Are there any regional differences between GPS modules? Let's say I wanted to buy Canon GP-ES 2, but it is not available in the Czech Republic. So I wonder if I buy it elsewhere if it works the same - I guess i.e. the same amount of satellites will be purchased by Canon. Or will work at all, because Canon had a shorter license for satellite services?

  • \$\begingroup\$ No individual company owns the GPS network. Licenses do not apply at consumer level. See gis.stackexchange.com/questions/17535/why-is-gps-a-free-service \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 15:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, I read somewhere that the quality of finding a position on the map in cell phones depends on how many satellites the company has purchased. If GPS is free, this information must be incorrect and problems with identifying a good location for some cell phones will be than in hardware for example. Then also my question would be ready to close. But If I ask about a number of satellites for a product in Google I can still get some pages so it doesn't look to be incorrect. \$\endgroup\$
    – Juandev
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 15:57
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The satellites are up there for everyone to see & use. The limitation is purely one of line of sight. Open countryside, you can see 10 satellites, built up areas, one or two… & geo-positioning is likely to fail. GPS is not very robust in inner cities, because the view of the sky is limited. By the same token, it doesn't work indoors & not so well in vehicles. The satellites are constantly on the move, relative to the ground, so accurate date/time-keeping is vital, so it knows which is which & where it should be. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 16:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ BTW, phones only use GPS if they can't find anything better. They will choose WiFi & phone masts above GPS. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 16:02
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Think what would happen to a legitimate American user of this device when he travelled to Czech Republic. Oops, we didn't purchase satellites for this area, no service for you? Even if this were true, you would not be worse off buying a GPS device abroad. Unlike some other market-local devices, this is a device designed to travel; reducing its capabilities locally would reduce its usefulness for everyone. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zeus
    Commented Apr 13, 2023 at 2:21

1 Answer 1


GPS is a public and free service. So Canon do not own satellites nor need license to use them.

Same is true (AFAIK) about Galileo, GLONASS, BeiDou and local as QZSS, IRNSS.

Check here for more reference about civil signals/users.

And quoting this:

The statute directs the Secretary of Defense to provide civil GPS service on a continuous, worldwide basis, free of direct user fees.

  • \$\begingroup\$ No "direct user fee" but the "fee" is paid by the GPS chip manufacturer, so it is paid by the camera manufacturer and eventually by the end-user. \$\endgroup\$
    – xenoid
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 16:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @xenoid, I am not sure because all the documentation is available for free. Yes, manufacturer pay for the chip and antenna. But this is not a limitation in sense of preciseness and satellites reachability. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 16:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, the DoD can decrease the accuracy of civil GPS over designated areas (which is why there are Galileo/Glonass). \$\endgroup\$
    – xenoid
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 16:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @xenoid. "In May 2000, at the direction of President Bill Clinton, the U.S. government ended its use of Selective Availability in order to make GPS more responsive to civil and commercial users worldwide. " Bottom right of this page: gps.gov/systems/gps/performance/accuracy \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 16:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RomeoNinov Yet I have seen areas in Europe, which are marked by signs to lack GPS and I don't think these were installed prior to 2000. \$\endgroup\$
    – Juandev
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 19:19

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