Image: US Air Force
US GPS folks are justifiably proud of the system. It is incredibly reliable and well maintained. First designed to “put five bombs down the same hole,” folks have figured out how to put its ultra precise timing signals to innumerable uses.
The Air Force and others like to call GPS “the gold standard” for GNSS.
But how much can a system run and funded by the military do for all users? It is true that the system can and will incorporate features for civil users. But that is only if the funding is provided by the Department of Transportation.
And the Office of Management and Budget has regularly blocked DOT’s requests for funding to support any kind of PNT, GPS-related or otherwise. It seems that OMB believes that DOT (except maybe for the FAA) shouldn’t be in the navigation business. Or maybe they think civil PNT isn’t that important.
We recently came across this chart comparing GPS to other satnav systems (used with permission).
Admittedly, some of the things the other systems are doing that GPS isn’t might end up to be not that worthwhile.
Yet the chart does seem to question the whole “gold standard” thing and America’s interest in satnav leadership.