Americans and Europeans close on satellite navigation agreement

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

Washington DC – The United States and European Union are close to linking up their respective satellite navigation systems to improve reliability and accuracy for users on the ground.  According to State Department officials, the pact would allow dual-mode ground receivers to use signals from both American GPS and European Union’s Galileo satellites.

Such receivers would presumably be more accurate since they would be able to potentially see double the number of satellites they do today.  The GPS network currently employs 30 satellites and the Galileo system will eventually also have 30 satellites by 2010.

Dual-mode receivers would also be redundant because a hardware or software failure in one navigation system shouldn’t affect the other.  Radiation from big solar flares would probably still be able to temporarily knock other both systems.

Raymond Clore, GPS advisor to the US State Department, told Reuters that he expects dual-use receivers to become popular, adding that single network satellite navigation units will eventually phase out in time.