India’s NavIC Vs. America’s GPS: Which Will Be Better?

Modi government pursued an ambitious project named NavIC, which is in the final stages of launch and could soon be offered as an Indian counter to foreign systems currently being used. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi named it NavIC to honor the fisherman/boatmen of the country. Although the question has arisen whether NavIC will be able to compete with other navigation systems in the world like GPS (which is from the US government) or not. In this post, we will let you know which will be better in the future: NavIC or GPS!

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What is NavIC?

The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System or IRNSS is an Indian developed Navigation Satellite System or an indigenous regional positioning system for India. It will be used to provide accurate real-time positioning and timing services over India region extending to 1500 km around India. India became the 5th country to have an operational navigation system.

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It is named as NAVIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation) (the word navic (नाविक) meaning seafarer in Sanskrit). NAVIC will provide services to India including SAARC countries with position accuracy of 20m. The main Objective of NAVIC is to provide reliable positioning and navigation services to India and its neighborhood.

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Comparison between NavIC and GPS

IRNSS is expected to be more accurate than the American GPS system with an accuracy of 10 to 20 meters. L and the S-band signals received from the seven satellite constellation will be calculated by a special embedded software that reduces the errors caused by atmospheric disturbances.

This, according to the scientists, will give it an edge over the American GPS. In order to receive the S-Band signals from the IRNSS satellites, ISRO recommends that managers should incorporate a small additional hardware in the devices alongside a code in the phone software which will in turn help to receive the L-Band signals.

► In terms of Satellites:

  • IRNSS: 7 satellite system, namely IRNSS-1A, IRNSS-1B, IRNSS-1C, IRNSS-1D, IRNSS-1E, IRNSS-1F, IRNSS-1G.
  • GPS: 32 satellite system.
  • Conclusion: This makes GPS much more powerful & thus enabling it to have a much wider reach as compared to IRNSS.
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► In terms of Resolution:

  • IRNSS: 20 Meters.
  • GPS: Almost same, 20 Meters. (10 meters with a handheld device)
  • Conclusion: Resolution for both the system is almost the same. So, both seem to be better in this context.

► In terms of Coverage:

  • IRNSS: is a Regional System i.e. in intended to cover only South Asia. It will cover roughly 1500KM beyond India’s political boundaries.
  • GPS: Global System. It covers almost the entire World.
  • Conclusion: American GPS is better.
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► In terms of  Constellation Type:

  • IRNSS: IRNSS is GEO/GSO constellation.
  • GPS: GPS is a Medium Earth Orbit satellite constellation.
  • Conclusion: Both have different challenges.

Drawbacks of NavIC

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  • If you take the global presence into account coverage is limited.
  • Considering satellites are in Geostationary orbit (36000 km away) signals might take relatively more time.


As of now, the IRNSS’ average accuracy is not better than that of GPS. GPS usage is already common across India, so consumers don’t need to be educated about this, but that is not the case with IRNSS. IRNSS is till not a tested system, with time it will become more mature & then only we will be able to say anything substantial.


Debobrata Deb

Written by Debobrata Deb

He has always been interested in technology, especially knowing deeply about computers or gadgets since childhood. Gathering and sharing more and more knowledge relating to awesomeness is what he always like to do.