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September 12, 2013

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Shanghai improves accuracy of Beidou

A SYSTEM to enhance the precision of China’s homegrown Beidou Navigation Satellite System was officially launched in Shanghai yesterday.

The Beidou Ground Base Enhancement System’s 11 base stations are expected to help improve Beidou’s positioning accuracy from an error margin of 10 meters to within several centimeters or even millimeters under optimum conditions, similar to or better than the US-developed GPS, or Global Positioning System.

This improved accuracy will be able to tell, for example, if a vehicle is on or under an elevated road and normal toll exit or electronic toll collection exit at highway, city officials said.

The system will help the city government to better monitor the movement of dump trucks and those transporting dangerous chemicals with any abnormal movements detected and recorded.

Beidou, which was mainly used by the military and industries involved in mapping, land resources, urban construction, planning and water conservation, is going to be of even more help to the public wanting to locate vehicles, monitor water courses and keep an eye on vulnerable people — children and the elderly for example. It will also be used to keep track of people who are on bail and drug addicts receiving treatment in the community.

It will also be of benefit to farmers in planning their fields and guiding their tractors, and allow them to work during low visibility conditions such as rain, dust, fog and at night.

The Beidou system began providing services to civilian users in China and surrounding areas in the Asia-Pacific region at the end of last year, aiming to take a share of the GPS-dominated domestic market.

China launched the first satellite for the Beidou system in 2000 to break the monopoly of GPS, and a preliminary version of the system has been used for traffic control, weather forecasting and disaster relief work on a trial basis since 2003.

Shanghai said in June that it would invest 190 million yuan (US$30.65 million) to build infrastructure for Beidou that could be used for everything from monitoring vehicles to locating people.

The city’s satellite navigation industry is expected to grow by more than 15 percent this year and reach an annual growth of 20 percent between 2016 and 2020, creating 100,000 jobs, officials said.

In addition, the city’s system is expected to become a regional service platform and it is hoped it will cover the entire country within the next few years.



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