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Beidou helps put region on the map

Updated: 2012-12-28 01:23
By Xin Dingding and Cheng Yingqi ( China Daily)

Homegrown navigation network launched for civilians in Asia-Pacific

The Beidou navigation system began providing services for civilians in the Asia-Pacific region on Thursday.

After going through a one-year trial operation and adding six more satellites in 2012, Beidou, in terms of performance, is "comparable" to the United States' GPS, Ran Chengqi, spokesman for the China Satellite Navigation Office, told a news conference on Thursday.

Beidou helps put region on the map

China successfully launched another satellite into space for its indigenous global navigation and positioning network at 11:33 pm on Oct 25, 2012 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the southwestern province of Sichuan. [Photo/Xinhua]

Beidou, which means compass, now has a constellation of 16 navigation satellites and four experimental satellites.

"Signals from Beidou can be received in countries such as Australia," Ran said.

Its positioning accuracy has also improved, from 25 meters horizontally and 30 meters vertically at the beginning of the trial operation to the current 10 meters both horizontally and vertically, he said.

But in a GPS-dominated market, Beidou needs enterprises to participate in the development of applications for the system. A number of foreign companies have already shown an interest.

Its website ( ran both Chinese and English versions of a document that specifies signal-interface relations between the Beidou system and receivers.

Cao Hongjie, vice-president of Beijing UniStrong Science and Technology, which makes navigational products, said the publishing of the document means "domestic companies that have tried to develop Beidou applications for almost a decade will now face competition with foreign companies".

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