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What is GLONASS and how is it different from GPS?

GLONASS is an acronym, which means Globalnaya Navigazionnaya Sputnikovaya System, or Global Navigation Satellite System. GLONASS is the Russian version of GPS (Global Positioning System).

Who built GLONASS?

The Soviet Union began the development of GLONASS in 1976. GLONASS is the most expensive program of the Russian Federal Space Agency, which consumes a third of its budget in 2010.


The different versions of GLONASS are

  1. GLONASS: launched in 1982, the launched satellites were destined to work for the positioning of the climate, the measurement of speed and time anywhere in the world or near the terrestrial space by military and official organizations.
  2. GLONASS-M – launched in 2003 adds the second civil code. It is important for GIS mapping recipients.
  3. GLONASS-k: started in 2011 again, it has 3 more types: k1, k2 and km for research. Add the third civil frequency.
  4. GLONASS-K2: will be launched after 2015 (currently in the design phase)
  5. GLONASS-KM: will be launched after 2025 (currently under investigation)

What is A-GLONASS?

A-GLONASS, GLONASS assisted is very similar to GLONASS but A-GLONASS brings more functions for smart phones. It brings features such as step-by-step navigation, real-time traffic data and more. Use the mobile phone towers near your location to quickly block your location with the help of your data connection. A-GLONASS also improves the performance of the chipsets that come with GLONASS support.

How much does GLONASS cost?

Until 2011, the Russian government spent around 5 billion dollars on the GLONASS project, and invested 320 billion rubles (10 billion dollars) for the period from 2012 to 2020. GLONASS is the Agency's most expensive project Federal Space of Russia.

How is GLONASS different from GPS?

The GPS developed by the US UU. It has a network of 31 satellites that cover this planet and has been widely used in commercial devices such as mobile phones, browsers, etc.

GLONASS was developed by Russia, originally created by the Soviet Union in 1976. It has a network of 24 satellites that cover the Earth.

The image shows the rite and constellation of GLONASS (left) and GPS (right).

Here is a table of specifications comparing GPS vs GLONASS

GLONASSGPS Specification
Owner Russian Federation U.S
Number of satellites At least 24 31
Orbital height 21150 km 19130 km
Accuracy Position: 510 m. Position: 3.5-7.8 m
Tilt of the orbital plane 64.8 degrees 55 degrees
Orbital period 11 hours and 16 minutes 11 hours and 58 minutes.
Frequency Around 1,602 GHz (SP) Around 1,246 GHz (SP) 1.57542 GHz (seal L1) 1.2276 GHz (seal L2)
State Operational Operational

Advantage of GLONASS over GPS (GLONASS Vs GPS)

There is no clear advantage other than accuracy over GPS. When used alone, GLONASS does not have as strong coverage as GPS does, but when both are used together, the accuracy with coverage certainly increases. And it is more useful in northern latitudes since Russia began GLONASS originally for Russia.

Precision is an advantage of GLONASS with up to 2 meters of accuracy. GPS + GLONASS allows your device to be identified by a group of 55 satellites worldwide. Therefore, when you are in a place where GPS signals are blocked, as is the case between large buildings or underground trains, GLONASS satellites will track you precisely.

Commercial use of GLONASS

GLONASS was used commercially for the first time in car browsers such as Glospace SGK-70, but it was bulky and expensive. The Russian government is trying to promote GLONASS commercially.

The iPhone 4S was Apple's first product to use both GPS and GLONASS to locate places on the maps.