, so they want Galileo. And the Russians don't want to admit that the Europeans could be better than them at anything, so they're keeping GLONASS around. The Chinese don't trust anybody, and nobody trusts the Chinese, so they have Beidou. The only thing we're missing is one by India (to compete with the Chinese), or maybe one just by France that's purposely incompatible with the rest of Europe's (is "SENAV" taken?).

How soon until the satellites start running into each other? (Yes, I know they won't really; it'll probably be radio spectrum that we run out of first.)

At least as it looks right now, the only system that's even going to be an improvement over GPS is Galileo, and even then it won't be by much. Seems like it would be a whole lot more productive to build systems that augment the signal already available from GPS, and then can call back to providing position itself if GPS goes out; then you'd be able to get higher precision. With higher precision signals, a whole lot of interesting things become possible: you can have automatic self-driving farm equipment (like John Deere's ground-based StarFire augmentation system), lower-cost aircraft navigation, all sorts of cool remote-sensing applications. If you thought that GPS in itself was cool, there are far more opportunities to use it, when you start talking about inch-accurate systems.

The duplication of effort seems mostly like a penis-length contest, and while I think competition in all things is generally good, I'm not sure that this is really happening for any rational reason. There are better uses that the investment and satellite space could be put towards, than simply overlapping each other's navigation systems.

Re:How many do we need? (1)

Cobalt Jacket (611660) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774727)

At least as it looks right now, the only system that's even going to be an improvement over GPS is Galileo, and even then it won't be by much.
Not only that, but GPS III will obsolete Galileo anyhow. I can understand the EU trying to do this for free for security and employment reasons, but charging for it is stupid. Who the hell is going to pay for use?

Re:How many do we need? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16774769)

Actually I believe India is already included in the european Galileo project. And GPS is being updated to support higher resolutions already. But I do generally agree with you :)

Re:How many do we need? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16774823)

and this is different from HD-DVD/BD-ROM wars or VHS/BETA wars how ? eventually the most popular system wins out.

Re:How many do we need? (5, Insightful)

Colonel Sponsz (768423) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774885)

The duplication of effort seems mostly like a penis-length contest, and while I think competition in all things is generally good, I'm not sure that this is really happening for any rational reason. There are better uses that the investment and satellite space could be put towards, than simply overlapping each other's navigation systems.

Actually, even though quite a lot of the aerospace industry is solely about countries comparing their orbital penises, this isn't one of those occasions - those are valid concerns. It's not about precision, it's reliability. We're seeing more and more critical systems switch over to satellite navigation (planes, boats, trucks, goods delivery systems in general, personal cars, even, as you say, tractors). You do not want your country's entire infrastructure in the hands of a single, potentially hostile, foreign power. Thus, every nation or block of nations with the resources to do so launches their own network.
A world-wide cooperative effort, that won't be jammed/shut down in case of war/diplomatic catfights, would of course be optimal - but that's Just Not Going to Happen (TM). It ranks up there with the "if we just sit down and talk, we can all get along!" theory of conflict solution.

Re:How many do we need? (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775515)

Here's the issue I take with that argument. As more and more critical systems begin to depend on GPS, suddenly pulling the rug out from under someone by denying service wouldn't be an invitation to war, it would be an act of war in itself.

The U.S. is not going to start a nuclear war with anyone; it has more to lose than anybody else. It's just not going to happen. And before people bring up Iraq as some sort of evidence of U.S. instability, realize that on the scale of things, attacking Iraq was like kicking a mangy dog in an alley; basically an act of frustration against a vastly inferior enemy. The U.S. body politic is not stupid, and far too covetous of its creature comforts, to engage in real war voluntarily.

The countries that are capable of launching their own navigation systems, are also the ones that the U.S. (or anyone else) isn't going to really go to war with -- because they also happen to be nuclear powers. No war between any two countries with satellite navigation systems -- the kind of war that would cause them to do something as provocative and disastrous as disabling the other's navigation capabilities -- would last more than twenty minutes. Once you establish that denial of navigation service would be nuclear-strike worthy, it just disappears off of the menu of available options.

