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Chinese GPS System To Be Offered Free 131

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the maker-of-rules-dealing-with-fools dept.
MattSparkes writes, "The Chinese GPS system, Beidou, is apparently to be opened up for free access within China, worrying European investors on the €2.5 billion competing project, Galileo. Initially, China had declared that access to their system would be restricted to the military, and Europe had planned to recoup some of the cost of their system by selling licenses to China. Michael Shaw, from the US government's National Space-based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Coordination Office in Washington DC, said, 'Frankly, China's behavior towards Europe is not so different to how Europe behaved with us when GPS was the only game in town a decade ago.'"
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Chinese GPS System To Be Offered Free

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  • by MarkByers (770551) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @04:28PM (#16774337) Homepage Journal
    The Chinese are taking power away from corporations and giving it to their people, by making public services available for free. That is almost the opposite of what happens in the West.
  • Re:What? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by v616 (971332) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @04:28PM (#16774353)
    It's not first day we know China and Japan able to copy other's idea and make a cheaper version for their people. ;) Difference is China make the stuff worst, Japan make it much better then original idea.
  • by garcia (6573) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @04:38PM (#16774545) Homepage
    The Chinese are taking away power from the people and giving it to the Communist leadership, and thus making their people nearly prisoners/slaves. That is almost the opposite of what happens in the West.
  • by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadinNO@SPAMxoxy.net> on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @04:42PM (#16774621) Homepage Journal
    Seriously, how many different navigation systems do we need?

    Let's see, the U.S. has GPS. And the Europeans don't trust Americans, so they want Galileo. And the Russians don't want to admit that the Europeans could be better than them at anything, so they're keeping GLONASS around. The Chinese don't trust anybody, and nobody trusts the Chinese, so they have Beidou. The only thing we're missing is one by India (to compete with the Chinese), or maybe one just by France that's purposely incompatible with the rest of Europe's (is "SENAV" taken?).

    How soon until the satellites start running into each other? (Yes, I know they won't really; it'll probably be radio spectrum that we run out of first.)

    At least as it looks right now, the only system that's even going to be an improvement over GPS is Galileo, and even then it won't be by much. Seems like it would be a whole lot more productive to build systems that augment the signal already available from GPS, and then can call back to providing position itself if GPS goes out; then you'd be able to get higher precision. With higher precision signals, a whole lot of interesting things become possible: you can have automatic self-driving farm equipment (like John Deere's ground-based StarFire augmentation system), lower-cost aircraft navigation, all sorts of cool remote-sensing applications. If you thought that GPS in itself was cool, there are far more opportunities to use it, when you start talking about inch-accurate systems.

    The duplication of effort seems mostly like a penis-length contest, and while I think competition in all things is generally good, I'm not sure that this is really happening for any rational reason. There are better uses that the investment and satellite space could be put towards, than simply overlapping each other's navigation systems.
  • by Colonel Sponsz (768423) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @04:56PM (#16774885)
    The duplication of effort seems mostly like a penis-length contest, and while I think competition in all things is generally good, I'm not sure that this is really happening for any rational reason. There are better uses that the investment and satellite space could be put towards, than simply overlapping each other's navigation systems.

    Actually, even though quite a lot of the aerospace industry is solely about countries comparing their orbital penises, this isn't one of those occasions - those are valid concerns. It's not about precision, it's reliability. We're seeing more and more critical systems switch over to satellite navigation (planes, boats, trucks, goods delivery systems in general, personal cars, even, as you say, tractors). You do not want your country's entire infrastructure in the hands of a single, potentially hostile, foreign power. Thus, every nation or block of nations with the resources to do so launches their own network.
    A world-wide cooperative effort, that won't be jammed/shut down in case of war/diplomatic catfights, would of course be optimal - but that's Just Not Going to Happen (TM). It ranks up there with the "if we just sit down and talk, we can all get along!" theory of conflict solution.
  • by Aim Here (765712) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @05:19PM (#16775357)
    The Chinese have taken away power from the people and given it to the state for the benefit of the ruling political elite and a number of friendly corporations, exploiting the people while spying on them and taking away their freedoms. That is just a more extreme case of what is currently happening in the West.

  • by houghi (78078) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @05:24PM (#16775447)
    Let's see, the U.S. has GPS. And the Europeans don't trust Americans, so they want Galileo.


    Well, GPS failure is said to be the cause of a European power outage [playfuls.com]

    So what if the US suddenly decides it takes away GPS in certain parts of the world? look at it the other way around. What if Japan would have been had GPS and controlled it. Don't you think the US would want one for themselves? And rightfully so.

