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June 22, 2013

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

City to invest in satellite navigation system

SHANGHAI will invest 190 million yuan (US$30.65 million) to build infrastructure for China's homegrown Beidou Navigation Satellite System that can be used for everything from monitoring vehicles transporting hazardous materials to locating people.

The city government said yesterday that in the next 18 months it will create the infrastructure needed to track 50,000 objects or people.

A vehicle monitoring system will cover the transport of hazardous chemicals, long-distance coaches, tourist buses, city buses and boats. The system is expected to improve transport safety.

"Within 18 months, we will provide more than 20,000 positioning locators to the elderly and children," said Zhang Hongzhou, director of the Qingpu District Science and Technology Commission. "The locators will be like a watch or school badge. Positioning information will be sent back to the tracking device so parents or other family members know where the person is."

Trials for tracking people will be mostly carried out in Qingpu District.

Using the technology, school bus drivers can check whether students get on and off buses while teachers can monitor students' whereabouts during class outings, officials said.

For the elderly, the locator can trigger an alarm if they fall suddenly or need help.

The system will also be used in mapping, land supervision and disaster monitoring, city officials said.

Beidou began providing services such as positioning, navigation, timing and short messages for China and surrounding areas to users in the Asia-Pacific region last December, said Ran Chengqi, director of the China Satellite Navigation Office.

"During the last earthquake in Sichuan Province, Beidou successfully located 27,000 items and provided 30,000 communication services within the first 48 hours," Ran said.

China started building its own satellite navigation system in 2000 to break the monopoly of the US-built GPS.


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