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What does GNSS mean?


GNSS stands for Global Navigation Satellite System.  GNSS consists of a constellation of satellites (normally >24) in orbit around the earth that provide ranging signals from which a compatible receiver is able to calculate its position, velocity and time accurately - a PVT solution (see FAQ11212 what is PVT?).  The following are currently operational and future intended GNSS:

  • GPS
    • the American Global Positioning System
    • the Russian GLObal NAvigation Satellite System
    • the European Union's Satellite Positioning System
  • BeiDou-2
    • the Chinese Satellite Positioning System 

Other regional satellite navigation systems (note regional so not GNSS!) 

  • BeiDou-1 (Chinese)
  • IRNSS (Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System)
  • QZSS (Quasi-Zenith Satellite System a Japanese enhancement for GPS)
  • SBAS (Satellite Based Augmentation System) for GPS
    • WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System - maintained by the FAA )
    • EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service - maintained by ESA)
    • MSAS (Multi-functional Satellite Augmentation System - maintained by Japan)
    • GAGAN (GPS Aided Geo-Augmented Navigation - maintained by India)


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