And ballistic missiles, by the way, do not use GPS to find their targets.

Re:How many do we need? (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 7 years ago | (#16776441)

http://www.fas.org/spp/military/program/nssrm/init iatives/missile.htm [fas.org]

They're working on it, and that document is nine years old.

Re:How many do we need? (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16776693)

Well US missiles using US location services makes a small amount of sense. I'd still want something harder to spoof when dispensing death to millions.

Re:How many do we need? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16777147)

Most strategic nuclear missiles use a combination of inertial and celestial guidance so there there is nothing to jam.

For example, modern U.S. SLBMs have a hybrid system that uses both celestial navigation (useful only while the missile is at very high altitude, to obtain a position fix and adjust course) and inertial guidance for most of the rest of the flight. They get 'primed' with launch-position and target data by the submarine before launch as well.

You don't hear a lot about the celestial navigation systems, but they're a pretty obvious and elegant solution for what they do -- provide a way of driving a warhead to its target in a way that is nearly impossible to jam or recall. (Granted, what they do in the larger sense is arguably neither elegant nor obviously necessary, but that's a separate discussion.)

Re:How many do we need? (2, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775029)

I'm not sure that this is really happening for any rational reason.

It is happening for a perfectly rational reason. War.

Do you think that in the event of a war between the USA and China, it would be sensible of China to rely on a US system? Obviously not. With regards to Europe, if you'd have asked me ten years ago I would have said that replicating the US system was stupid as we are allies. Unfortunately events since then have changed, and I think it is wise for Europe to have it's own system as well. You never know what the future will bring...

Re:How many do we need? (1)

denoir (960304) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775181)

At least as it looks right now, the only system that's even going to be an improvement over GPS is Galileo, and even then it won't be by much.

The key difference isn't technical, but a question of control.

The big thing with Galileo is that it won't be controlled by a military but by a civilian administration. Given the development of world affairs in recent years it's perfectly reasonable for the Europeans to want an independent system. Europe is very dependent on the current GPS system and the US has clearly shown that it can't be trusted in terms of international agreements. While it is unlikely that the US would disrupt the service for European users, it is not an impossibility. The results of such a disruption would be disastrous and it's quite understandable that the EU doesn't want to take that chance.

Re:How many do we need? (1)

cunina (986893) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775455)

the US has clearly shown that it can't be trusted in terms of international agreements.

Such as? Are you referring to the US refusal to uphold UN Resolution 1441? Oh, wait, that was continental Europe. Do you mean agricultrual tarriffs under the WTO? Wait, that was Europe again. Which international agreements were you referring to, then?

Re:How many do we need? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16776637)

I think he was referring to the Retard in Chief. Nobody in hi right mind would trust that guy. "We're shutting them out of GPS as part of 'Operation Red White and Blue God Fearing True American Good Christians Against Smelly Europeans.' All people opposed to this may register complaints by lining up in Guantanamo."

Re:How many do we need? (2, Informative)

crotherm (160925) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775383)

At least as it looks right now, the only system that's even going to be an improvement over GPS is Galileo, and even then it won't be by much.


U.S. already has the new GPS IIF nearly ready for launch. And GPS III is in its early stages of life. The technology does not stand still.

Re:How many do we need? (4, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775447)

Let's see, the U.S. has GPS. And the Europeans don't trust Americans, so they want Galileo.


Well, GPS failure is said to be the cause of a European power outage [playfuls.com]

So what if the US suddenly decides it takes away GPS in certain parts of the world? look at it the other way around. What if Japan would have been had GPS and controlled it. Don't you think the US would want one for themselves? And rightfully so.

It isn't different for any other country.

