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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
OwnerRussian FederationU.S
Number of satellitesAt least 2431
Orbital height21150 km19130 km
AccuracyPosition: 510 m.Position: 3.5-7.8 m
Tilt of the orbital plane64.8 degrees55 degrees
Orbital period11 hours and 16 minutes11 hours and 58 minutes.
FrequencyAround 1,602 GHz (SP) Around 1,246 GHz (SP)1.57542 GHz (seal L1) 1.2276 GHz (seal L2)

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.

All high-end devices that support GPS installations, especially browsers, include GLONASS receivers on their chip to use location-based services.

What is offered for smart phones?

Today, any mobile phone, whether a high-end or low-budget smart phone, is equipped with A-GPS (Assisted Global Positioning System) that uses network capabilities to find its location.

Now that GLONASS is offered for public services, more and more smart phones with GPS + GLONASS technology are being launched to use the service based on the dual-core location to find the location. Initially, only the high-end smart phones or Flagship have these features, but as time progresses, we will see that both technologies are equipped in low and medium range smart phones. More and more companies and chip manufacturers seem to be interested in GLONASS technology, so it is expected that more and more smart phones will be launched with this technology.

List of smart phones that support GLONASS

Smart Phone ManufacturerMobile phone model
AcerAcer Liquid S2
AlcatelAlcatel OT-995
AppleIphone 4s
AppleiPhone 5
AppleIphone 5c
AppleIphone 5s
AsusPadFone 2
AsusPadFone Infinity
AsusASUS MeMO Pad FHD 10 ME302C
AsusASUS MeMO Pad 10 ME102A
AsusASUS MeMO Pad 7 ME176C
AsusASUS Fonepad 7 ME372CG
AsusASUS Fonepad 7 ME175CG
BlackberryBlackberry Z10
BlackberryBlackBerry Q10
HTCHTC Butterfly
HTCHTC Butterfly S
HTCHTC Desire 600
HTCHTC One Mini 2
HTCHTC Windows Phone 8S
HTCHTC Windows Phone 8X
HuaweiHuawei Ascend D1 Quad XL
HuaweiHuawei Ascend G600
HuaweiHuawei Ascend G615
HuaweiHuawei Ascend Mate
HuaweiHuawei Ascend P2
HuaweiHuawei Ascend P6
HuaweiHuawei Honor (U8860)
HuaweiHuawei Honor 2
LGLG Nexus 4
LGLG Nexus 5
LGLG Optimus G
LGLG G2 Mini
LGLG Optimus G Pro
LGLG Optimus Sol
LGLG Venice
LGLG Optimus L9
LGLG Optimus L9II
MeizuMeizu MX2
MotorolaMotorola Atrix HD
MotorolaMotorola Moto E
MotorolaMotorola RAZR
MotorolaMotorola MOTO G
MotorolaMotorola MOTO X
MotorolaMotorola RAZR HD
MotorolaMotorola RAZR M
MotorolaMotorola RAZR MAXX
MotorolaMotorola DROID 4
MotorolaMotorola DROID RAZR
MotorolaMotorola DROID RAZR HD
MotorolaMotorola DROID RAZR M
MotorolaMotorola DROID RAZR MAXX
MotorolaMotorola DROID RAZR MAXX HD
NokiaNokia Lumia 520
NokiaNokia Lumia 525
NokiaNokia Lumia 620
NokiaNokia Lumia 625
NokiaNokia Lumia 710
NokiaNokia Lumia 720
NokiaNokia Lumia 800
NokiaNokia Lumia 820
NokiaNokia Lumia 822
NokiaNokia Lumia 900
NokiaNokia Lumia 920
NokiaNokia Lumia 925
NokiaNokia Lumia 928
NokiaNokia Lumia 1020
NokiaNokia Lumia 1520
SamsungSamsung Galaxy S Duos 2
SamsungSamsung Galaxy Ace 2
SamsungSamsung Galaxy Ace 3
SamsungSamsung G350 Galaxy Core Plus
SamsungSamsung Ativ S
SamsungSamsung Galaxy Chat
SamsungSamsung Galaxy exciting
SamsungSamsung Galaxy Express
SamsungSamsung G3815 Galaxy Express 2
