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will GPS always be free?

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  • will GPS always be free?

    Is it possible and feasible that government will somehow eventually make GPS a subscription or licence or anything like that?

  • #2
    its never been free.

    The tax payers in the US pay for gps.
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    • #3
      the gov can turn it off at anytime if they decide.. or make it less acurate
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      • #4
        technically we pay for it, but yes it is an initiative that was meant to be a free service. Of course, no one cat tell if it will "always" be free.
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        • #5
          I would seriously doubt they would be able to. I could be wrong...it has been known to happen.

          The only way possible would be if they came out with a newer version of GPS, say a GPS2. They would have to manufacture new hardware. i.e. Hardware that would incorporate some verification string, similar to the way Dish Network and DirectV receivers work.

          Other than that, there really wouldn't be any way they could. Because, essentially its waves in space from a satellite(s) already in position. There really isn't any maintenance costs on the satellites therefore wouldn't necessatate a need for additional funding.

          Also, it would literally require an act of congress to tax something like that, which would only be for this country and well... that's a political myre that no one would want to pursue until one of the "valued" constituents complained about GPS caused my brain to fry! or something like that.

          Sorry for the slight rant there...

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          • #6
            Originally posted by bobthebaker
            Is it possible and feasible that government will somehow eventually make GPS a subscription or licence or anything like that?
            GPS will always be free, at least with the current design of the system.
            Just remember, unless you are military, your GPS coordinates will not be exact. The government puts in a margin of error, so that bad ppl can't use GPS systems to plot/plan things to exact positions. I think the margin of error is like 4 feet or something like that.

            I'm not sure about the origin of GPS. I believe it was designed for military, and then they offered it to the public with certain restrictions. I do not believe they can actually determine who is using GPS with just an average hand hend GPS locator. I think the locator receives the satellite coordinates and then computes your position (based on triangulation and whatnot). correct me if I'm wrong - I don't claim to know what I'm talking about

            So with the current setup, civilians are not able to use GPS systems to guide cars to drive down roads. Since the error is like 4 or 8 feet, that makes a big problem when you are driving in a lane that is only like 10 feet wide. You get the idea.
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            • #7
              It's free if you don't live in the US

              It's possible for the US military to turn off GPS, but I don't think they can make it a charge service without changing the signal format (to include info on valid subscribers, which is how other satellite service work, I believe). It'll never happen; having control over GPS is a huge military advantage, and making it free helps ensure that alternatives don't apppear - although Europe is now going ahead with building their own, so as not to be dependent on the US.

              edit: wow, alot of people decended on the question real quick! I guess most of my post was redundant - ah well. As an aside, I believe they are planning on upgrading (degrading less) the civilian signal sometime in the relatively near future.

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              • #8
                i also believe there is a version of gps that is really acurate that you can pay for that is encoded.. its like 3 feet or something
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by SnyperBob
                  Just remember, unless you are military, your GPS coordinates will not be exact. The government puts in a margin of error, so that bad ppl can't use GPS systems to plot/plan things to exact positions. I think the margin of error is like 4 feet or something like that.
                  There is no longer an induced error ( for "selective availability" and GPS)

                  They can't make it a subscription system at this point. It "belongs" to the American people, and there is now too much industry and emergency services built up on it that would be affected. Fear not.
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                  • #10
                    I'm pretty sure the US Government regulates the recievers witch determine accuracy. Some GPS-guided bombs (which use the same satilites) are accurate to within 30 inches (probabaly more so). GPS was a great idea and as said, cannot be a pay-per service. Current statalites will work for a while, and there are always mroe going up. I think they are up to 24 now.
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                    • #11
                      NOTHING is FREE

                      I remember when TV was "free", now it's even hard to find anything worth watching on $cable or $atellite. How many times have you heard "150 channels and nothing to watch"? Now I pay for XM Radio cause there is NOTHING useful on FM anymore. Not to mention our contributions to advertisers pocket books. Don't you worry, you pay... you ALWAYS pay.

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                      • #12
                        Yeah, what phord said. The government stopped inducing errors in the system back in 2000 i think. It used to be that non-military systems were accurate to 100 feet. He's further right in saying that there is too much infrastructure to start charging for gps. I will say that gps is not essentially unfunded now that the satelites are in orbit; the cost of maintaining at launching new satelites is easilly in the billions of dollars per year, and when you think of all that is depending on this system, it is good that we are investing such an ammount to keep it running well. Oh yeah, one more thing, the gps guided bombs and such: the military implementation of gps is of a far greater quality than the civilian implementation. Just like civilian nightvision is 4 generations behind the military's 100 grand per special forces operator nightvision the gps is much better, with hardware to overcome gps jamming and greatly increase accuracy. Again, this is quite desirable, we really don't want 1 ton bombs falling from a guided signal that is jammed or inaccurate.

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                        • #13
                          I think a 2,000 pound bomb accurate to within 30 inches will do fine. My hand held GPS displays it accuracy. Often its 20 feet + or - 4 feet. 16-24 feet is good enogh for me. If getting to within 24 feet of something doesn't help, you must suck at life. It even helped me in a corn field maze (don't ask)
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by msb5150
                            Yeah, what phord said. The government stopped inducing errors in the system back in 2000 i think. It used to be that non-military systems were accurate to 100 feet. He's further right in saying that there is too much infrastructure to start charging for gps. I will say that gps is not essentially unfunded now that the satelites are in orbit; the cost of maintaining at launching new satelites is easilly in the billions of dollars per year, and when you think of all that is depending on this system, it is good that we are investing such an ammount to keep it running well. Oh yeah, one more thing, the gps guided bombs and such: the military implementation of gps is of a far greater quality than the civilian implementation. Just like civilian nightvision is 4 generations behind the military's 100 grand per special forces operator nightvision the gps is much better, with hardware to overcome gps jamming and greatly increase accuracy. Again, this is quite desirable, we really don't want 1 ton bombs falling from a guided signal that is jammed or inaccurate.
                            I don't believe there are seperate civilian and military implementations of GPS. They're the same satellites, just the civilian-accessible signal was degraded. With that degradation now turned off, the civilian and military are on equal footing (well almost - apparently there's a second corrective signal the military uses, and at least within US jurisdiction commercial recievers must be inoperable at high speed)

                            Also, the cost of maintaining the fleet is apparently apprx. $400 million, including replacing old satellites.

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                            • #15
                              Just expanding on what Mushin has said:

                              There are separate civilian and military signals. The military one is encoded, and the GPS receiver decodes the signal, and uses the time difference between the two signals to get a better accuracy.

                              The two signals are transmitted on slightly different frequencies, and therefore take different times to reach the surface.

                              I should add that i'm in the army and our GPS receivers come with crypto so they can decrypt the military signal.

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