Monday, December 15, 2008

New WAAS Technology Increases Marine GPS Accuracy

New WAAS Technology Increases Marine GPS Accuracy
By []Hugo Valle

Marine GPS is now benefiting from a new technology called WAAS, which is being developed by a couple of Government agencies to improve the accuracy of GPS data for aviation purposes. Even though this new technology is still in its infancy, it has already brought Marine GPS accuracy to within 3 meters, and most leading GPS manufactures are already manufacturing WAAS capable devices.

WAAS stands for Wide Area Augmentation System and is basically a new system of satellites working together with ground stations whose main function is to make corrections to GPS signal readings, which usually get distorted by satellite orbit, atmospheric disturbances and delay in signal transmission. The ground stations track GPS reading from all GPS satellites and forward it to a couple of master ground stations whose function is to retransmit the corrected data back to a stationary satellites for retransmission back to the originating satellites.

The resulting improvement in accuracy of the GPS reading seems to be in the range of 3 to 5 times better than GPS alone, and that currently translates to a pinpoint accuracy of approximately 3 meters. Three meter might not seem like a lot, but considering that the average was 10 meters, to vessel in open waters makes a major difference.

The initial mission for WAAS was to improve GPS readings accuracy for aviation purposes, but the new technology is finding its way into marine GPS as well. WAAS is also a free system and the structure of the information is compatible with existing GPS signals, which means that any GPS device equipped with a WAAS antenna can benefit from it. What's more, newer Garmin marine GPS, Lawrence marine GPS and Magellan, who are the leading manufactures of marine GPS devices already have WAAS capable marine GPS systems on the market.

The current infrastructure of the WAAS system at the moment has only been developed to support most of North America and cannot cover remote areas outside the United States, but other regions like Asia and Europe are also developing parallel systems and eventually, GPS users around the world will have access to much more precise positioning GPS data by tapping into these systems.

For a list of available WAAS capable Marine GPS, please visit:

Hugo Valle is an Affiliate Marketer and expert in Car Audio and Consumer Electronics.

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