Samsungthe Samsung Galaxy Grand
SamsungSamsung Galaxy Grand 2
SamsungSamsung Galaxy Mega
SamsungSamsung Galaxy Music
SamsungSamsung Galaxy Note
SamsungSamsung Galaxy Note II
SamsungSamsung Galaxy Note III
Samsungsamsung galaxy pocket
SamsungSamsung Galaxy Pocket Neo
SamsungSamsung Galaxy Fame
SamsungSamsung Galaxy S II Plus
SamsungSamsung S7582 Galaxy S Duos 2
SamsungSamsung Galaxy S III
SamsungSamsung Galaxy S III Mini
SamsungSamsung Galaxy S IV
SamsungSamsung Galaxy S IV active
SamsungSamsung Galaxy S IV two ++
SamsungSamsung Galaxy SV
SamsungSamsung Galaxy S Relay 4G
SamsungSamsung Galaxy Xcover 2
SamsungSamsung Galaxy Win GT-I8552
SamsungSamsung Omnia W
SamsungSamsung S8600 Wave III
SamsungSamsung Focus
SamsungSamsung Galaxy Trend 7392
SamsungSamsung S7580 Galaxy Trend Plus
SamsungSamsung z
Sony EricssonSony Ericsson Xperia active
Sony EricssonSony Ericsson Xperia Arc
Sony EricssonSony Ericsson Xperia Arc S
Sony EricssonSony Ericsson Xperia neo
Sony EricssonSony Ericsson Xperia neo V
Sony EricssonSony Ericsson Xperia Pro
Sony EricssonSony Ericsson Xperia Ray
Sony EricssonSony Ericsson Xperia Acro HD
StarmobileStarmobile Navi
SonySony Xperia Acro HD
SonySony Xperia Acro S
SonySony Xperia AX
SonySony Xperia Ion
SonySony Xperia neo L
SonySony Xperia S
SonySony Xperia SL
SonySony Xperia SP
SonySony Xperia SX
SonySony Xperia T
SonySony Xperia TL
SonySony Xperia TX
SonySony Xperia V
SonySony Xperia VL
SonySony Xperia Z
SonySony Xperia Z Ultra
SonySony Xperia ZL
SonySony Xperia ZR
SonySony Xperia Z1
SonySony Xperia Z2
XiaomiXiaomi phone 2
XiaomiXiaomi Phone 2A
XiaomiXiaomi Phone 2S
XiaomiXiaomi phone 3

How do you use Google Maps GLONASS and GPS?

Google Maps and other map applications such as Nokia HERE Maps and Apple Maps use data connection to connect to GLONASS and GPS satellites. Today's smart phones come with A-GPS and A-GLONASS support, which offers functions such as step-by-step navigation, location tracking and real-time location information.

What follows after GLONASS and GPS?

  • The European Union is currently working on a system called GALILEO which provides a highly accurate global positioning service under civil control. The Galileo system consists of 30 satellites (27 operational + 3 active spare parts), located in three circular planes of medium earth rite at 23 222 km above ground, and with an inclination of the 56 degree orbital planes with respect to the equator.
  • China is developing its own constellation of 35 satellites called BeiDou Navigation Satellite System and is under construction since January 2015. Offer more capabilities than the current GPS. It is currently operational in China and in the Asia-Pacific region with 11 satellites in use, being available worldwide by 2020.
  • IRNSS o The India Regional Satellite Navigation System is an autonomous satellite system developed by ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) and offer public service and restricted service (authorized users such as military). This system will consist of a constellation of 7 satellites, of which 4 are already placed in the rite. The project is expected to be operational in 2016.

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Image courtesy: Wikipedia

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