Re:How many do we need? (2, Insightful)

de_valentin (934164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775779)

The Chinese system is made up of 4 geostationary satellites which means its of no use outside a specific area(mainly China). And being stationary it also has the problem that you cannot get a very good location. Not compareable to GPS, Galileo or even GLONASS. It will be usefull and accurate for the chinese because they will combine it with other GNSS's. And there are at least 2 more sytems planned. The Japanese started with a Quasi Zenith Satelite System that is also only useable in a very limited area. Then as you mentioned in India they also have plans, but it will take very long before you can see that. And I think that both the Europeans and the Americans will create a QZSS like the Japanese once they see how great it works. Allthough funding could become an issue in Europe.

That's essentially what I meant. (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16776387)

That's pretty interesting.

Actually, systems like the Japanese one are really the sort of alternatives I was proposing to the wheel-reinvention of simply making "another GPS."

From an an article on Japan's system [gpsworld.com] , "although the QZSS is seen primarily as an augmentation to GPS, without requirements or plans for it to work in standalone mode, QZSS can provide limited accuracy positioning on its own." That seems like a good approach, which the Europeans might want to consider. Rather than simply pretending GPS doesn't exist, it augments it when available, providing an enhanced level of service and enabling new applications. (*cough* self-driving cars... *cough*) However it could also fall back and provide actual positioning in the absence of GPS if really necessary. (Although the Japanese don't seem particularly concerned in that regard, it shows that such a system would be capable of it.)

If that's the kind of system that China is building, then more power to them; I think the Europeans would be smart to follow the same path. Although actually, what would be best, is if the various national governments making their incompatible national GPS-augmentation systems, agreed on a univeral standard (or at least standard frequency band, so the receivers could be physically the same). Probably wishful thinking there, but a system like that would probably lengthen the life of the current-generation GPS system while providing the kind of accuracy that won't be available worldwide without a huge investment in new satellites (GPSIII).

Re:How many do we need? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16776217)

You should read about GPS III.

Rumor has it it'll be accurate to about 1.5 CM.

Then Galileo will really be screwed.

Re:How many do we need? (3, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 7 years ago | (#16777047)

The duplication of effort seems mostly like a penis-length contest, and while I think competition in all things is generally good, I'm not sure that this is really happening for any rational reason. There are better uses that the investment and satellite space could be put towards, than simply overlapping each other's navigation systems.

Then you really simply don't get it. That's like saying "geez, why do we all print separate currencies, when we all could just be more efficient if we printed one and all used that..."

1) the ability to determine one's position on earth is vitally important, commercially, navigationally, and of course, tactically.

2) Whoever builds such a system, controls it. They can make it available as selectively or narrowly as they want. This availability can change over time.

3) Sometimes states don't like each other. When the disagreement becomes strong enough, sometimes they will try to mess with each other, and even occasionally fight. When this fighting happens (aka "war") one typically tries to hinder one's opponent as much as possible. As 'soft' methods of conflict go, locking them out of a positioning system as a not-so-subtle diplomatic move is benign enough that it's an attractive early option, so it's pretty likely to be used.
As much as the Europeans are building Galileo because the evil US 'controls' GPS and they want an "open" system, if we ever see another general world war you can bet that Galileo would NOT remain universally available, either. To fail to build in the capacity to limit availability would be strategically stupid. (What would of course be curious is another European war - could the French turn off Galileo to the Germans?)

4) Security trumps economy. Tanks and guns provide no food directly, they simply COST an economy some wealth that could be used more beneficially, but is 'wasted' in essence as insurance against the actions of a future enemy. This is PRECISELY the same thing. Each country/group that can afford it, will build their own system as the value of having it 'unblockable' trumps the vulnerability of sharing resources.

Sucks... (2, Interesting)

Mullen (14656) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774743)

But things appear to have changed in Beijing. On 2 November, the country's official news agency Xinhua reported that Beidou would, from 2008, begin providing an "open" level of service, with 10-metre accuracy, in addition to its "authorised", encrypted military service.

10 Meter accuracy? That sucks to honest. I just about get 3 meter accuracy all the time with my $150 unit, today. Why would I want to use this and pay a license fee to do so?

