The GPS on your phone is about to get a bit more accurate. What you may not realize is that GPS is actually an American technology owned and operated by the U.S. Air Force. The FCC just decided to open up satellite navigation beyond America’s borders and allow phones to use the European Union’s version of GPS, Galileo, as well.
That means if your phone can support both, then you’ll likely start to see improved location reliability as well as improvements to your estimated time of arrival when you’re using maps.
“With today’s action, consumers and industry in the United States will now be permitted to access certain satellite signals from the Galileo system to augment the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS), and thus benefit from improved availability, reliability, and resiliency of these position, navigation, and timing services in the United States,” reads a release from the FCC announcing the change. “Since the debut of the first consumer handheld GPS device in 1989, consumers and industry in the United States have relied on the U.S. GPS to support satellite-based positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) services that are integral to everyday applications ranging from driving directions to precision farming.”
The iPhone 8 and Apple handsets released after it support Galileo as do a number of phones from Huawei and Samsung, The Verge notes.