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Aust. To Get Japan GPS System

Australia has been named as one of a number of nations targeted for deployment of a new GPS pinpoint location system being deployed by the Japanese.

Japan’s third geo-positioning satellite in the system, the Michibiki No. 3 quasi-zenith, pictured,was launched on an H-2A rocket on the weekend.

The system will compete with the current US GPS, used widely in Australia in the mining, agricultural and defence sectors. It also comes as state governments consider the introduction of automated buses and other vehicles.

The Japanese system is claimed to be more precise than the current GPS with a margin of error of several centimeters, accurate enough to locate a road pothole from space.

The Japanese Government is eyeing 2020 to begin promoting exports of the technology.

A fourth satellite, the Michibiki No. 4, is planned for launch in October to complete a four-satellite constellation, enough for one of the satellites to be above most of Asia and Australia 24 hours a day.

The system is being coordinated by Japan’s Geospatial Information Authority.

Japan plans to boost the number of its geo-positioning satellites to seven by 2023, making the system independently operational.

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