Re:Sucks... (1)

LindseyJ (983603) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775409)

I think you've missed the entire point of the story.

10 meters (1)

javcrapa (594448) | more than 7 years ago | (#16776719)

Is fine for a GPS unit, my average here in Costa Rica, with a Garmin Rino 130 is 13 meters. In the us the precision is better due to the WAAS

Kind of like MicroSuse eh? (0, Troll)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 7 years ago | (#16774767)

Invest some $$ in project X then subvert the system and cause damage from within.

This applies to this situation and the M$/Novell deal..

"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. And enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear."

  -Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.)

A dark day for GPS (2, Funny)

Asrynachs (1000570) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775011)

The trouble with China offering free GPS is it's all gonna be censored. Anything the government deems unacceptable won't show up on the GPS device. Things like lakes and rivers will both be blotted out since they are commonly associated with revolution and high volume disobediance. The houses of suspected revolunionaries also won't show up, so they'll have to actually tell friends and relatives directions to their house rather than just let them use GPS to find their way. On the ironic side the government won't be able to come and arrest the revolutionaries since after their houses are blotted out they won't know where they live either.

It is indeed a dark day for GPS

Re:A dark day for GPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16776107)

"On the ironic side the government won't be able to come and arrest the revolutionaries since after their houses are blotted out they won't know where they live either."

Read TFA a bit more carefully: The government will use the encrypted signal on their GPS units to find the "criminals" houses...

Re:A dark day for GPS (1)

shawngarringer (906569) | more than 7 years ago | (#16778737)

Do you even understand how GPS works?

The receivers figure out where they're at on t heir own. And then use software locally to display maps...

There is no way you can block an area in GPS short of just jamming the signal locally at that area.

Lets think about this for a second (0, Troll)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775123)

China, a known totalitatian dictatorship, is making and freely supplying to its citizens, a system by which those citizens' geographic location can be constantly tracked.

Does ANYONE think that the Chinese government might have an ulterior motive?

Re:Lets think about this for a second (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16777125)

Here comes the cluetrain:

GPS receivers don't transmit.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled idiocy.

Re:Lets think about this for a second (1)

foxylad (950520) | more than 7 years ago | (#16777401)

And then think for another second... GPS by itself is no use for tracking things remotely - it is a passive system that allows the receiver to know exactly where it is. The satellites have no idea where the receivers are, or even if they exist.

To monitor a device remotely, you then have to add a transmitter which sends the device's location - easy enough to do for a limited number of receivers, but doing it on a whole population scale (as some are suggesting) would be nigh impossible.

More precise? (4, Interesting)

3ryon (415000) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775431)

It seems to me that if you had a GPS device that could understand signals from all of the systems you would have a large increase in precision. Each system says you are at point A +/- some distance (effectively a circle with point A in the middle). Unless point A is EXACTLY the same for each system, and I can't imagine it would be, then you get three overlapping circles. You now know that you can only be in the area where the three circles overlap. Any area outside of the overlap is now known to be wrong. Am I right?

Re:More precise? (1)

PermanentMarker (916408) | more than 7 years ago | (#16776011)

in fact GPS of rusia america and europa are compatible.
And precize till about 4 metres (not 10 as in the article).
however the more precize positions are encrypted.

to make it more intresting the europian encryption method had been cracked a few weeks after launch of the first satelite, probaply fixed now.

Altough personaly i think a good programmer can fix this error, just by some math (i'm thinking of calculating true satelite positions, based on angle at horizon, height and speed and weight of satelite) nahh only a geek would understand that.

Re:More precise? (3, Informative)

ningeo (1022283) | more than 7 years ago | (#16776793)

See my posts above, but essentially... yes, it is possible to get a better position. The methods are different from what you have described however. If the same receiver can receive signals from all of the systems, there are more satellites available giving you the potential for better geometry. Another big factor is the addition of a third frequency, which carries another civilian-accessible code, this signal will allow the effect of the ionosphere to be removed from the range measurements, meaning that your position accuracy will increase.

