[IWAR] GPS for civilians to be improved

From: 7Pillars Partners (partnersat_private)
Date: Tue Mar 31 1998 - 09:06:18 PST

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    Close enough for horseshoes and hand grenades... --MW
    Gore announces improvements to civilian GPS system
     'An engine of economic growth'
     March 30, 1998
     Web posted at: 10:36 p.m. EST (0336 GMT) 
     WASHINGTON (AP) -- The
     Global Positioning System, which
     provides pinpoint location
     information around the world to
     the U.S. military, will soon
     provide the same accurate data to civilians thanks to an upgrade
     announced Monday by Vice President Al Gore. 
     He said the government will expand the number of signals available
     for civilian use from one to three. That should overcome
     atmospheric distortion that affects the current lone civilian signal by
     providing companion channels to check for accuracy. 
     The announcement builds on another one made in 1996, when the
     Clinton administration said that over the course of the next decade,
     it would eliminate small errors intentionally inserted into GPS to
     guard against its misuse by non-Pentagon users. 
     Taken together, the changes mean that by the middle of the next
     decade, hand-held GPS receivers sold to civilians should soon be
     able to pinpoint locations within 33 feet -- 10 times as close as the
     current range of 325 feet. 
     The hand-held units are already used by outdoorsmen and are
     beginning to be featured in new and rental automobiles for use in
     emergencies or to provide directions to lost drivers. 
     "GPS has become an engine of economic growth and efficiency as
     businesses and consumers are continually developing new and
     creative applications of the system," Gore said in a statement. "We
     will continue to do everything we can to protect these GPS signals
     and promote GPS applications for commercial, public safety and
     national security interests." 
     Cloaked signals
     The Pentagon spent $10 billion developing the Global Positioning
     System, which works off information from 24 satellites positioned
     around the Earth. 
     Those satellites transmit signals giving the satellite's location and the
     time of the transmission. A GPS receiver uses that data to calculate
     the satellite's relative position and, consequently, the receiver's
     The military inserted errors in the current system's timing signal to
     protect its troops. The receivers they use filter out the errors, a
     process called "selective availability." 
     Both Gore and President Clinton announced in 1996 that they
     wanted to make GPS information more accessible to the public
     and private enterprise, in part by eliminating selective availability by
     The new system would provide the same protection for the military
     by eliminating service for entire regions in times of war. 
     While the military currently has use of two GPS signals, civilians
     can receive only one. The second signal, which Gore said would
     be operational by 2005, may be most useful in the public safety
     arena because of its improved accuracy. 
     The third civil signal, whose operational date has not yet been
     determined, will primarily be of use to scientific users and
     surveyors, because a total of three GPS signals would allow for
     even better accuracy than one or two signals, the vice president
     The changes will take some time to implement because they will
     require new satellites and new receivers. The satellites are routinely
     changed every 7 1/2 years. Existing GPS receivers will still work
     with the new system, although they will not provide the improved
     Copyright 1998 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
     This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or

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