World News: Russia and China join Europe in the GPS challenge

World News:  Russia and China join Europe in the GPS challenge

According to a recent article, the Russian space agency plans to launch eight navigation satellites by the end of the year.

Russia’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) is expected to begin operating over Russian territory and parts of adjacent Europe and Asia, and then go global in 2009 to compete with America’s GPS.

Meanwhile, China has already sent up satellites to create its own system – Baidu.

And despite delays, the European Union’s Galileo system is another challenger in what is, at the moment, a US-dominated satellite navigation market.

According to the GPS Industry Council, the global market for GPS devices hit $15 billion last year, and is growing at 25% – 30% every year.

Apart from the provision of directions for drivers, potential uses for sat nav include the platform for services such as location-specific advertising.

But a major driver behind the GPS challenge is the knowledge that the US system, which was originally developed for use by and is still controlled by the military, could be switched off in the event of a national crisis or threat to US security.

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