INTRODUCTION The purpose of this paper is to construct a framework for understanding the commercial implications of the Global Positioning System (GPS) and its applications in Japan. Most literature, while touching upon GPS, tends to concentrate on the technicality of how GPS works, seems to be overlook the user's segment and commercial market where the bulk of revenues are generated. I choose Japan as a case study because Japan is a place where the civilian (commercial) applications of GPS are at high speed of development. Therefore, in this paper, I will first give a brief overview of GPS and its use in the world. Then I will discuss about to what extent and in what aspects GPS has been applied for civilian use in Japan. GPS AND ITS BRIEF HISTORY The Global Positioning System-GPS, is installed 24 Nav star satellites in six orbital planes.
Each plane is settled four satellites that rotated with circular 20,200-kilometer orbits at an inclination angle of 55 degrees and a period of 12 hours. The configuration makes the satellites appearing in the same position at the same sidereal time each day. Because the location will be observed by at least five satellites from anywhere at any time, a GPS receiver can receive the signals from at least three of these satellites. Thus, a position can be determined (El-Rabbany, 2002; Muller, 2000) To determine the position, it is necessary to calculate the timing differences from at least three signals which are encoded. Each satellite transmits a signal including its orbital elements, clock behavior, system time, and status massages.
A contained calendar provides the estimated data for each active satellite, and all satellites have to be located once the first one has been successfully confined. The raw data from satellites can be displayed in some ways such as local time, Universal Time, Standard time. The date acts as an alarm clock, and can calculate sunrise and moonrise, as well as define position, travel direction, speed, and estimate arriving time (El-Rabbany, 2002; Parkinson & Spilker, 1996). The twenty-four active GPS satellites orbit 11,000 nautical miles above the Earth. Each GPS satellite sends radio signal containing its code, orbital position, and exact time. Comparing the time which takes for signals to arrive from three or more satellites, a GPS receiver can determine [the own exact coordinates] because each satellite is at a recognized position in space (El-Rabbany, 2002; Muller, 2000; Parkinson & Spilker, 1996).
(Source: National Defense Academy in Japan Official Web Site web) (Source: Source: National Defense Academy in Japan Official Web Site web) The first navigation system was the U.S. Navy's Navigation Satellite System introduced in 1960's, and by 1973, there came a new innovating navigation system planned and completed by a small group of armed forces officers and civilians in the Pentagon. It was based on radio lining up to artificial satellites which were called NAV STARs (Parkinson & Spilker, 1996). Since then, the GPS system had been upgraded on continuous basis with a huge cost of $13 billion dollars over nearly 2 decades (Muller, 2000). The first success application of GPS system was seen during the first Gulf War in 1991 when United States forces used the system for navigation and targeting. During the War, U.S. tanks depended on GPS to find their direction around the desert in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Since then, there has been an increased demand for GPS in world market, not just for military purposes, but more for civilian use.
GPS is now used in car navigation, and the on-screen and voice instructions can point out the location on the digital map and chart a path with real-time route guidance for drivers. Today, anyone who carries a GPS receiver, in anywhere in the world, is ensured to almost instantaneously get free benefit from the GPS system for navigational purposes (Wilson, 2002). In its applications, the GPS has proved itself to have more civilian utility than military use. Because of this, the code structure has thus been designed into two coded-the P code used by military, and the C / A code used by civil users.
Its civilian utility has been expended from its initial use for accurate time transfer to its current use for survey in marine, air, land, and even space. Now the number of civil users is over more than 10 times than military users. With cost decreasing, it is expected that the number of civil users would increase rapidly (El-Rabbany, 2002; Parkinson & Spilker 1996). What follows is a list of some major civil applications. o Public safety (i. e., ambulance route navigation and wireless 911) o Recreational vehicle navigation (land, air or marine vehicles) o Other recreational / gaming (such as hunting and fishing devices) o Automotive / intelligent vehicle navigation o Asset tracking o "Smart" agriculture o Mining and geological applications o Construction / civil engineering applications o Marine surveying and oceanography o Precision Timing (including personal locating and wireless) (El-Rabbany, 2002; Muller, 2000; Newton, 2001; Parkinson & Spilker, 1996). Since its invention, the GPS system has been developed through five-generation (blocks) upgrading of satellites. In chronological order, they are: 1) Navigation technology satellites; 2) navigation development satellites-Block I; 3) block II; 4) block IIA satellites; and 5) block IIR satellites.
Currently, the U.S. A is planning to build the next group called block IIF. It is now apparent that a new generation of navigation utility has been in making (Parkinson & Spilker, 1996). Beyond the U.S. we have seen the fast development of other satellite navigation systems. Russia has developed Glonass satellite system, an all- weather global navigation satellite system. Russia's satellite system is similar in general function to the GPS. However, because it failed to develop civil applications, Glonass has not worked well so far.
