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This research brief describes work documented in The Global Positioning System: Assessing National Policies (MR-614-OSTP).

Excerpt: The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a constellation of satellites originally deployed to aid U.S. armed forces in navigation and position location. However, over the past 10 years, GPS has evolved far beyond its military origins. It is now an information resource supporting a wide range of civil, scientific, and commercial functions — from air traffic control to the Internet — with precision location and timing information. The market for civilian applications now exceeds its military counterpart by roughly 3 to 1, a ratio expected to grow to 8 to 1 by the end of the 1990s. The growth in civilian applications has spawned a booming market for GPS products and services. According to the GPS Industry Council, projected sales of commercial GPS equipment in the year 2000 are expected to total about $8.5 billion (see Figure 1).

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