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What is GLONASS and how it is different from GPS

GLONASS an acronym that stands for Globalnaya Navigazionnaya Sputnikovaya System or Global Navigation Satellite System. GLONASS the Russian version of GPS (Global Positioning System).

Who built GLONASS?

The Soviet Union began developing GLONASS in 1976. GLONASS is the most expensive program of the Russian Federal Space Agency, which consumes one third of its budget in 2010.


The various versions of GLONASS are

  1. GLONASS – launched in 1982, the launched satellites were intended to work for meteorological positioning, speed measurement and timing anywhere in the world or in space close to Earth by military and official organizations.
  2. GLONASS-M – launched in 2003 adds the second civil code. important for GIS mapping receivers.
  3. GLONASS-k – started in 2011 still has 3 more types: k1, k2 and km for research. Adds third civil frequency.
  4. GLONASS-K2 – will be launched after 2015 (currently in the planning phase)
  5. GLONASS-KM – will be launched after 2025 (currently under research)

What is A-GLONASS?

A-GLONASS, Assisted GLONASS very similar to GLONASS but A-GLONASS offers more functionality for smartphones. It offers features such as turn-by-turn navigation, real-time traffic data and more. Use the cell towers near your location to quickly lock your location with the help of your data connection. A-GLONASS also improves the performance in the chip sets supplied with GLONASS support.

How much did GLONASS cost?

Until 2011, the Russian government has spent approximately $ 5 billion on the GLONASS project and has invested an additional 320 billion rubles ($ 10 billion) for the 2012-2020 period. GLONASS the most expensive project ever carried out by the Russian Federal Space Agency.

How does GLONASS differ from GPS?

The GPS developed by the United States has a network of 31 satellites covering this planet and has been widely used in commercial devices such as cell phones, navigators, etc.

GLONASS developed by Russia originally founded by the Soviet Union in 1976. It has a network of 24 satellites covering the earth.

The image shows the orbit and constellation of GLONASS (left) and GPS (right).

Here is a table of specifications that compare GPS vs GLONASS

Owner Russian Federation United States
Number of satellites At least 24 31
Orbital height 21150 km 19130 km
Precision Position: 5-10 m Position: 3, 5-7, 8 m
Inclination of the orbital plane 64, 8 degrees 55 degrees
Orbital period 11 hours and 16 minutes 11 hours and 58 minutes
Frequency Approx.1602 GHz (SP) Around 1,246 GHz (SP) 1.57542 GHz (L1 signal) 1.2276 GHz (L2 signal)
State operating operating

Advantage of GLONASS on GPS (GLONASS Vs GPS)

There is no clear advantage other than accuracy on GPS. When used alone, GLONASS does not have coverage as strong as GPS, but when both used together they certainly increase accuracy with coverage. And more useful in the northern latitudes as Russia started GLONASS originally for Russia.

Precision is an advantage of GLONASS with precision up to 2 meters. GPS + GLONASS allows you to point your device on a group of 55 satellites worldwide. So when you are in a place where GPS signals are blocked like between huge buildings or subways, you will be tracked accurately by GLONASS satellites.

Commercial use of GLONASS

GLONASS was the first commercially used in car navigators such as the Glospace SGK-70 but it was bulky and expensive. The Russian government is trying hard to promote GLONASS commercially.

iPhone 4S was the first Apple product to use both GPS and GLONASS to locate the location on maps.

All high-end devices that support GPS functionality, especially navigators, include GLONASS receivers on their chip to use location-based services.

What is offered for smartphones?

Today any mobile phone, whether it is a high-end smartphone or a low-cost smartphone, equipped with A-GPS (assisted Global Positional System) that uses the network capabilities to find its position.

Now with GLONASS offered for public services, more and more smartphones are launched with GPS + GLONASS technology to use the location-based dual core service to find the location. Initially only Flagship or high-end smartphones boast these features, but over time, we will see both of these technologies equipped on low and medium-end smartphones. More and more chip companies and manufacturers seem to be interested in GLONASS technology, so more and more smartphones are expected with this technology.

