GLONASS GPS: What’s the Difference between them?
The Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) includes constellations of satellites orbiting over the earth’s surface and continuously transmitting signals that enable users to determine their position. GLONASS GPS are examples of GNSS constellations.
The Global Positioning System (GPS) refers to the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System, a constellation of satellites developed by the United States Department of Defence (DoD). Originally, the Global Positioning System was developed for military use, but was later made accessible to civilians as well. GPS is now the most widely used GNSS satellite constellation in the world, and its network of 30+ satellites and 6 orbital planes provides continuous positioning and timing information globally, under any weather conditions.
GLONASS is an acronym, which stands for Globalnaya Navigazionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema; translated from Russian, this means Global Navigation Satellite System. GLONASS is currently operated by the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces, and provides real time position and velocity determination for both military and civilian uses. Development of GLONASS began in 1976 in the Soviet Union, and was restored and finished in the early 2000s when it became a top government priority. Today, GLONASS has a network of 24 satellites with 3 orbital planes, covering not only 100% of Russia’s territory, but the earth as a whole.
GLONASS GPS Feature Comparison
Presently, there are no major differences between the two systems when it comes to features, global coverage, or precision. However, GLONASS’ orbit makes it better suited for usage in the Northern Hemisphere than in the Southern Hemisphere, due to a higher number of ground stations in these locations. The most significant difference between GLONASS / GPS is the way in which they communicate with receivers. With GPS, satellites use the same radio frequencies but have different codes for communication, while GLONASS satellites have the same codes but use different frequencies, allowing satellites on the same orbital plane to communicate with one another.
While GLONASS was originally created as an alternative to GPS, we are now seeing major benefits to the two systems simultaneously working together, rather than independently, to provide precise location positioning anywhere on earth. The inclusion of all 55 satellites available around the world between GLONASS GPS produces much greater accuracy, especially in urban canyons.