NavIC, that is one name you might want to remember since there is a possibility that you will be hearing it every time someone loses their way, soon. We are talking about India’s homemade, global positioning system that is slated to go online next year.
Speaking on the topic,Tapan Misra, the director of Ahmedabad-based Space Application Centre (SAC). said:
The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) with an operational name of NavIC is currently being tested for its accuracy and is most likely to be available in the market for public use early next year.
In order to complete its indigenous global positioning network, India needed a total of seven satellites in space. The seventh was put into orbit last year and since then, we have been awaiting the launch of our very own GPS. And the system will be significantly more accurate than the GPS powered by American satellites, that is commonly deployed everywhere.
Though American GPS with 24 satellites in a constellation has wider reach and covers the entire world, NavIC with seven satellites covers only India and its surroundings but is more accurate than the American system. NavIC will provide standard positioning service to all users with a position accuracy of 5 metre. The GPS, on the other hand, has a position accuracy of 20-30 metre.
The country first embarked upon the project when the US denied India GPS information during the Kargil war, due to its own vested interests. With the NavIC system, India along with the US, Russia, and the EU, is one of the select countries to have this capability.
Meanwhile, academic institutions have been brought on to do the ground verification and calibrate NavIC data so as to calculate the same’s accuracy. The system is already being tested across the country and once it is fully operational, marketing will start.
Our system has dual frequency (S and L bands). GPS is dependent only on L band. When low frequency signal travels through atmosphere, its velocity changes due to atmospheric disturbances. US banks on atmospheric model to assess frequency error and it has to update this model from time to time to assess the exact error. In India’s case, we measure the difference in delay of dual frequency (S and L bands) and can assess the actual delay. Therefore NavIC is not dependent on any model to find the frequency error and is more accurate than GPS.
The system is capable of doing everything the GPS can, and more. From terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation, to army and air force purposes. vehicle tracking and fleet management, disaster management, visual and voice navigation — you name it, and NavIC can handle it.
NavIC will cover the entire country, Indian Ocean and its surroundings. In the west, the system will have a reach till eastern parts of Arabian peninsula and in the east, some parts of China. In the south, NavIC signals will work till Malaysia.