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India’s NavIC Explained: What Is NavIC, How Is It Different From GPS And How It Works

By: S Aadeetya

Edited By: S Aadeetya


Last Updated: September 28, 2022, 17:23 IST

Delhi, India

NavIC is India's own GPS system for navigation

NavIC is India's own GPS system for navigation

NavIC has been indigenously developed by ISRO which is used for limited purposes in the country right now.

India is looking to localise its navigation support by adopting NavIC instead of GPS. The Government has reportedly talked about the change with phone brands like Xiaomi and Samsung, and soon, you might rely on NavIC for basic navigation purposes.

NavIC or Navigation with Indian Constellation has been developed by ISRO and is viewed as the best alternative to GPS which is run by the US Government. So, what is NavIC, how does it work, how is it different from GPS and more? Here’s everything you need to know.

What Is NavIC

NavIC is the Indian version of the global positioning system (GPS) that we have used over the years, and ISRO has collaborated with chip maker Qualcomm to integrate this into the line of chipsets that they make. Currently, NavIC is used for emergency location tracking and vehicle tracking.


But the main focus for NavIC was always going to smartphone navigation, which helps users to get their Uber booking or order food via Swiggy or Zomato to their location. NavIC will provide two types of location services—the standard positioning service as well as the encrypted service for security agencies as well as military access. The NavIC system relies on 7 satellites, of which 3 are geostationary earth orbit (GEO) satellites and 4 are geosynchronous orbit (GSO) satellites.

How Is NavIC Different From GPS?

Global Positioning System or GPS has been developed in the US and operated by them as well. NavIC has been developed in India by ISRO and offers the Indian Government better control over the system, which was one of the main reasons behind the origin of NavIC. It has given India its own navigation system which will operate even when there are geopolitical tensions in the future. Also, with the local system in place, the navigation accuracy is bound to be better.

With NavIC, India is part of the group of countries that have their own positioning system, which includes Russia (GLONASS), the European Union (Galileo) and China (BeiDou Navigation Satellite System).

Do We Have Phones With NavIC Support In India?

Yes, Qualcomm already has the Snapdragon 720G, Snapdragon 662 and Snapdragon 460 processors, designed for budget and mid-range Android smartphones that use the NavIC positioning system for location services. Brands like Xiaomi and Realme have also launched phones with NavIC support but global players are still using GPS for navigation.

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first published:September 28, 2022, 16:41 IST
last updated:September 28, 2022, 17:23 IST