Receivers that can use both GPS and GLONASS signals already exist, but they do not treat the two systems as separate, they use all the available information from both together to generate the best possible solution. The catch? Price. A receiver capable of GPS and GLONASS measurements will undoubtedly also be capable of carrier-phase measurements and receiving both L1 and L2. This type of receiver will have a geodetic type antenna (not the kind you can carry in your pocket), and probably cost on the order of $10,000-$30,000. These are widely used in land surveying, you are unlikely to find someone who owns one without using it to make a living.

For info on these high-end receivers, see http://trimble.com/ [trimble.com] , http://leica.com/ [leica.com] , http://novatel.com/ [novatel.com] , or http://professional.magellangps.com/en/ [magellangps.com]

Re:More precise? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16777651)

Only if the circles are the same size. If one is somewhat larger than the others, it isn't going to give you much additional data. Also, if you let a fancy enough gps sit still for a while, it shrinks it's own circle anyway, having another very similar circle isn't going to help all that much.

Re:More precise? (1)

kitplane01 (245414) | more than 7 years ago | (#16778601)

Unfortunately, all of the satellite systems suffer from the same source of inaccuracy ... the atmosphere. so if one shows you slighty too far west, likely they all for the same reason. Yes, having a combined mode reciever will help, but not as much as you might think. Suprisingly, the best thing to augment GPS-like systems would be LORAN. Enhanced Loran is at least as precise as GPS, much harder to jam, and most importanly suffers from different errors than GPS. Enhanced Loran can even be used to send GPS correction data via it's data channel.

Re:More precise? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16778845)

It seems to me that if you had a GPS device that could understand signals from all of the systems you would have a large increase in precision. Each system says you are at point A +/- some distance (effectively a circle with point A in the middle). Unless point A is EXACTLY the same for each system, and I can't imagine it would be, then you get three overlapping circles. You now know that you can only be in the area where the three circles overlap. Any area outside of the overlap is now known to be wrong. Am I right?
---------------------

Well, your reasoning is generally correct, but that is not exactly the way it would work. When you get into the details, reality tends to get more complicated. Those circles you are talking about as a representation of the accuracy, really refer to a percentage of time your accuracy will be within the given circle. Sometimes you will be outside the circle, so it is not necessarily true that if you have 3 signals, you will be inside the overlapping areas of those circles. For example, even if you have a "3 meter accurate" signal, you will probably be 6 meters off occasionally. If they all had the same level of accuracy, you would probably get a better solution by averaging the three inputs, but in reality, each system probably has significantly different accuracy. If one signal was 2 meter accuracy, and the other was 20 meter accuracy, you would just degrade your solution if you simply averaged them (for two signals). So you would want to weight things toward the more accurate systems. Now, that is doable. If you had a ground station, over time, you could accurately characterize the accuracy of each system, and then develop an optimum algorithm to weigh them according to their accuracies. - Vector J

but their compass points south! (4, Interesting)

peter303 (12292) | more than 7 years ago | (#16775553)

Inside joke. The Chinese word for compass is "south pointing device". Thats because they first used it for geomancy, where "good energy" comes from the south. The Vikings and other Europeans used the compass as a navigational aid for when the north star was occluded, so the European compass points north.

Re:but their compass points south! (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 7 years ago | (#16776663)

Funny I guess, but technically its correct. Your compass aligns itself with a magnetic field. So if you payed attention in your electromagnetics/physics 2 class, you would know that the geographic north is the magnetic south pole. The Chinese were right all along.

wait a minute, China is a major invester in Galieo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16775607)

From Wiki, In September 2003, China joined the Galileo project. China will invest 230 million (USD296 million, GBP160 million) in the project over the next few years. Does this mean China will bail out of the Galileo project and develop their own Beidou? Is Beidou already operational?

Out of curiosity... (1)

Noxx (74567) | more than 7 years ago | (#16776267)

What happens when you try to locate Tienanmen Square [slashdot.org] ?
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