Satellite locating is the simple answer to the question: Where am I or my object?
Years ago it was unthinkable to get an own position by a “satellite navigation technology”. The first navigation satellite was launched to the orbit on February 22nd 1978.
But today, almost 40 years later, it is totally different. GNSS (Global navigation satellite systems) are already installed, mostly full operational, but not only by the United States (named “GPS”) , but also from the USSR (named “GLONASS”) and China (named “Baidou”) and also by the European Union (named “Galileo”)

GPS is the GNSS system operated by the US. It consists of 32 operational satellites orbiting the Earth on 6 different orbital planes. They orbit at a height of 20.180km.
GLONASS is the GNSS system currently operated by the Russian Defense Ministry.
It consists of 21 + 3 reserve satellites since 2011 in operation. They orbit at a height of 19.100km.
GALILEO is the GNSS system being developed by the EU. Actually there are 18 satellties in the Orbit and at the end the system will consist of 30 satellites at a height of 23.222km.
BEIDOU is the GNSS system operated by the Republic of China. It consists of 25 operational satellites at a height of 22.000km.

Reason for the four different systems is, that the Nations want to be independent from the US GNSS system, also another target was and is to precise the positioning information and to offer further services as SAR (Search and Rescue) functions and open services.

What influence do these different systems have to the existing navigation processing today and in the future.
Frankly, no big influence at the moment.
Most of the existing navigation (Electronic Chart plotter) systems and AIS systems (AIS stands for Automatic Identification system) do use the data from the US GNSS system, GPS.
For surveying, navigation, positioning where high precision is not necessary, the future will not change.
Whether the GNSS signal is received by GPS or GALILEO or GLONASS or BEIDOU it will not make any difference for these kine of users.
This implements also the market of commercial vessel monitoring and the marine domain awareness.

National Defense Organisations however will use their own GNSS system for higher precision and nation confidential added values to the positioning.

It is not to be foreseen, that the actual way of determining a position for the maritime market will change in the next decade.
In contradiction to land based position determining. In 2010 there was already the try from the Russian confederation to allow import of smartphones only if these are able to position by means of the GLONASS GNSS system.
This kind of “import strategy” will probable not be applicable for the Marine Area, as the vessels will sail in international waters and so these vessels will be able to catch other GNSS systems too. But it is not to exclude that maybe Russian Authorities might require systems on board of vessels which work with the Russian GNSS system. Not to be seen today, but who knows?

To be prepared for these kind of national protégésim some innovative manufactures do already built in flexible multi receiving systems.
The build in GNSS antennas and processors into the modern devices are able to work with one, two or even three different GNSS systems.
As an example, the latest development of an AIS (Automatic Identification System) based PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) for inflatable lifejackets from the company Weatherdock in Germany, the “easyRESCUE-PRO AIS SART” is able to catch and process GNSS data from the US based GPS system and the Russian based GLONASS system.

The next generation will be able to cover GPS, GLONASS and GALILEO, too.

For the user of an AIS PLB this won´t give direct advantages as these devices do transmit the catched position only in the case of an emergency, but then it might help to process the position of the victim in the water faster, more precisely and system independently to rescue the person and to save lifes.
Two big European Navies are already using this device for their military sailors in a quantity clearly above 10.000 units.
These European well known Navies did decide for the devices “easyRESCUE” due to reliability, high end technology and certification expertise these devices do have.
Weatherdock is the world market leader in AIS based, commercial vessels approved, personal locator beacons. For further information please contact the company Weatherdock under

Über die Weatherdock AG

Weatherdock Cooperation, Germany (Founded 2003)
• World leader in AIS based, commercial vessels approved, personal locator beacons in the VHF band
• Founder of the year 2008
• Among the best 100 midsize companies in Germany (12.000 applicants for that award!)
• Winner of the 2018 Bavarian Export Award in Category “Industry”

Firmenkontakt und Herausgeber der Meldung:

Weatherdock AG
Emmericher Strasse 17
90411 Nürnberg
Telefon: +49 (911) 376638-30
Telefax: +49 (911) 376638-40

Michael Knipp
Head of Marketing & PR
Telefon: +49 (911) 376638-32
Alfred Kotouczek-Zeise
Telefon: +49 (911) 376638-30
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