News & CommentEarth Science

Precise Positioning for All Is Coming

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  05 Apr 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5258, pp. 27
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5258.27a


Last week the White House announced that signals from the U.S. military's satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS) will be broadcast throughout the world free of charge for the foreseeable future—a boon to commercial applications of GPS. But there was also a bonus for researchers: The military will end the practice of degrading the signal available to civilians within 4 to 10 years. Earth scientists measuring such processes as the drift of continents have already found ways to compensate for the fuzzy signal, but the corrections are expensive.