Indian Space Research Organization abbreviated as ISRO has been in the news. Earlier for wrong reasons when its commercial arm – Antrix – website was hacked last year. But this time around it’s making headlines again but for the right reasons. ISRO has successfully launched another satellite that will take India close to fulfilling its dream of “Desi GPS” as currently all the GPS devices rely on the data sent by foreign satellites.
ISRO started 2016 on a high note by successful launch of its 5th navigational satellite which will be a part of the ambitious Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System or IRNSS. IRNSS is a constellation of satellites that will work as an alternative to the United States GPS – Global Positioning System.
The fifth satellite was carried by ISRO’s trusted PSLV vehicle – Polar Satellite launch Vehicle. The satellite was placed in the orbit on Wednesday and the officials at ISRO said the IRNSS would be fully functional by the second half on 2016. There are still a couple of satellites that will be launched in the couple of months.
This has surely taken India one step closure to fulfilling its dream of having its own Navigational system. The Navigation system, will be providing Navigational and Positioning services to various sectors including Aviation, Marine Navigation, Railways. This system will soon be tweaked to be used with smart phone.
So What does Desi GPS mean to us ?
Well, first of all it’s a matter of pride what our country is progressing in the Space arena. With this India will join the major powers USA, Russia, European Union and China to have its own Navigational satellite.
The ‘Desi GPS’ will be helpful in terms of proper mapping facility. Since it will be a “Made in India” product we could expect the mapping and navigational features quite accurate. Secondly when these would be integrated with public transport services like buses, trains, the safety quotient will increase manifold. Further, the overall cost of implementing such service will come down too. For use with smartphones, an additional hardware along with some extra code might be required.
However one of the flaws that the ‘Desi GPS’ would have is the precision. Currently the GPS and GLONASS(Navigational Satellite by Russia) have a precision of about 5 meters, that’s pretty accurate ! While the ‘Desi GPS’ will have a precision of about 10-20 meters so that’s one area of concern. Further the satellites will cover a radius of about 1500kms and are positioned in such a way that India is placed in the center of the footprint of the satellites.
Well, our “Desi GPS” is certainly something that we can boast about, but one should remember that this is there to stay and the purpose of this is not to phase out the GPS or any other service. Let’s hope the operations of the “Desi GPS” start as early as possible so that we can enjoy our own product !