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Magellan Brings Three Meter Accuracy To Handheld GPS

Testing by Magellan shows its newly released WAAS-capable GPS receivers can obtain improved accuracy of better than three meters when the GPS unit receives full WAAS correction signals.
Santa Clara - May 21, 2001
Magellan Corporation, originators of the first GPS handheld, announced today its first shipment of upgraded GPS receivers offering accuracy of better than three meters. Selected Magellan handhelds now feature Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) technology that improves positioning accuracy.

Factory-installed WAAS capabilities are available in the MAP 330M and the MAP 330, which is also contained in the MAP 330X bundled package. At no additional cost, customers who previously purchased these products can upgrade their receivers to obtain this improved level of accuracy by downloading free software from Magellan.

WAAS, developed by the United States government, calculates errors in the GPS signal then transmits correction messages to WAAS-capable GPS receivers.

Upgraded Magellan receivers provide higher accuracy, not only from WAAS signals, but also when receiving correction signals from the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System (EGNOS), which covers Europe.

Additionally, projected specifications for the forthcoming Multifunctional Transport Satellite-based Augmentation System (MSAS) for Asia suggest that upgraded Magellan receivers will work with this system as well. As a result, Magellan customers will gain better than three-meter positioning accuracy throughout much of the world.

"We're excited to offer this revolutionary breakthrough," said Michael Griffin, President and CEO of Magellan. "With WAAS technology, our GPS receivers that previously achieved 15-meter accuracy, are more precise than ever at better than three meters.

"Most of all, the improved GPS accuracy will be more beneficial and useful in the daily lives of outdoor and marine enthusiasts, business professionals and countless other customers who rely on our products."

Magellan customers do not need special equipment to take advantage of the increased accuracy because WAAS uses the same frequency as the standard GPS signal. However, only Magellan's newer GPS receivers have adequate memory capacity to add the WAAS software.

Testing by Magellan shows its newly released WAAS-capable GPS receivers can obtain improved accuracy of better than three meters when the GPS unit receives full WAAS correction signals. Though three meters is a typical accuracy figure during WAAS usage, in some cases users will experience poorer accuracy because the effectiveness of WAAS corrections varies randomly.

"Multipath" (bouncing of the GPS signals on the ground) and satellite location can also impair accuracy in some situations. In addition, unlike GPS, the WAAS and EGNOS satellites are in geostationary orbits over the world's oceans and appear low on the horizon from the Western and Central continental U.S.

As a result receiving correction signals can be difficult if buildings, foliage, terrain and other ground obstacles block the signal from view. Reception will further improve as the U.S. government adds more satellites to the WAAS system.

Related Links
Magellan GPS Systems
WAAS Information
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ITT To Reslice GPS Channels
Fort Wayne - May 16, 2001
Lockheed Martin Space Systems has awarded ITT Industries Aerospace/Communications Division (A/CD), a $39M contract to upgrade up to twelve Global Positioning System (GPS) Block IIR satellites. The satellite payloads will be modified to incorporate a second civilian signal and two new military signals.

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