New equipment for an increasingly popular satellite navigation system is expected to improve the accuracy of the tracking system from about 100 yards to seven yards.
The government awarded a $475 million contract Thursday for development of 36 ground stations in the system that can guide airplanes, trucks, ships and even car drivers."This is the beginning of a new era," in which the Global Positioning System will be the primary means of navigation in the country, Transportation Secretary Federico Pena said.
Wilcox Electric will develop the new system, which uses signals from 24 Defense Department satellites.
GPS receivers have become widely used in recent years by everyone from ship and airline captains to hikers in the backwoods. The receivers compare signals from the satellites and pinpoint the position of the user.
However, current equipment is only accurate to within about 100 yards, or so.