In January 1996, the Glonass system completed 24 operational satellites, but by May 2001, only seven satellites have remained in function. Nonetheless, a new generation Glonass satellite will be expected to launch in the near future (El-Rabbany, 2002). (Source: National Defense Academy in Japan Official Web Site web) Since the current satellite-based global navigation systems, both GPS and GLONASS, do not meet all of the civil aviation requirements, concerted efforts have been made to develop several GPS augmentation technologies. For example, in the U.S., Wide Area Augmentation System is in use as a supplement for a ground network and geo-stationary satellites to detect errors in the GPS signals and correct broadcast messages to the receivers. Japan has also developed a similar system, called MTS AT, to improve air traffic control across the Pacific Ocean (El-Rabbany, 2002). On the other hand, competition for future global satellite navigation systems has constantly been fierce between the U.S. and Europe.
The European countries such as France, Germany and Italy have decided to build Galileo to compete with the U.S. GPS system. The Galileo will be placed on 30 satellites moving around the earth in three orbit planes linked to ground stations. Galileo will have more accuracy than GPS, designed for non-military, commercial use, and will be free to the civilians who want to get access to it. Russia has announced that they would join with the Galileo (De Selding, 2002; El-Rabbany, 2002).
GPS IN JAPAN While most countries around the world use GPS in airlines, ships and businesses, GPS is popular in use not only for the above applications but also for a large number of personal consumers in Japan. The most obvious is car navigation with GPS based mobile communication system. In some way, Japan is a natural market because of its ever heavy traffic jams on the road, even on the highway. Many Japanese use the GPS receiver as kind of toy as they wade through traffic (Fulford, 1999).
Since most Japanese households have their own cars, in many cases the cars come not only with CD players and television reception but with GPS-based navigation equipment. Early users in Japan have developed the utility of consumer GPS systems, including an infrastructure of digital maps and real-time traffic trackers. The GPS system has also become standard equipment on most vehicles. Moreover, GPS is also considered the gateway to a coming generation of multipurpose, intelligent mobile electronics (Yosida, 1996).
For example, a new design of navigational laptop computers was popular in Japan in 1999, only one year, there were 1.5 million units sold at prices of $1,000 to $3,000. But by comparison, in the U.S. market, the annual sales have been only about 100,000 units. Since 1999, some new models of voice recognition system have come out of production line, which is able to correctly recognize user's home address, display the exact direction, and show the way home by going around the traffic jams (Fulford, 1999). In May 1996, Japan introduced its Vehicle Information Communication System. The system can broadcast road conditions and other information for drivers in real-time, and offers drivers alternate routes.
Moreover, the system can estimate travel times between two locations, serve as a guide to certain parking lots, and even direct drivers onto the fastest route. Such information is transmitted via FM multiplex broadcasting and optical and radio beacons through the digital map into car navigation system (Yosida, 1996). Because of its convenience, the navigation system has become a very useful instrument by which drivers can save enormous time on trip. In Japan, consumer GPS technology started in the early 1990's by Pioneer, and the system has already gone through several generations and survived in major market. Electronics manufacturers have keenly competed with one another on navigators' richer features as well as lower cost. For this reason, the Japanese companies have developed a sufficient flexible platform and GPS chip-set which displays the users' terminal in different shapes, designs and applications.
According to the Electronics Industry Association of Japan (EIA J), 720,000 GPS auto systems were sold in Japan between late 1993 and July 1996, and the annual market share almost doubled in both volume and value (Yosida, 1996). In the following, I will specifically discuss about three most popular civil uses of GPS system in Japan. Car - Navigation System Car-navigation system is most illustrative in a traffic-information service called the Vehicle Information and Communication System (VICS) run by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPT), Police Agency and Ministry of Construction. Today, VICS provides more precise and necessary information for drivers such as car accidents and major road construction conditions updates through FM multiplex broadcasting. VICS information can be downloaded to the digital maps of a GPS system. Many automobiles carry non-CD-ROM-based small and cheap enough GPS units, or car audio combined with high quality speaking navigation system with voice-recognition and voice-synthesis technologies (Yoshida, 1996).
To the average citizen, the GPS system in car navigation on screen and voice instructions can direct complete real-time route guidance and provide instructions on the digital map. It becomes very helpful for Japanese drivers. Because most narrow, unnamed streets follow curving paths which lay out among a tangle of property lines in urban areas, the Japanese drivers heavily dependent on the navigational devices. Car navigators might seem a luxury in other countries but in most Japanese cities they have become a necessity (Coleman, 1999) GPS Personal Mobile Information Devices Japanese consumer electronics manufacturers are always a major force in the consumer GPS market. They have made a mass market GPS system incorporating a navigation system and mobile system into one. The pocket size receiver is able to pinpoint the position or place of interest on a map and show it on a color display screen.
