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Difference between GPS and GPRS

Difference between GPS and GPRS

GPS and GPRS seem similar terms but absolutely different in the sense. The difference between GPS and GPRS is that GPS is a satellite navigation system while GPRS used to provide cellular-based data services.

GPS facilitates a wide range of applications such as satellite operations, detection and mapping, electricity grid, telecommunications, intelligent vehicles, precision agriculture, etc. On the other hand, GPRS renders applications such as email access, multimedia messaging, video calls, etc.

Comparative chart

Basis for GPSGPRS comparison
Stands for Global positioning system General package radio service
Purpose Provides positioning service. It provides voice and data services used in cell phones.
Application Navigation, detection, mapping, GIS, etc. Email access, multimedia messaging, video call, etc.
Work GPS communicates with a collection of satellites that orbit the earth. GPRS communicates with an earth tower.
Number of stations required 3 or more 1
utilization GPS can be used anywhere in the sky, land, sea, etc. GPRS with limited range and available only on the ground.
Cost Expensive Cheap

Definition of GPS

GPS (Global Positioning System) a satellite-based positioning system. The GPS network uses satellites to determine the precise position of an object on earth. The GPS network consisting of a constellation of 24 operational satellites and some extras for backup purposes. These satellites orbit the earth at over 20,180 kilometers above sea level and each takes 11 hours and 58 minutes.

In GPS satellites are arranged in such a way that from almost anywhere on the surface of the terrestrial receiver it should have a direct line of sight of at least four satellites. This is vital because positioning the GPS point requires at least four satellites to calculate three position coordinates and clock deviation, this process known as trilateration .

Sometimes the trilateration process fails, when the GPS navigator receives inadequate information, it occurs due to the ionosphere and of troposphere that delay the speed of the signals. In such a situation, the GPS system notifies the user of the error instead of sending the wrong information.

Since GPS units are receivers, like a cell phone that can send and receive signals. Each GPS satellite transmits a navigation message to Earth which contains an extremely accurate timestamp (obtained through atomic clocks available in satellites).

The satellites also transmit their position at the time of transmission, with all GPS signals transmitting at 1.57542 GHz ( L1 signals ) and 1.2276 GHz ( L2 signals ). These two bits of information allow you to determine your position on earth with all satellites that transmit the exact time to earth. The GPS receiver can compare the time difference between the signal sent and received to define the distance between you.

GPS elements

  • Segment space – This includes the satellite in orbit around the Earth.
  • Control segment – This segment includes stations located on the Earth's equator for steering satellites.
  • User segment – The segment includes an entity (person or organization) that receives and uses GPS signals.

Definition of GPRS

The General Packet Radio System (GPRS) the most popular second generation cellular system that provides high speed data services. GPRS also known as 2.5 Generation of mobile and telecommunication and an enhanced version of the GSM 2G network. GPRS implements the concept of packet switching to allow the sending and receiving of data services through the network while GSM uses circuit switching.

However, more technologies and generations have evolved since GPRS. GPRS also uses the most recent schemes for grouping time slots and channel coding. L' main architecture based on Internet protocol (IP) built-in to support voice and data applications integrated within wireless packet data networks.

GPRS functionality

  • The improved connection speed, or approximately 56-118 Kbps by combining the GSM time bands.
  • Provides always-on connectivity without continuous data consumption and eliminates the slow remote access process.
  • Enable full Internet services such as video conferencing.
  • It provides mobility, which means it keeps voice and data communication constant even when the user is moving.
  • Offers immediate service; the user can get instant connection regardless of location.

Key differences between GPS and GPRS

  1. GPS the abbreviation of the term Global Positioning System which provides the positioning service while GPRS stands for General Packet Radio Service which provides integrated wireless voice and data services.
  2. GPS specifies the position of the object in terms of latitude and longitude. On the contrary, GPRS is the enhanced version of GSM which provides high data transmission speeds for cellular systems.
  3. GPS uses a constellation of 24 satellites that orbit the Earth to locate your position. On the other hand, GPRS uses terrestrial towers to communicate.
  4. GPRS requires only one station while GPS requires three stations for operation.
  5. GPS is very expensive because the satellites used are expensive. By contrast, GPRS has a low price.
  6. GPRS has a limited range and works well only on land where the BST (Base Transceiver System) are installed. On the contrary, the GPS system covers a wider range and can work well even at sea and in the sky.


GPS and GPRS are different terms and serve different purposes. GPS is a satellite-based positioning system that includes navigation, bearing, mapping and GIS (geographic information system). On the other hand, GPRS is used to enable high-speed data services (voice and data) on wireless devices or in a cellular network such as real-time video calls on cell phones etc.