By Evan Ackerman
As you may or may not know, the US Military has the ability to turn off GPS whenever they feel like it. It’s therefore unsurprising that Russia has its own satellite navigation system, called GLONASS (ГЛОбальная НАвигационная Спутниковая Система, for whatever it’s worth). It’s also unsurprising that the military-supported system fell into disrepair after the Russian economy crashed, but they’ve promised to restore global coverage (and expand high-precision signals to the civilian market) by 2009. In anticipation of this, hardware capable of decoding both US GPS and Russian GLONASS signals is starting to become available, for anywhere from $20 to $4200. This means faster and more accurate position fixes, or it will eventually, after Russia launches a few more satellites. Currently, unless you live in Chechnya, GLONASS isn’t going to be of much help. But still, the 2009 completion target is much earlier than the EU’s Galileo system for those of us who rely on high resolution GPS systems to tell us what lane to be in when trying to get from Oakland to San Francisco.