Differences Between GPS Systems: GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and BeiDou

Global Positioning System (GPS) is a well-known technology for location-based services, but there are other satellite-based navigation systems in operation worldwide. In this article, we will explore the differences between GPS and other prominent GPS systems, including GLONASS, Galileo, and BeiDou, and how they impact various applications.

Differences Between GPS Systems

car obd2 gps image4

car obd2 gps image4

Global Positioning System (GPS)

GPS, developed by the United States, is perhaps the most widely recognized satellite-based navigation system. Key features of GPS include:

  • Global Coverage: GPS provides global coverage, making it accessible anywhere on Earth.
  • Decent Accuracy: GPS offers good location accuracy, typically within a few meters.
  • 24-Satellite Constellation: GPS relies on a constellation of 24 satellites that transmit signals to receivers on Earth.


GLONASS is Russia’s counterpart to GPS. Here are some key aspects of GLONASS:

  • Global Coverage: GLONASS also offers global coverage, with a focus on high-latitude regions.
  • Similar Accuracy: GLONASS provides accuracy comparable to GPS, often within a few meters.
  • 24-Satellite Constellation: Like GPS, GLONASS relies on a constellation of 24 satellites for positioning.


Galileo is the European Union’s independent navigation system. Here’s what you need to know about Galileo:

  • Global Coverage: Galileo provides global coverage and aims to be a reliable alternative to GPS.
  • High Accuracy: Galileo offers high-precision positioning, potentially down to centimeter-level accuracy.
  • 30-Satellite Constellation: Galileo plans to have a constellation of 30 satellites when fully operational.


China’s BeiDou is another significant player in the world of satellite navigation. Key characteristics of BeiDou include:

  • Global Expansion: BeiDou has expanded its coverage to provide global positioning services.
  • Decent Accuracy: BeiDou offers decent accuracy, often within a few meters.
  • 35-Satellite Constellation: BeiDou operates a constellation of 35 satellites, enhancing its global reach.


While GPS is the most widely used satellite navigation system globally, other systems like GLONASS, Galileo, and BeiDou offer similar capabilities with some variations in coverage, accuracy, and regional strengths. The choice of system depends on the specific application and geographic location.


GPS is the most recognized satellite navigation system, but there are alternatives like GLONASS, Galileo, and BeiDou. They offer similar global coverage and accuracy but may have regional strengths.