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GLONASS Vs Galileo: What’s Better?


With the continuous cementing of our interconnected world, the availability of building materials and efficient labour makes every construction project viable and desirable. As a result, accuracy, speed, and ease of use all continue their upwards climb in terms of importance, especially in the surveying equipment industry. More than ever, construction contractors want to know every facet of their land for effective planning, scheduling and budgeting. 

Therefore, choosing the right equipment and the right workers is vital. In the many discussions about how to improve processes, the question “what is better: GLONASS or Galileo” might get brought up. Luckily, today you can learn about the differences, and similarities, of these two satellite constellations and how to choose the right one for your next building project.

How Satellite Constellations Affect Surveying Equipment


What are GLONASS & Galileo?

Generally, all major world powers control their own system of satellites. We refer to these as satellite constellations, and Europe, Russia, China and the US all have their own global set. There are several reasons to segregate the systems, such as the speed of calculations, sensitive data transmissions and more. 

In the West, we generally assume that all satellites fall under the umbrella category of “GPS.” However, the reality is that each satellite constellation has its own name. Therefore, terms like GLONASS and Galileo are referring to individual satellite constellations. In this instance, the former is Russia’s Global NAvigation Satellite System, and the latter is Europe’s Galileo. 

Which is Better? 

Now that you can appreciate the differences, you can hopefully appreciate the difficulty in assigning one “better” than the other. If you measure it solely by number of satellites, GLONASS will win by having 26 units compared to Galileo’s 22. However, if you were comparing the quality of the results you would achieve then Galileo would come out ahead with a 1m autonomous solution to GLONASS’s 2.8m.

Instead, it is better to consider all satellite constellations on a relatively equal footing based on jurisdiction. Additionally, they all perform accurate measurements for surveying equipment, navigation devices and military operations for their respective owners. However, there is one way to enhance their capabilities.

How to Improve Surveying Equipment Through Satellite Constellations

Indeed, the best way to improve accuracy and precision is through combining the data of multiple systems. At this point, devices with combined functionality do exist and can achieve accuracy down to the millimetre. In conclusion, like many of the best things in life, cooperation and teamwork make any equipment better and more capable.

Bench Mark Equipment & Supplies is your team to trust with all your surveying equipment. We have been providing high-quality surveying equipment to land surveyors, engineers, construction, airborne and resource professionals since 2002. This helps establish ourselves as the go-to team in Calgary, Canada, and the USA. Plus, we provide a wide selection of equipment, including global navigation satellite systems, RTK GPS equipment, GNSS receivers, and more. We strive to provide the highest level of customer care and service for everyone. To speak to one of our team today, call us on 403-286-0333 or email us [email protected]

About the Author

Nolan has been working in the surveying field since 2017, starting as a part-time student at Bench-Mark while attending the University of Calgary. He now works in technical support and sales helping customers find the right product for them.

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