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GNSS Technology

Modernized GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and Beidou
  • Galileo and Beidou

  • Modernized GPS


Europe’s Galileo and China’s BeiDou Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) benefit users by independently providing additional satellites, satellite ranging signals, and interoperability with civilian GNSS.

As with previous products that capitalized on next-generation capabilities in advance of modernized GPS satellite launches, Trimble is pleased to announce the availability of Galileo BeiDou and Japan’s augmentation system Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS), in addition to existing GPS and GLONASS capability in selected receivers. This latest generation of Trimble 360™ receiver technology tracks and uses in the position engines satellites from GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and BeiDou along with existing and planned augmentations to these GNSS, including the U.S. Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), Japanese Multi-functional Satellite Augmentation System (MSAS) and QZSS, Indian GPS-Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) and the Russian System of Differential Correction and Monitoring (SDCM).


Galileo satellites provide four Open Service (OS) signals, namely L1 CBOC, E5A, E5B or the combined E5A/E5B called E5AltBOC when optimally tracked. Trimble 360 receiver technology is capable of tracking Galileo satellites and conforms to the current Open Service Signals-in-Space Interface Control Document (OS SIS ICD), Issue 1, Revision 1, September 2010. The measurements can be logged or streamed in a variety of formats including industry standards such as RINEX and BINEX. Additionally once the health status on the satellites indicates the transmissions are healthy, the data can be used in the position engines including the Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) engine. Sale of receivers based on information in the Galileo OS SIS ICD, developed under a License of the European Union and the European Space Agency, is subject to the licensing terms promulgated by the European Union (the EU), represented by the European Commission (the Commission). Trimble has a license to be able to commercialize Galileo OS SIS ICD technology. There are currently eight Galileo satellites in space.


The BeiDou Open Signal B1I (Version 1) ICD was released at the end of 2012.  Certain models of Trimble receivers using Trimble 360 technology can track, stream, log and position, including RTK positioning with BeiDou signals. BeiDou is comprised of regional and global components. The current regional component, focused on the China area, has been completed and consists of five geostationary satellites and five inclined geosynchronous orbiting satellites in space. The global component will consist of 27 medium earth orbit satellites; there are currently four in space with a plan to complete this component by 2020. Trimble 360 receivers are compliant to version 1.0 of the ICD. Trimble cannot guarantee our receivers will be compatible with a future generation of BeiDou satellites if the signal definitions change from those defined in the Version 1 ICD.  


The first QZSS satellite was launched on September 11, 2010. Based on the IS-QZSS Version 1.5 ICD, Trimble 360 technology is capable of tracking, logging, streaming measurements and using the data in the position solution. There is currently only a single satellite in space in an inclined geosynchronous orbit, with plans to launch additional satellites by 2020.

July 2015

GPS is modernizing in three stages. The first step in the GPS modernization program planned by the US is the addition of the civilian L2C signals starting with the IIR-M GPS satellites, all future GPS satellites launched will include this signal. There are currently 12 satellites in space with L2C capability.

How will the new L2C signals benefit you? Over the last decade GPS technology has helped users to increase productivity, improve efficiency, and lower costs. And now the new L2C signal promises to take these benefits a step beyond. With the new L2C signals, your L2 measurements can be more robust, making your GPS observations even more reliable. All you need to benefit from the stronger signals is a GPS receiver capable of tracking them.

Now that the first L2C satellites are in orbit, it's possible to look ahead to the next modernized GPS signal on the horizon, the entirely new L5 carrier. L5 is the second step of GPS modernization and is included on the Block IIF and future GPS satellites. The first IIF satellite was launched in 2010 and there are now 4 satellites in space transmitting the L5 signal.

The arrival of L5 increases the number of GPS carriers to three. With L1, L2, and L5 carriers available, it's anticipated that the capabilities of RTK systems will be significantly boosted and will thus provide exciting new benefits for high-precision GPS users. In addition, L5 signals provide a higher power level than the other carriers. As a result, acquiring and tracking signals will be easier.

The third phase of the modernization program is the addition of the L1C civilian signal on board the Block III satellites currently being developed. It is anticipated these satellites will start to launch in 2015. This new L1 signal provides improved multipath mitigation so will further improve the performance of the position solution.

Trimble R-Track technology, in a variety of Trimble receivers, supports GLONASS L1/L2 signals, the GNSS owned by the Russian Federation Government. In 2004 the United States and the Russian Federation issued a joint statement on cooperation, with the objective of maintaining and promoting interoperability between their two systems.

Trimble incorporates new technology when confident that it will provide surveying professionals with real field and business benefits. As evidence of this commitment to our customers, Trimble R-Track technology in Trimble receivers now takes advantage of all currently available GNSS signals, including the new the L2C and L5 signals of Modernized GPS, plus GLONASS L1/L2. Trimble R-Track technology provides outstanding quality control in computing solutions using all available signals.