China's Beidou Navigation Satellite System, aka Compass Navigation System, is poised to provide high-quality services to most users in the Asia-Pacific region this year, an unidentified official from the system's management office recently said.
The official said at a seminar held in the southern city of Guangzhou that three satellites will be launched this year to help expand the system.
"With the trial run of the Beidou navigation service, we believe that China can provide high-quality satellite navigation services for most users in the Asia-Pacific region in 2012," said Xie Haizhong, general manager of the Beidou navigation science and technology department of Beijing Unistrong, a company that focuses on the global navigation satellite industry. Whether this will include coverage in Australia/New Zealand was not made clear.
China began to build the Beidou system in 2000 with a goal of breaking its dependence on the US Global Positioning System (GPS) and creating its own global positioning system by 2020. The Beidou system began providing initial positioning, navigation and timing operational services to China and its surrounding areas late last year.
Industrial experts said at the seminar that to insure the vitality of the Beidou system, its price must be near that of similar GPS systems.
Since its debut in 2000, the system has been widely used in transportation, fishery, hydrological monitoring, weather forecasting and disaster mitigation.