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Daily Drip

China’s Version of GPS is Better, Says US Satellite Receiver Company

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In 1978, the US launched the first of the satellites that now make up the Global Positioning System, which for a long time was the world’s only such navigation option.

Now, China has entered the ring with its Beidou Positioning System, and its early results are impressive.

According to data from US satellite receiver company Trimble, capital cities for 165 of 195 major countries are observed more frequently by Beidou satellites than by GPS.

Related:

China Will Complete Its Own Version of GPS in 2020

By observing positions more frequently, Beidou is able to produce more accurate representations, with some of this capability coming from connections with low-cost, Chinese-made smartphones. The full Beidou constellation consists of 35 satellites, compared to the Global Positioning System’s 24.

The Beidou program began development in 1994, launching its first satellite in 2000. Now fully operational, the technology is part of China’s push to decrease reliance on US-controlled infrastructure.

Adan Kohnhorst
Adan Kohnhorst is a Shanghai-based writer, producer, and multimedia artist, and the Associate Editor at RADII. His work has been featured in publications such as Maxim and the Chinese-language StreetVoice, and he’s an active member of the hip hop and DIY music scenes in Shanghai, NYC, and Dallas. He learned Mandarin in high school so he could train at the Shaolin Temple, but now just uses it to interview rappers. He blogs about China and Asia on Instagram: @this.is.adan