List of smartphones that support GLONASS

Smartphone manufacturerMobile phone model
Acer Acer Liquid S2
Alcatel Alcatel OT-995
Apple iPhone 4S
Apple iPhone 5
Apple iPhone 5C
Apple iPhone 5S
Asus PadFone 2
Asus PadFone Infinity
Asus ASUS MeMO Pad FHD 10 ME302C
Asus ASUS MeMO Pad 10 ME102A
Asus ASUS MeMO Pad 7 ME176C
Asus ASUS Fonepad 7 ME372CG
Asus ASUS Fonepad 7 ME175CG
blue raspberry BlackBerry Z10
blue raspberry BlackBerry Q10
HTC HTC Butterfly
HTC HTC Butterfly S
HTC HTC Desire 600
HTC HTC One Mini
HTC HTC One Mini 2
HTC HTC Windows Phone 8S
HTC HTC Windows Phone 8X
Huawei Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL
Huawei Huawei Ascend G600
Huawei Huawei Ascend G615
Huawei Huawei Ascend Mate
Huawei Huawei Ascend P2
Huawei Huawei Ascend P6
Huawei Huawei Honor (U8860)
Huawei Huawei Honor 2
LG LG Nexus 4
LG LG Nexus 5
LG LG Optimus G
LG LG G2 mini
LG LG Optimus G Pro
LG LG Optimus Sol
LG LG Venice
LG LG Optimus L9
LG LG Optimus L9II
LG LG Volt
Meizu Meizu MX2
Motorola Motorola Atrix HD
Motorola Motorola Moto E
Motorola Motorola RAZR
Motorola Motorola MOTO G
Motorola Motorola MOTO X
Motorola Motorola RAZR HD
Motorola Motorola RAZR M
Motorola Motorola RAZR MAXX
Motorola Motorola DROID 4
Motorola Motorola DROID RAZR
Motorola Motorola DROID RAZR HD
Motorola Motorola DROID RAZR M
Motorola Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX
Motorola Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX HD
Nokia Nokia Lumia 520
Nokia Nokia Lumia 525
Nokia Nokia Lumia 620
Nokia Nokia Lumia 625
Nokia Nokia Lumia 710
Nokia Nokia Lumia 720
Nokia Nokia Lumia 800
Nokia Nokia Lumia 820
Nokia Nokia Lumia 822
Nokia Nokia Lumia 900
Nokia Nokia Lumia 920
Nokia Nokia Lumia 925
Nokia Nokia Lumia 928
Nokia Nokia Lumia 1020
Nokia Nokia Lumia 1520
OnePlus One
Samsung Samsung Galaxy S Duos 2
Samsung Samsung Galaxy Ace 2
Samsung Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
Samsung Samsung G350 Galaxy Core Plus
Samsung Samsung Ativ S
Samsung Samsung Galaxy Chat
Samsung Samsung Galaxy Exhilarate
Samsung Samsung Galaxy Express
Samsung Samsung G3815 Galaxy Express 2
Samsung Samsung Galaxy Grand
Samsung Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
Samsung Samsung Galaxy Mega
Samsung Samsung Galaxy Music
Samsung Samsung Galaxy Note
Samsung Samsung Galaxy Note II
Samsung Samsung Galaxy Note III
Samsung Samsung Galaxy Pocket
Samsung Samsung Galaxy Pocket Neo
Samsung Samsung Galaxy Fame
Samsung Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
Samsung Samsung S7582 Galaxy S Duos 2
Samsung Samsung Galaxy S III
Samsung Samsung Galaxy S III Mini
Samsung Samsung Galaxy S IV
Samsung Samsung Galaxy S IV Active
Samsung Samsung Galaxy S IV duos ++
Samsung Samsung Galaxy SV
Samsung Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G
Samsung Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2
Samsung Samsung Galaxy Win GT-I8552
Samsung Samsung Omnia W
Samsung Samsung S8600 Wave III
Samsung Samsung Focus
Samsung Samsung Galaxy Trend 7392
Samsung Samsung S7580 Galaxy Trend Plus
Samsung Samsung z
Sony Ericsson Sony Ericsson Xperia active
Sony Ericsson Sony Ericsson Xperia arc
Sony Ericsson Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S
Sony Ericsson Sony Ericsson Xperia neo
Sony Ericsson Sony Ericsson Xperia neo V
Sony Ericsson Sony Ericsson Xperia pro
Sony Ericsson Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
Sony Ericsson Sony Ericsson Xperia acro hd
Starmobile Starmobile Navi
Sony Sony Xperia acro HD
Sony Sony Xperia acro S
Sony Sony Xperia AX
Sony Sony Xperia ion
Sony Sony Xperia neo L
Sony Sony Xperia S
Sony Sony Xperia SL
Sony Sony Xperia SP
Sony Sony Xperia SX
Sony Sony Xperia T
Sony Sony Xperia TL
Sony Sony Xperia TX
Sony Sony Xperia V
Sony Sony Xperia VL
Sony Sony Xperia Z
Sony Sony Xperia Z Ultra
Sony Sony Xperia ZL
Sony Sony Xperia ZR
Sony Sony Xperia Z1
Sony Sony Xperia Z2
Xiaomi Xiaomi Phone 2
Xiaomi Xiaomi Phone 2A
Xiaomi Xiaomi Phone 2S
Xiaomi Xiaomi Phone 3

How does Google Maps use GLONASS and GPS?

Google Maps and other mapping applications such as Nokia HERE Maps and Apple Maps use the data connection to connect to the GLONASS and GPS satellites. Modern smartphones are equipped with A-GPS and A-GLONASS support, which offers features such as turn-by-turn navigation, location tracking and real-time location information.

What are the prospects after GLONASS and GPS?

  • The European Union is currently working on a system called GALILEO which provides a highly accurate global positioning service under civilian control. The Galileo system consists of 30 satellites (27 operational + 3 active spare parts), positioned in three circular planes of average Earth orbit at 23 222 km above sea level and with an orbital plane inclination of 56 degrees with respect to equator.
  • China is developing its own constellation of 35 satellites called BeiDou Navigation Satellite System and under construction since January 2015. Offer more capacity than current GPS. currently operating in China and the Asia Pacific region with 11 satellites in use, it will be available globally by 2020.
  • IRNSS o Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System an autonomous satellite system developed by the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) and offering public service and limited service (authorized users as military). This system would consist of a constellation of 7 satellites, 4 of which are already positioned in the orbit. The project is expected to be operational by 2016.

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Image courtesy: Wikipedia