GPS Vs. GLONASS Vs. Galileo Explained

8 Apr 2024

Everyone’s heard of GPS, but have you heard of GLONASS and Galileo? In the world of Global
Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), all three are important. Below, we’ll go over each of these
three major GNSS.


People may often confuse GNSS with GPS. Global Positioning System (GPS), was the first type
of GNSS that was created by the United States Air Force in 1978. By April 1995, GPS included
global coverage.

So if you’re talking about global navigational systems in general, technically GNSS is correct,
not GPS.

The U.S. GNSS uses 32 satellites arranged into 6 orbital planes, each of which has at least 4
satellites. It provides a positional accuracy of 11.4 to 25.5 feet.

GPS was first developed due to a need for a private military navigational system. Only later on,
was GPS made public.

GPS operates in the L-band which is between 1 and 2 GHz.


GLONASS is Russia’s GNSS and uses another acronym for Global Navigation Satellite System.
Russia (The Soviet Union at the time) began developing GLONASS in 1976 and there are 5
versions of this GNSS:

1. GLONASS (1982)
2. GLONASS-M (2003)
3. GLONASS-K (2011)
4. GLONASS-K2 (2015)
5. GLONASS-KM (Expected to be launched in 2025)

Global coverage began in 2011 with GLONASS-K.

GLONASS uses 24 satellites in its space segment with 8 satellites in each of its 3 orbital planes.
It provides a positional accuracy of 16.4 to 32.8 feet.


Galileo is Europe’s GNSS that’s compatible with both GPS and GLONASS. Galileo entered the
scene later than both GPS and GLONASS, in December 2016, with global coverage since

The Galileo system functions differently than GPS and GLONASS. Galileo’s receivers use
satellite technology and triangulation principles to track the satellite constellation’s position. This
system is divided into three segments:

1. Space
2. Ground
3. User

Galileo utilizes 30 satellites with 8 active satellites and 2 spare satellites in each of its 3 orbital
planes. Galileo is the most accurate with a positional accuracy of 6.5-9.8 feet.

Track Your Fleet with GPS

GPS, and GNSS in general, has come a long way since its original uses in the military and
defense sector. Today, GPS is used for everything from daily navigation for citizens to logistics
to fleet tracking for businesses.

GPS tracking can help businesses cut down on loss and theft, monitor driver behavior, optimize
routes, and decrease liability, among many other benefits. It can be used in both vehicles for
fleet tracking and to monitor equipment and other assets.

Looking for GPS fleet tracking, equipment tracking, or asset tracking? We have a multitude of
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