We have with 489 questions.

Excerpt: "GPS is a space-based satellite navigation system that provides location and time information."

Wiki: "The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a space-based satellite navigation system that provides location and time information in all weather conditions, anywhere on or near the Earth where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites. The system provides critical capabilities to military, civil and commercial users around the world. It is maintained by the United States government and is freely accessible to anyone with a GPS receiver.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gps"

We also have with 14 questions.

Excerpt: "GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) is a satellite system that is used to pinpoint the geographic location of a user's receiver anywhere in the world."

Wiki: (None)

1 Answer 1


Technically they are distinct. GNSS could refer to any system of which there are currently three operational and two under development. GPS is the specific system run by the United States, while GLONASS is a different GNSS run by Russia.

However, in practical use on this site, and the 14 GNSS questions in particular, GPS is used generically (kind of like Kleenex for tissue). There are even some questions with only the GPS tag that discuss only GLONASS.

I propose that be made synonym to master , and that the latter's Wiki be revised to indicate general applicability to any GNSS, perhaps listing the options, and that the tag does not apply solely to the US run system.

Otherwise a lot of GPS tagged questions need some disambiguation to their specific system or changed to the more general GNSS (which almost nobody uses). I also note that only two of the questions tagged GNSS don't already have the GPS tag as well.

  • 1
    +1 This seems like a highly practical solution. Is there perhaps a link you can include to support GLONASS and GPS as being variants of GNSS?
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 22:43
  • @PolyGeo if Wikipedia is sufficient to cite as a source, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite_navigation Otherwise I'd have to dig into one of my textbooks around here. I actually thought the US system had a different 'official' name like navstar or something, but I guess it is referred to as "The Global Positioning System" (rather than just "a").
    – Chris W
    Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 22:49
  • I'm almost invariably happy with Wikipedia definitions.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 22:52
  • I've done the moderator end of this which is to make gps the master of gnss and will leave you to tidy up its wiki.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 23:44
  • @PolyGeo Done. I was actually about to comment to you that I'd take care of the Wiki if you made the synonym about the same time but got called away. :)
    – Chris W
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 0:59

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