500,000 units were sold in 1994 in Japan alone, and doubled in 1995. Since GPS based cell phones have become so popular with people who work outside the office, many industry's observers expect this device might end up a lager market than car-navigation devices (Yoshida, 1995). For example, NTT-Me has begun the mobile GPS service which users at a PC can pinpoint the location of a GPS based cell phone. Salesmen on the road can be kept to track frequently, and respond customers' orders quickly because the GPS unit transmits the location data into voice data which is sent to a service center by the cell phone, and then relayed to the customer's PC (Mitsumori, 1999, and Wireless Watch, 2000). On the other hand, Seiko Epson Corp, began marketing a personal GPS based cell phone, the Locatio-COM, in June 1998. The "Locatio" uses the same technology as car navigation system, but has a higher accuracy rate because Seiko Epson built six base stations around the Japan to reduce errors (Mitsumori, 1999).
In addition to having GPS, a new vision "Locatio" is equipped with digital camera, and users are able to access Web sites and take pictures. The ability of access to Web sites also means that users can find out information about transportation, travel time, restaurants and hotels. The Locatio, for less than 900 dollars, is selling very well among the Japanese (Yomiuri, 1999). Vehicle Management Systems Recently, several leading companies have developed vehicle management system and physical distribution systems combined advanced technology, such as packet data communications and GPS technology.
For instance, in Mitsubishi' Corp, Mitsubishi Navi Net Communications Vehicle Location Management System, is now installed in each vehicle it has produced. The center office can check the job status of each vehicle, and control customers' information. In this case, user companies need a computer, vehicle location management software and a router at the head offices, and each vehicle has a car navigation system. Due to combined packet data communication technology, user companies can reduce the communications charges by one-tenth than using traditional data switch system. Moreover, the system can connect with the company's intranet (Mitsumori, 2000).
In another case, Oki Electric Industry Company has launched its location information service system combining GPS with computer telephony. The CTI server (Telecommunication network center) receives the users' location data through cellular networks, and searches for necessary data, such as the mapping information, and then sends the information back to the user. The system is use for distribution companies to manage vehicle allocations effectively and for taxi companies to do emergency communication (Mitsumori, 2000). In addition, the distribution industry has now introduced a new system using wireless and GPS technology. For example, Nippon Express Co, the largest distribution company in Japan, has carried out a delivery truck allocation system that is designed for truck delivery for imports and exports. Because each vehicle is equipped with a GPS sensor and a cell phone, a driver inputs the container number, the destination and the status of the job, and then the information is delivered to each Nippon Express's office through satellite.
Employees at central offices can check the information on a PC screen and send tasks to each driver's cell phone. Saga wa Kyu bin, the second largest distribution company in Japan started to practice the similar system too (Mitsumori, 2000). From all the above changes brought by the applications of GPS, Japan's transportation and communication systems have greatly been improved in terms of efficiency, particularly over the past ten years. CONCLUSION Future applications of civil GPS to enhance the existing system are well underway in Japan. Supported financially by the Japanese government, Japanese industries are moving toward to develop mobile communications and enhance the GPS navigation services across all industries. To facilitate this, a promotion council, a group of 72 companies, has established New Satellite Business Corp. on Oct. 29, 2002.
The new company is responsible for responding to a Space Activities Commission recommendation to develop so-called quasi-zenith satellite system. Like GEO satellites, quasi-zenith satellites can operate at altitudes of about 36,000 kilometers. But while geostationary satellites are placed in fixed positions above the equator, quasi-zenith satellites are located in "inclined orbits and drift back and forth between latitudes north and south of the equator". ( web Kallender, 2002). Figures, Making a quasi-zenith satellite and Quasi-zenith satellite orbits. (web) The promotion council hopes to develop the new system that will enhance signals from the U.S. GPS system, and provide high data transition speed mobile communications services.
Thus, the council brings Japanese major space, electronics, broadcasting, automobile, and communications companies together with utilities including Sony, NTT, state broadcaster NHK, Toyota and else. The Japanese Business Federation estimates that the new system market will reach 1.7 trillion yen in the next five years, and 6.1 trillion yen in 12 years (Kallender, 2002). In addition to developing quasi-zenith satellite system, it appears that the Internet service industries have expedited the above process to equip Japan with the enhanced system. The Internet, with its worldwide web of networked computers, has opened doors to many new applications. Now Japan is on the stage of developing Internet CAR combined with the Internet and GPS, two of the fastest growing technology.
The new system will have many benefits for providing users an inexpensive, global, and exact navigation solution. Internet Car will connect all automobiles in Japan to the Internet, regardless of the mobility and connectivity, to achieve a new information structure with the sensor information of the vehicles (Hada et al., 2000). With this, Japan would surely move into "a widely Integrated Distributed Environment".
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