Cheap and accessible GPS technology has been around for the past few years, and has made life easier in a host of ways. Initially a military system it's been available for civilian applications and is a key technology in the burgeoning field of location-based commerce.
Now Europe is getting in on the game with its own satellite navigation system, albeit not for over a decade. There's a Russian system called Glonass as well, but it's much less accurate because it has fewer satellites to triangulate signals.
And accuracy is vital, because we're all going to be relying more and more on GPS in the coming years. It's already key to car navigation, ship positioning and a host of commercial applications, and there are some very exciting devlopments coming down the line.
Having a back-up system is no bad thing for something so important. Particularly since the current provider apparently reserves the right to turn it off occasionally.
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