Consumer GNSS

Why Global Navigation Satellite System?

Trying to figure out where you are and where you're going is probably one of humanity's oldest pastimes.

Navigation and positioning are crucial to so many activities and yet the process has always been quite difficult in the past.

Currently there are a large number of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) units allowing the average person to determine their current location. Consumer GNSS units come in many forms:

  • handheld
  • automobile
  • aviation
  • marine
  • sports
  • mobile phone.

How good are these units?

The most recent United States Department of Defence Performance Standard Statement, September 2008 states:
“Since GPS initial operational capability (IOC) in 1993, actual GPS performance has continuously met and exceeded minimum performance levels specified in the Standard Positioning Service Performance Standard and users can generally expect improved performance over the minimum levels described here. For example, with current (2007) Signal-in-Space (SIS) accuracy, well designed GPS receivers have been achieving horizontal accuracy of 3 meters or better and vertical accuracy of 5 meters or better 95% of the time.”

Topic contact: geodesy@ga.gov.au Last updated: May 8, 2013