China's Ministry of Science and Technology says a new and more highly accurate navigation system is in the works, with the aim of developing an urban positioning system that will eventually be launched across the country.
In a report by China Daily Wednesday, Cao Jianlin, vice-minister of science and technology, said the "Xihe" system is an attempt to apply science and technology funds to solve practical problems and catch up in terms of high tech.
Xihe, named after an ancient Chinese deity, has already been tested on fieldwork devices, the report said.
"When you're using a navigation system like GPS in your car, the pinpoint accuracy is about 10 meters, so you will sometimes find that your actual position differs from what is shown on the navigator," said a project leader at the National Remote Sensing Center (NRSC) who declined to be named.
According to the report, the NRSC claimed the Xihe system has been successfully tested to pinpoint positions within 0.1 meters in outdoor areas and 3 meters in indoor areas.
The center plans to develop an urban positioning system, first in large cities such as Shanghai, and then across the country by the end of the 12th Five Year Plan in 2015, it added.
The Xihe system is based on a technology called Cooperative Real-time Precise (CRP) positioning, which is designed to enhance the accuracy of navigation satellite systems.
China has its own navigation satellite system called Beidou, which has similar accuracy as the Global Positioning System (GPS) by the United States. The other two major satellite systems are Russia's Glonass and Galileo in the European Union.