GPS 3 Comparison

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Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), or GPS as it is more frequently called, has become an essential part of our lives. I have a poor ability to visualise routes, and I find that I am often reliant on Google Maps for even simple journeys.

Then, of course, for fitness, I use GPS extensively to track my running, cycling and walking.

I recently even used a GPS tracker to track my luggage when I went on holiday.

Garmin Epix GPS Accuracy
Garmin Epix 2 vs Fenix 6 Pro GPS Accuracy

The accuracy and reliability of GPS is therefore extremely important. There is nothing more annoying to me than my Garmin Epix 2 messing up my GPS tracking when posting it to Strava, or even mid-workout for pacing.

The US have been improving GPS with the launch of the new GPS Block III which will both help keep the system operational and also improve it in many ways.

GPS 3: The Next Generation of GPS

GPS 3 is the latest generation of the Global Positioning System (GPS), designed to provide significant improvements over previous versions, such as GPS 2. Some of the key enhancements include increased accuracy, better anti-jamming capabilities, and extended lifespan[1].

Improvements Over GPS 2

GPS 3 offers 3-times greater accuracy and up to 8-times improved anti-jamming capabilities compared to GPS 2. While GPS 2 systems have a 5-10 meter accuracy, GPS 3 will have a 1-3 meter accuracy, making it more precise than ever before. This increased accuracy will result in more detailed and exact routes and locations for GIS-based web mapping applications like Google Maps[1].


To provide a comprehensive comparison between GPS 3, GALILEO, and GLONASS, the following table includes information on Origin, Operational Satellites, Frequency Band, Real-world accuracy, Encryption, Global Coverage, Interoperability, Capacity, Lifespan, Launch Date, and Final Launch Date.

OriginUnited StatesEuropean UnionRussia
Operational Satellites10 (planned)
31 Operational with older GPS
26 (planned)24
Frequency BandL1, L2, L5E1, E5, E6L1, L2
Real-world accuracy1-3 meters1-3 meters5-10 meters
Global CoverageGlobalGlobalGlobal
Lifespan15 years12 years7-12 years
Launch DateDec 2018Oct 2011Oct 1982
Final Launch DateOngoingOngoingOngoing


GPS 3 is developed by the United States, GALILEO is a project of the European Union, and GLONASS is owned by Russia[6].

Operational Satellites

GPS 3 has 10 planned satellites, GALILEO has 26 planned satellites, and GLONASS has 24 satellites[5][6][11].

Frequency Band

GPS 3 operates on L1, L2, and L5 frequency bands, GALILEO on E1, E5, and E6, and GLONASS on L1 and L2[3][10].

Real-world accuracy

GPS 3 and GALILEO offer 1-3 meters of accuracy, while GLONASS provides 5-10 meters of accuracy[1][6].


All three systems have encryption capabilities[6].

Global Coverage

All three systems provide global coverage[6].


GPS 3, GALILEO, and GLONASS are designed to be interoperable, meaning they can work together to provide more accurate and reliable positioning data[2].


All three systems have high capacity[13].


GPS 3 satellites have a lifespan of 15 years, GALILEO satellites have a lifespan of 12 years, and GLONASS satellites have a lifespan of 7-12 years[9].

Launch Date

GPS 3’s first satellite was launched in December 2018, GALILEO’s first satellite was launched in October 2011, and GLONASS’s first satellite was launched in October 1982[5][11].

Final Launch Date

All three systems are still ongoing, with more satellites planned for launch in the future[5][11].

Pros and Cons

GPS 3 Pros:

  • Improved accuracy (1-3 meters) compared to GPS 2 and GLONASS[1][6]
  • Better anti-jamming capabilities than GPS 2[1]
  • Longer lifespan (15 years) compared to GALILEO and GLONASS satellites[9]

GPS 3 Cons:

  • Still in the process of deployment, with only a few satellites currently in orbit[5]


  • High accuracy (1-3 meters) [6]
  • Better performance in urban environments compared to GPS and GLONASS[6]


  • Shorter lifespan (12 years) compared to GPS 3 satellites[9]


  • Better performance in mountainous regions compared to GPS and GALILEO[6]


  • Lower accuracy (5-10 meters) compared to GPS 3 and GALILEO[6]
  • Shorter lifespan (7-12 years) compared to GPS 3 satellites[9]

In conclusion, GPS 3 is a significant step forward in satellite navigation technology, offering improved accuracy, anti-jamming capabilities, and a longer lifespan compared to previous generations and other global navigation satellite systems. While GALILEO and GLONASS have their own advantages, GPS 3 is expected to provide a more accurate and reliable positioning system when fully deployed.


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