Japan, India Reach Progress On GPS Endeavors

Street map with GPS icons

The Japanese government said that a new satellite could generate more than ¥2 trillion of market activity, while India prepares to launch a global positioning satellite (GPS) set in 2018.

Market Generation

Japan expects its second satellite under its GPS version to support a broad range of industries, including engineering, farming and construction. It launched the Michibiki No. 2 Satellite in June ahead of the government’s two other planned launched later in 2017.

Startup firm Forte joined several other provincial companies that have benefited from the government’s launch of the first Michibiki satellite in 2010. Forte used the equipment for its testing of a pedestrian system and bicycles.

The technology can also be used for other purposes such as tracking moving objects. Companies may use a GPS inertial navigation system for this purpose.

Debut Release

India targets the release of its own desi GPS set for public use in early 2018 that will operate under the NavIC name, according to Tapan Misra, Space Application Centre director. Prime Minister Narendra Modi coined the term, which means Navigation with Indian Commission.

Misra said that they currently test the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) for accuracy, following the country’s completion of the IRNSS in April 2016. It achieved the feat by deploying seven satellites with the IRNSS-1G as the last satellite to be launched under the series.

India’s constellation of seven satellites will only have a limited reach, as opposed to the U.S. that has worldwide coverage with 24 satellites. However, India’s GPS set is more accurate than its American counterpart, according to Misra.

NavIC’s coverage will include India, its surroundings and the Indian Ocean.


Asian countries have shown that they too can step up their GPS capabilities. It remains to be seen whether their efforts will be on par, or even eclipse, those from the U.S. and other western countries.