China's Beidou Navigation System Goes Live For Commercial And Public Use

For most smartphone owners, GPS has become an outright necessity. From navigation to deals apps that look at your present location to present offerings to you, there's a lot to be said about global positioning. But over the years, we've seen a few variations. There's GLONASS, for instance, and now China is predictably rolling out a variation of its own. China has long since made proprietary variations of wireless technologies. Some of its cellular waves are incompatible with radios elsewhere in the world, for example. This week, the nation launched commercial and public services of its Beidou satellite navigation system, which covers the entire Asia-Pacific rim.

Trials on the technology started last year, but the latest milestone is putting it live and in action. Citizens in the Asia-Pac region can now navigation using the satellites to a distance of 30 feet, and supporting speeds as low as 0.5mph. Presently, China has 16 navigation satellites up in the air, as well as four "experimental" models. By the time 2020 rolls around, China is hoping that its technology will blanket the whole world, with as many as 40 birds in orbit.

The goal here was to provide a system that it had control of, in order to not necessarily rely on systems like America's GPS, Russia's GLONASS and the EU's Galileo. Hey, the more GPS the better, right?
Tags:  GPS, navigation, China