    It isn't different for any other country.
  • by de_valentin (934164) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @05:42PM (#16775779)
    The Chinese system is made up of 4 geostationary satellites which means its of no use outside a specific area(mainly China). And being stationary it also has the problem that you cannot get a very good location. Not compareable to GPS, Galileo or even GLONASS. It will be usefull and accurate for the chinese because they will combine it with other GNSS's. And there are at least 2 more sytems planned. The Japanese started with a Quasi Zenith Satelite System that is also only useable in a very limited area. Then as you mentioned in India they also have plans, but it will take very long before you can see that. And I think that both the Europeans and the Americans will create a QZSS like the Japanese once they see how great it works. Allthough funding could become an issue in Europe.
  • by WilliamSChips (793741) <full DOT infinity AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @05:45PM (#16775805) Journal
    Power is flowing from the people to groups unaccountable to the people. This is happening in both nations.
  • by Twiceblessedman (590621) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @06:23PM (#16776527)
    If only I had mod points you would get them. It's sad how most Americans call China communist when they haven't even read the communist manifesto. Hell, most scream that socialist welfare states in Europe are communist.
  • by argStyopa (232550) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @06:55PM (#16777047) Journal
    The duplication of effort seems mostly like a penis-length contest, and while I think competition in all things is generally good, I'm not sure that this is really happening for any rational reason. There are better uses that the investment and satellite space could be put towards, than simply overlapping each other's navigation systems.

    Then you really simply don't get it. That's like saying "geez, why do we all print separate currencies, when we all could just be more efficient if we printed one and all used that..."

    1) the ability to determine one's position on earth is vitally important, commercially, navigationally, and of course, tactically.

    2) Whoever builds such a system, controls it. They can make it available as selectively or narrowly as they want. This availability can change over time.

    3) Sometimes states don't like each other. When the disagreement becomes strong enough, sometimes they will try to mess with each other, and even occasionally fight. When this fighting happens (aka "war") one typically tries to hinder one's opponent as much as possible. As 'soft' methods of conflict go, locking them out of a positioning system as a not-so-subtle diplomatic move is benign enough that it's an attractive early option, so it's pretty likely to be used.
    As much as the Europeans are building Galileo because the evil US 'controls' GPS and they want an "open" system, if we ever see another general world war you can bet that Galileo would NOT remain universally available, either. To fail to build in the capacity to limit availability would be strategically stupid. (What would of course be curious is another European war - could the French turn off Galileo to the Germans?)

    4) Security trumps economy. Tanks and guns provide no food directly, they simply COST an economy some wealth that could be used more beneficially, but is 'wasted' in essence as insurance against the actions of a future enemy. This is PRECISELY the same thing. Each country/group that can afford it, will build their own system as the value of having it 'unblockable' trumps the vulnerability of sharing resources.
  • by dfenstrate (202098) <dfenstrate.gmail@com> on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @09:42PM (#16778933)
    And it's worth remembering that the dose makes the poison.
  • by sillybilly (668960) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @02:00AM (#16780977)
    As long as there is no World Government such as UN was supposed to be before Bush said "piss on you all", and as long as the pushbuttons controlling any GPS are located within a specific country that during a military conflict can withdraw access from the opponent country, as long as largescale military conflicts are possible because the world is chopped into nations and countries, there will be duplicated implementations of GPS, for different countries because it's too much of a strategic blunder to trust or have to rely on your adversary's systems. Of course the first thing during a crisis is to knock out your opponents satellites, or broadcast jamming signals, and everybody has secret plans already for that, even those who don't already have a GPS in space, and airplanes and ships at sea would suffer greatly, and therefore civilians and basic commerce. But suppose the US and China gets in a fight, and neither touches EU's Galileo because of neutrality pacts, then suddenly having 3 systems with 2 knocked out and only one "neutral" left is not such a bad idea. Now if the EU was chopped into countries, then there could be separate GPS for France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Britain, Sweden, Poland, etc, just to show that "we can do it too, we won't be left behind", but since they "belong" to one bloc called EU with tensions mitigated, they will probably have a single GPS. Same with the US, if civil war broke it up into North, South, Texas, West, they would all need their own GPS, because there is tension, but for instance Canada does not need an own GPS because there is no tension betwen her and the US. The number of GPS in space pretty much mimics the global strategic tensions available.
  • Re:What? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FateStayNight (1000465) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @05:06AM (#16781929) Journal
    Japan was like this too if you ask your parents.

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