Good news for all GPS users:
The satellite based positioning system is now available at its full potential !
U.S. president Clinton directed the military forces to end the selective availability (SA*) of the Global Positioning System (GPS), which disturbed the precision of the signals. The system, which was developed in and is maintained by the USA, allows to find the current position (longitude, latitude, elevation) anywhere on the globe. Recently, it is used more and more for civilian purposes in cars, planes, boats, but also by hikers or mountaineers. Up to now,
the American military forces intentionally lowered the precision of the GPS signals to prevent foreign attackers from abusing it.
From now on, the signals will no longer be disturbed for civilian users. This will improve the quality of the signals by the factor of ten and provide now an accuracy of about 4 meters (RSM).
The GPS signals will still be blocked on areas which the U.S. considers malicious. These changes are possible because new technologies allow to block the
signals over particular regions.
GPS receivers can take advantage of the better signals without any user interventions. If your GPS receiver shows the current accuracy of the position (such as the GARMIN eTrex or the GARMIN eMap), you can check the better quality yourself.
*) The term "Selective Availability" (SA) stands for the intentional disturbance of the position signals by the American military. Due to the SA, the accuracy of the position indication was as bad as 30-70 meters, even if the system would allow much better accuracy. This should prevent the abuse of civilian GPS receivers for military purposes.
Source: Various news agencies