updated 05:21 am EDT, Wed April 3, 2013
Localized positioning service expanding, allowing public access
China is promoting its own global positioning satellite system, with a view to making it available to mobile phone manufacturers and related services. By offering the Beidou navigation system to public-interfacing companies, China hopes that it will eventually replace the current GPS service in most devices in the next few years.
Currently, Beidou is used in licensed services operated by the government and military for uses in mapping, hydrological monitoring, fishing, forestry, weather forecasts, telecommunications, and transport. The proposals add a large number of users to the 16-satellite array with a government official telling Xinhaunet "We are seeking favorable policies and attracting investment to promote the technology for public use. It will not be long before mobile phones adopt the Beidou system." The initial mobile device manufacturers to use the technology are probably going to be local outfits, with larger and externally-located GPS and mobile phone manufacturers likely adding support once enough people use it.
Created in response to China's reliance on the US-based GPS system, Beidou is said to have an accuracy similar to its competitor, being accurate to within 32 feet for positioning, 0.4mph for velocity, and one-way timing accuracy hitting 50 nanoseconds.