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EU's new EGNOS GPS system goes active

Nilay Patel

The EU's Galileo satellite positioning project has been lost in a haze of paperwork for a while, but there's finally some positive news to report: a "precursor" system called EGNOS launched last week, which will provide free positioning over most of the 27 EU states. The European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service, as it's charmingly called, consists of three satellites, four control centers, and around 40 positioning stations, all of which combine to take signals from US GPS satellites and enhance them to provide position information that's accurate to six feet, compared to around 60 feet for GPS alone. That means satnavs in Europe are going to get more accurate overnight, as most major brands are already EGNOS-ready -- too bad better navigation won't keep drivers in the UK from careening into rivers and damaging bridges.

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