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Monday, 10 January 2011 11:32

Japan wants its own GPS system

Written by Nick Farell

Just can't trust the Yanks
It seems that no one in the world wants to trust the US GPS system these days.

For a few years now the EU has been planning to stick up its own GPS system into space, Russia is making improvements to its system and now the Japanese want one of their own. In September, Japan launched a rocket carrying its first satellite intended to improve GPS systems widely used by Japanese motorists for navigation as well as by aviation and maritime operators. The government's space development strategy headquarters, headed by Prime Minister Naoto Kan, is now discussing plans to launch additional satellites.

Why is it that countries are not that happy with the US system? Well it is a little out of date, but there is also a fear that the US might start using it as leverage in any diplomatic crisis. It also would give GPS to countries that the US might not like. (There's no shortage of those. sub.ed.)

According to Yomiuri Shimbun daily reported that Japan had decided to launch six to seven new satellites to establish its own GPS system by 2014 and 2015 to cover the entire Asia-Pacific region. The US system is getting a little elderly anyway and many of the new systems coming online are expected to be a lot more accurate.

Nick Farell

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+16 #1 Regenweald 2011-01-10 12:12
China and India are also rocking out with COMAPSS and IRNSS respectively, personally I'm glad, military frequencies aside, these systems make a lot of valuable info freely available to GIS and GNSS profesionals, especially GALILEO which was designed with civil use as a priority. So go Japan :-)
+5 #2 Bl0bb3r 2011-01-10 17:36
It would have been nice if they would unite their resources and create a truly civil global system instead of several localized ones.
+2 #3 Regenweald 2011-01-10 19:03
Quoting Bl0bb3r:
It would have been nice if they would unite their resources and create a truly civil global system instead of several localized ones.

In a perfect world, I agree, but that is too many governments with too many agendas. also, each localized constellation bring with them different advantages and disadvantages which help to provide unique datasets for comparison. A good thing ;-)
+1 #4 Bl0bb3r 2011-01-10 20:25
Yes, but they will cost the average tourist a lot, never-mind the companies that do shipping, in which case a single system like GPS would be preferred over several ones. I think, for now each will go its own way because of the apparent advantages, and when that will fail they will unite.
+2 #5 function69 2011-01-10 22:53
The Russians already have their own called GLONASS
+2 #6 hoohoo 2011-01-11 00:31
Any self respecting 1st world country wants a GPS system that it controls. GPS has proven to be a "killer" application of satellite+compu ter tech. GPS is so important that it is hard to explain how important GPS is.

GPS is important economically and militarily. It can not have escaped Tokyo's notice that the USA may not be able to protect Japan going forward...

JP could depend on the USA or the Russian or the EU (does it exist in fact though I do not know) systems but it would be beholden to the owner of the system. GPS is too important to risk losing access or resolution when it matters.
+1 #7 hoohoo 2011-01-11 00:38
@Bl0bb3r & "a truly civil global system".

I agree wholeheartedly, but until anyone at all can launch a satellite I do not see a joint, might I even say open-source-model inspired, GPS system coming into being.

The military application of GPS is still too important, and military action still too important an option, for the big economies to really cooperate on GPS.

That really sucks and I hate it, but so sad that's the way it is right now.

The big powers understood that common security was the way out of the nuke arms race, but they still think they can use smart bombs safely.

They are twits, I say.
+5 #8 JAB Creations 2011-01-11 03:35
As an American I don't blame them for not trusting the government in America because I don't either.
+4 #9 hoohoo 2011-01-11 05:58
Quoting JAB Creations:
As an American I don't blame them for not trusting the government in America because I don't either.

Hehehe my USA friend, it's not just your gov't that ought not be trusted. And FWIW the USA via it's constitution has best of class legal structure to limit the power of it's gov't.

Never forget that your country (USA) which best amongst nations codified in law the limits and rights of it's parts-of-gov't became the predominant political and economic power in the past 80 years.

What I really wish could happen is that Americans in large would stop doubting the value of their political system. It's a good system, representative democracy... but it is vulnerable to an attack of 'suspicion'.
+2 #10 hoohoo 2011-01-11 06:13
@JAB but not specifically:

There is a problem with the word "trust" in relation to the gov't lately.

At one time to "not trust the gov't" meant to have a healthy skepticism.

The 3 decades - since say the Carter & Reagan presidencies - "not trust" has increasingly meant "expect the worst of".

Both sides of the L/R spectrum have played this game and it has not been productive.

I don't think that Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama had a goal of destroying the USA. These guys dealt with the situation to the best of their ability, sometimes they did well, sometimes not so well.

The attacks on presidents (as if they had a king's powers) amount IMNSHO to attack on a valid political system, the prez L or R.

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