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GPS vs. GLONASS Tracking System: The Best GNSS for Tracking Applications

  • Akansha Sharma
  • Mar 20, 2024
  • RFID
GPS vs. GLONASS Tracking System: The Best GNSS for Tracking Applications

GPS and GLONASS, both are highly efficient global navigation satellite systems, offering reliable and accurate navigation with global coverage. Both use a large constellation of satellites orbiting the earth to accurately position and track objects and individuals with GPS receiver. 

The modern navigation and tracking system has evolved tremendously and now we have various technologies such as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), UWB (Ultra Wide Band), GPS, and RFID that are increasingly used in asset tracking and indoor/outdoor location tracking, depending upon the particular use case. 

Technologies like GPS (Global Positioning System) and GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System) stand out as leaders in GNSS, providing accurate and reliable tracking capabilities, especially in outdoor navigation and tracking applications. 

GPS, developed and maintained by the United States, and GLONASS, operated by Russia, offer global coverage and are widely utilized across various industries. GPS was developed by the United States Department of Defense in the 1970s and became fully operational in 1995. 

GLONASS, on the other hand, was developed by the Soviet Union (Russia) in the 1970s as a response to the GPS. GLONASS reached full operational capability in 1995, coinciding with the completion of the GPS. Like GPS, GLONASS was initially used for military purposes but was later made available for civilian use in vehicle navigation and tracking.

 In terms of market share, GPS has historically been the dominant player in the global navigation satellite system (GNSS) market, thanks to its early development in the 90s, widespread adoption, and extensive constellation of satellites. GPS enjoys a significant market share across various industries, including transportation, logistics, agriculture, and outdoor recreation.

 Understanding the differences between GPS and GLONASS

When it comes to tracking systems, GPS and GLONASS are the two prominent players in the market. GPS consists of a constellation of at least 24 satellites orbiting the Earth. Whereas GLONASS is operated by the Russian Aerospace Forces, GLONASS comprises a constellation of around 24 satellites as well. GPS satellites orbit the Earth at an altitude of approximately 20,000 kilometers in six orbital planes. GLONASS satellites orbit the Earth at an altitude of around 19,100 kilometers in three orbital planes.

In terms of frequency band, GPS satellites transmit signals in the L1 (1575.42 MHz) and L2 (1227.60 MHz) frequency bands. Also, GLONASS satellites transmit signals in the L1 (1598.0625-1609.3125 MHz) and L2 (1242.9375-1251.6875 MHz) frequency bands. Both GPS and GLONASS can be integrated with other satellite navigation systems, such as Galileo (European Union) and BeiDou (China), to enhance accuracy, reliability, and global coverage.

GPS vs. GLONASS Tracking System: The Best GNSS for Tracking Applications

 Advantages of GPS tracking System

GPS has established itself as the industry standard for tracking applications. One of the key advantages of GPS is its extensive satellite network, which ensures better coverage and availability in most parts of the world. With a constellation of 24 active satellites, GPS can provide highly accurate location data, making it suitable for a wide range of applications, from vehicle tracking to personal navigation.

Another advantage of GPS is its compatibility with various devices and platforms. GPS receivers are widely available and integrated into smartphones, vehicles, and other devices. The accuracy of GPS positioning is also worth noting. Multiple satellites triangulate the receiver's position, and GPS can provide precise location data with a margin of error within a few meters. 

Advantages of GLONASS Tracking System

 While GPS is the more well-known system, GLONASS offers its own set of advantages that make it a worthy competitor. One of the key benefits of GLONASS is its improved performance in high latitudes and urban environments. Due to the positioning of its satellites, GLONASS can provide better coverage in areas close to the poles or regions with tall buildings, where GPS signals may be obstructed.

 Time to first fix (TTFF) refers to the time it takes for a tracking system to acquire satellite signals and calculate the receiver's position. GLONASS typically has a quicker fix time compared to GPS, which is advantageous in scenarios where rapid positioning is necessary.

 Furthermore, GLONASS offers increased redundancy. With its constellation of 24 active satellites, GLONASS provides a backup in case of GPS signal outages or disruptions.

GPS vs GLONASS: Which is better for Tracking Applications?

When it comes to choosing between GPS and GLONASS for tracking applications, there is no definitive answer. The decision depends on various factors, including the specific use case, availability, geographic location, and required level of accuracy.

 If you operate in an area with good GPS coverage and primarily require accurate positioning, GPS may be the preferred choice. Its extensive satellite network and widespread adoption make it a reliable and accessible option than GLONASS for most tracking applications.

Factors to consider when choosing a GNSS Tracking System

When evaluating GPS and GLONASS tracking systems, it's essential to consider several factors to make an informed decision:

 1) Coverage and availability

Assess the coverage and availability of both systems in your area of operation. Check for any potential obstructions or limitations that may affect the performance of either system.

2) Accuracy requirements

Determine the level of accuracy you need for your tracking applications. Consider whether GPS or GLONASS can meet your accuracy requirements, keeping in mind the potential impact of factors like atmospheric conditions and signal interference.

 3) Compatibility

Evaluate the compatibility of GPS and GLONASS with your existing devices or platforms. Ensure that the tracking system you choose integrates seamlessly with your current infrastructure.

4) Cost

Consider the cost implications of implementing a GPS or GLONASS tracking system. Evaluate the upfront expenses, ongoing maintenance costs, and any additional fees associated with each system.

5) Redundancy and reliability

Assess the redundancy and reliability offered by GPS and GLONASS. Consider the backup options available in case of system failures or signal disruptions.

 To conclude, the future of GNSS tracking systems looks promising. With ongoing developments in satellite technology and the emergence of new players in the market, tracking systems are becoming more accurate, reliable, and accessible than ever before. GPS and GLONASS remain the frontrunners in the field, each with its unique strengths and advantages. GPS is preferred in regions where GPS signals are strong and reliable, while GLONASS may offer better coverage and accuracy in areas where GPS signals are obstructed or limited.


Frequently Asked Questions on GPS and GLONASS

 Q1) What is the difference between GPS and GLONASS tracking systems?

 GPS (Global Positioning System) is a satellite-based navigation system developed and maintained by the United States, while GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System) is a similar system developed and operated by Russia.

Q2) Which GNSS system is more accurate: GPS or GLONASS?

 Both GPS and GLONASS offer comparable levels of accuracy in tracking applications. However, the combination of GPS and GLONASS receivers can provide even greater accuracy and reliability.

Q3) In which situations would I choose GPS over GLONASS, and vice versa?

 The choice between GPS and GLONASS depends on factors such as location, environment, and specific tracking requirements. In general, GPS is preferred in regions where GPS signals are strong and reliable, while GLONASS may offer better coverage and accuracy in areas where GPS signals are obstructed or limited.


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  • Created on Feb 16, 2024
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