From next year onwards if you ever lose your way in any part of the country or anywhere in the Arabian sea, `NavIC' will come to your rescue and help you find your bearings. Yes, India's very own desi Global Positioning System (GPS) is operational and is set to hit the market for public use in early 2018. “The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System with an operational name of NavIC is currently being tested for accuracy and is most likely to be available in market for public early next year,“ said Tapan Misra, the director of Ahmedabad-based Space Application Centre.

NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation), which means sailor or navigator in Hindi, is designed to provide accurate position information to users within the country .“Though American GPS with 24 satellites in a constellation has wider reach and covers the entire world, NavIC with seven satellites covers only India and its surroundings but is more accurate than the American system. NavIC will provide standard positioning service to all users with a position accuracy of 5 metre. The GPS, on the other hand, has a position accuracy of 20-30 metre,“ the SAC director said.

NavIC has helped India enter the club of select countries which have their own positioning systems. Besides America's GPS, Russia has its GLONASS while European Union has Galileo. China is also in the process of building Beidou Navigation Satellite System.

The indigenous navigation system, which cost Isro Rs.1,420 crore, will aid terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation, vehicle tracking and fleet management, disaster management, mapping and geodetic data capture, visual and voice navigation for drivers. “NavIC will cover the entire country , Indian Ocean and its surroundings,“ Misra said.

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