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India’s own Navigation Satellite System

by Rohit Kumar

India gets closer to develop its own navigation system, known as IRNSS (Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System). IRNSS or NavIC is designed to provide accurate positioning information service to users in India as well as the region extending up to 1500 km from its boundary i.e. South-East Asia, a significant part of China and the Indian Ocean. It will provide two types of service i.e. SPS (Standard Positioning Service) for all users and RS (Restricted Service) for authorized users. NavIC will provide more accurate data than GPS. 

Constellation satellite of IRNSS i.e. IRNSS-1A, IRNSS-1B, IRNSS-1C, IRNSS-1D, IRNSS-1E, IRNSS-1F and IRNSS-1G. © ISRO

GPS (Global Positioning System) comprises of 31 (24 are active) satellite orbiting the Earth at an altitude of 20,000 km, on the other hand, NavIC has only 7 satellite. So, the question arises that how NavIC is better than GPS. GPS has 31 satellite but they have to cover the whole world, while NavIC 7 satellites will cover only India and its surrounding. These satellites are in geosynchronous orbit and nearly vertical over India, therefore it will always available to the receiver.

Some applications of NavIC are:

  • Terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation.
  • Disaster management.
  • Vehicle tracking and fleet management.
  • Integration with mobile phones.
  • Precise timing.
  • Mapping and Geodetic data capture.
  • Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travelers.
  • Visual and voice navigation for drivers.


Why India needs its own navigation system

In 1999 Kargil war, Pakistan captured India’s important position in high mountains and Indian army was trying to get information through GPS, but the United States denied access to India. This made nation realize the importance of indigenous navigation system.  NavIC will help to keep a close look on boundaries at normal or at the emergency time. 

NavIC Chip for Mobile

NavIC chips have been built with 32 channel IRNSS receiver to use NavIC in mobile phones. NavIC chips are being tested and by the end of this year, its blueprint will also be available. Security, air travel, and important installations are the common uses of the navigation system, by spending some money both L and S bands will available, both L and S bands can provide accuracy more than 5 meters. On the other hand, common people will also use it for accurate location. Since signals are coming vertically from stationary reference, so in crowded place and narrow lanes NavIC is going to work better than GPS.

NavIC Chip for Mobile helps in navigation. © ISRO

NavIC in Aircrafts

In aircrafts, landing and take-off are very important, because most accidents took place in such situation. NavIC receivers will be installed in aircraft soon. It’s a new technology called as Inverse NavIC. It will be positioned around the airports and have receivers which will locate the position with respect to the ground transmitters and LAN. GAGAN limits upto 250 m, so below it, this system will be useful. 


NavIC will available for public by 2018.  By indigenous navigation system, India will become independent and can use it in critical conditions. Its accuracy is better than GPS, both L and S bands can provide accuracy more than 5 meters. NavIC signals will come vertically from stationary reference, so will be more accurate in a crowded place and narrow lanes.

SATPALDA is a privately owned company and a leading provider of satellite imagery and GeoSpatial services to the user community. Established in 2002, SATPALDA has successfully completed wide range of photogrammetric and Remote Sensing Projects.

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