Chinese experts said greater cooperation on global navigation satellite systems is needed to avoid widespread problems if one of the systems fails.
Currently, only the US Global Positioning System (GPS) is working, while Russia is restoring GLONASS, and Europe and China are starting to build their own systems.
"If countries could strengthen cooperation, one system's failure will not have a major impact when there are other systems in place," said Cao Chong, a leading expert with China's Association of Global Navigating Satellite Systems.
Last week the US warned of a possible GPS interruption because of delays in modernizing and deploying the Air Force satellites that provide the service.
It could mean the accuracy and reliability of civilian and military GPS devices - including everything from "buddy finder" cell-phone applications to guided bombs - could deteriorate until new satellites are in orbit. But the US Air Force said it has plenty of ways of maintaining the navigation system increasingly relied on by drivers and cellphone users.
At present, nearly 200 million people worldwide are using GPS devices for positioning and navigation service, and GPS is also widely used in many industries, according to Cao.
In China, the sales of smartphones and GPS devices attached to car dashboards have been on the rise in recent years. GPS has also been widely used in many fields, including seismic studies of the movement of the Earth's crust, weather forecast, monitoring the transportation of dangerous goods and forestry surveys.
Dang Yaming, a researcher with Chinese Academy of Surveying and Mapping, said a decrease of GPS reliability could affect scientific studies and industries that place a high demand on accuracy, such as surveying and seismic studies.
"To some extent, these fields are relying on GPS. They are unlikely to abandon GPS and return to old methods Even if a few satellites fail, GPS still excels in many aspects," he said.
Both Cao and Dang agree that the challenge confronting GPS has revealed the importance of China building its own global navigation satellite system.
China plans to complete the Beidou satellite navigation system, incorporating five geo-stationary satellites and 30 non-geostationary satellites, by 2015, China News Agency reported earlier. In April, the second Beidou navigation satellite was launched.
But the system, as well as those owned by Russia and Europe, is unlikely to replace GPS in the coming three to five years if GPS fails, Dang said.