India’s Navigation System: NavIC
Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is India’s own domestic navigation system established by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). This Navigation system with Indian Constellation (NavIC), was basically developed to replace the popular US-owned Global Position System (GPS).
The Global Positioning System (GPS), initially NAVSTAR GPS, is a popular satellite-based Radio Navigation system that is owned by the US government and operated by the US Space Force. It is one of the global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) that outfits geolocation and time information to a GPS receiver anywhere on or near the Earth where there is no obstacle in the line of sight to four or more GPS satellites. Similarly, India is also developing its own navigation system, the NavIC.
A primary contributing factor towards the preference of NavIC over GPS is dependability. Whereas GPS is a US Developed system, it cannot be as exhaustive and simple to accommodate as the NavIC as it is developed especially for India.
The NavIC was developed under ISRO’s Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) program. It includes the positioning and co-ordination of seven satellites which were launched in stages using the PSLV workhorse rocket. ISRO makes an associated network of Geosynchronous and Geostationary satellites that can be used by civilians as well as the military for navigation purposes.
NavIC gives a navigation system that claims to provide an accuracy of better than 10 meters, providing it a leading advantage over GPS system which has an accuracy of 20-30 meters. Its primary range is also extended to 1,500 km outside our borders, along with a wider Extended Service area. An Extended Service Area lies between primary service area and area enclosed by the rectangle from Latitude 30 deg South to 50 deg North, Longitude 30 deg East to 130 deg East. NAVIC provides two levels of service, the standard positioning service, which will be open for civilian use, and restricted service for authorized use. There are plans to expand the NavIC system by increasing the number of satellites from 7 to 11.
Some applications of IRNSS
- Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation
- Disaster Management
- Vehicle tracking and fleet management
- Integration with mobile phones
- Precise Timing
- Mapping and Geodetic data capture
- Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travelers
- Visual and voice navigation for drivers
ISRO is also supporting chipmaker, Qualcomm for developing chipsets which are integrated with the NavIC system, thus enabling future smartphones to be offered with a built-in NavIC system.