What is NavIC ? Is Indian Navigation System better than GPS?

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What is NavIC?

NavIC stands for Navigation with Indian Constellation which is also known as Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) it is based on the Sanskrit word navigator or sailor.

It is a collection of navigation-based satellites that works on providing accurate position information service to India.

Back in the 90’s India asked help in the form of GPS data from the US to track Pakistani troops in Kargil but unfortunately, the request was denied by the US.

Since then, India never looked back and after 2 decades ISRO made India proud by providing India’s own Navigation System NavIC.
Guess what the entire project cost around Rs.1420 Crore

India is among the only 5 countries at the moment who have their own navigation system, It consists of seven satellites – 3 of which are in a geostationary orbit over the Indian Ocean and 4  are in a geosynchronous orbit.

How does it work?

It covers India and a region extending 1,500 KM around it. NavIC is said to be much better than GPS because it is supposed to be accurate up to 5 meters – more efficient than GPS 20 to 30 meters accuracy.

Some Applications of IRNSS are:

  • 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

NavIC vs GPS: Which one is more accurate?

NavIC will provide two types of services, namely, Standard Positioning Service (SPS) which is provided to all the users and Restricted Service (RS), which is an encrypted service provided only to the authorized users.

  • Both GPS and NavIC are navigation satellite systems. However, Global Positioning System tracks the entire globe while NavIC covers India and a region extending 1,500 KM around it.
  • GPS relies on 31 operational satellites for its proper functioning. On the other hand, IRNSS relies on just 7 satellites in earth’s orbit.
  • Thanks to India’s Geostationary satellites that are situated in a much higher orbit and use dual frequency bands (L5-band and S-band) the accuracy of NavIC is better than that of GPS. Additionally, the signal on NavIC is less prone to obstructions.
  • NavIC satellites use dual frequency bands (L5-band and S-band) while GPS still uses a single frequency band.
  • GPS can available on every single smartphone in existence while NavIC will be available on some upcoming phones.

Who will get benefit from this Navigation system?

  • It will directly help the sailors and fishermen by giving the most accurate route information to Navigate.
  • Armed Forces will also get help in reducing terrorist activities and reading the location of the enemy and send battel field missiles into their spot.
  • Emergency Services will also get the benefit of rescue operations in some disaster situations like Flood and earthquakes.

List of Phones with NavIC support

Qualcomm has released many NavIC compatible chipsets since then. For instance, Snapdragon 865, Snapdragon 765, Snapdragon 720G, Snapdragon 662, and Snapdragon 460 are some of the recently announced mobile processors that will support NavIC are:-

  • Realme X50 Pro 5G
  • Redmi Note 9 Pro (upcoming)
  • Realme 6 Pro

In the future, we can expect some more devices to have this kind of support.

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