If you wish to contribute or participate in the discussions about articles you are invited to contact the Editor

Other Regional Systems

From Navipedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Other Regional SystemsOther Regional Systems
Title Other Regional Systems
Edited by GMV
Level Basic
Year of Publication 2011
Logo GMV.png

There are nowadays three regional navigation satellites systems under development: the Japanase QZSS, the Indian IRNSS and the Chinese BeiDou. The first two are explained in dedicated articles and BeiDou system is going to be explained next.


BeiDou Logo

BeiDou-1 is the Chinese experimental regional navigation system. In 1994, the Chinese government authorized to start the development and deployment of an experimental satellite navigation system based on the twin-satellite navigation system. The two GEO satellites, Beidou 1A and Beidou 1B, were launched in 2000. The system began to provide positioning service in late 2001. In May 2003, the successful launch of BeiDou-1C also meant the establishment of the BeiDou-1 system. The BeiDou-1 service is available to civilian users since 2004[1], and the system services and performance characteristics at this time (2004) were:[2]

  • Positioning: 100m (1σ); 20m (1σ, with reference stations).
  • Regional Service short message service (SMS): up to 120 Chinese characters.
  • Timing: 20 ns.

Method of Operation

The following procedure is used (extracted from article Compass Satellite Navigation System (Beidou), on Sinodefence.com[1]):

Firstly, the central control station sends inquiry signals to the users via the two satellites. When the user terminal received the signal from one satellite, it sends responding signal back to both satellites. The central station receives the responding signals sent by the user from two satellites, and calculates the user’s 2D position based on the time difference between the two signals. This position is then compared with the digital territorial map stored in the database to get the 3D position data, which is then sent back to the user via satellites using encrypted communications. The user can also transmit encrypted text messages (up to 120 Chinese characters) to the central station via the satellites.

The system provides positioning data with accuracy of 100m. By using ground- and/or space-based (the 3rd and 4th satellites) differential methods, the accuracy can be increased to under 10m and the timing accuracy 100 nanoseconds. The system capacity is 540,000 users per hour, and serve up to 150 users simultaneously. As well as positioning service, the system can also transmit encrypted text messages between the central control station and the end users.

Because the Beidou 1 system requires dual-way transmissions between the user and central control station via satellites at high-altitude geostationary orbit, its user segment needs extra space for transmitter and a more-powerful battery. Therefore Beidou 1’s user segments are much bigger (20cm antenna), heavier and more expensive compared with GPS user receivers. Additionally, the number of users can be served by the system is limited by the communication capacity of the network.


BerDou-1 positioning service has been used in different applications, including:[2]

  • Disaster Control.
  • Marine application.
  • Transportation application/fleet management.

In 2008 Sichuan earthquake, around 1000 BeiDou-1 terminals provided positioning, monitoring, and emergency information services. Also in 2008, BeiDou-1 gave services for the search and rescue fleet management for Shenzhou-7 Manned Space Program[2]. Since October 2009, the Yunnan border guards are equipped with BeiDou-1 terminals.[3]

BeiDou-2 Phase 1

For further description of BeiDou-2 including its global service, developed in Phase 2, please check the COMPASS articles.