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Use of China's Beidou GPS technology spreading

By Cai Wenjun (Shanghai Daily)

08:15, November 02, 2012

A GLOBAL Positioning System clock function launched as part of China's Beidou satellite network is increasingly being adapted from solely military to civilian use, local science officials told a meeting in Shanghai yesterday on the use of such technology.

Seven agreements on use of technology developed by the military were signed with Shanghai government, institutes and companies at the meeting, where civilian use of Beidou was highlighted and promoted. Details of the agreements are not yet available.

Experts said the time service offered by Beidou, the satellite system also known as the Compass system, not only allows Chinese communications become independent of US GPS services but also brings benefits to many aspects of power network and transportation management.

The satellite system broadcasts highly accurate measurements of time and has the benefit of being immune from disturbances and available at all times. Using the technology, professionals can quickly locate power grid or Metro system problems, experts said.

Li Guoqing from Shanghai Shenbei Technology Development Co said the time service of Beidou has been used for the power grid in some regions with good results.

"The power network has so many lines. If there is a problem at a certain position, it is quite difficult to locate it quickly, and the time service, which is accurate to the microsecond, can find where the breakdown is through calculating the duration of blackouts at different monitoring spots," he said. "For accidents in the Metro line or high-speed rail, the time service is also essential for a quicker location of failures."

The local Metro uses workers to find problem spots, which can take time.

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