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Defense Dept. Boosts GPS Accuracy

May 10, 2000

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GPS (Global Positioning System) just got more accurate. By order of President Clinton, the U.S. Department of Defense has ceased the practice of degrading GPS satellite signals for civilian use. The change began on May 1 and while it had little immediate impact on fleet operations, it will result in more accurate GPS location data.

According to the authoritative Global Positioning and Navigation News, the un-degraded signals will increase GPS accuracy from about 330 feet to 40 feet, and sometimes as little as 20 feet. That level of accuracy will make standard GPS more useful in local pickup & delivery operations and practical for use in terminals and yards, to locate trailers, for example.
Those benefits have little to do with the presidential order however. The decision came in time to help U.S. interests at the World Radio Conference now underway in Istanbul, Turkey, where nations are vying for critical radio spectrum. The presidential order also makes it clear that while civilian interests in GPS now have equal standing with those of the military, control would revert to the U.S. military in times of crisis.
Aside from immediate benefits, increased GPS accuracy could lead to a new generation of technology products, some of which could have trucking applications.

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