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Difference Between GPS and GPRS

garmin_gpsGPS vs. GPRS

Although there is only one letter separating GPS and GPRS, they are worlds apart when you examine their technology and functions. GPS is a positioning service that can determine any location on earth, through a process called trilateration, hence the name Global Positioning System. On the other hand, GPRS is a data service technology that enables 2G telecommunication networks to provide services other than voice calls. These services include access to email, multimedia messaging, and a somewhat limited access to the internet.

As stated above, GPS and GPRS play specific roles, and are not compete technologies. GPS is an old military technology that is now beginning to mature in the market, since it was not that long ago when full civilian access was given by the US government. Full access allowed receivers to pinpoint their location within 10 feet, making it a viable tracking tool for location and navigation devices used in planes, boats, and its most popular use nowadays, cars. The accuracy allows the navigation devices to give you real time directions. GPRS is a part of the 2G technologies, and is rather old. In most parts of the developed world, GPRS has been replaced by superior 3G technology. It can be thought of as the dial-up equivalent for mobile phones.

The workings of both also differ significantly, as GPS receives information from satellites on low earth orbit, while GPRS communicates with terrestrial cellular towers. GPRS needs just one cell tower with adequate signal in order to work properly. GPS, on the other hand, needs three or more satellites due to basic principles of trilateration. Due to the extreme height of the orbiting satellites, you can use your GPS device just about anywhere in the world, even in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. GPRS is limited to cellular towers located on land.


1. GPS is a positioning service, while GPRS is a data service used in mobile phones.

2. GPS is used to identify your location on earth, while GPRS is used to access emails, and to browse the internet.

3. GPS communicates with a collection of satellites that orbit the earth, while GPRS communicates with a terrestrial tower.

4. GPS requires three or more stations to work, while GPRS requires just one.

5. GPS can be used anywhere that you can see the sky, while GPRS is more limited in range.

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  1. Excellent breakdown…Thankyou 😉

  2. Extremely useful explanation. Thank you.

  3. Very helpful. Nice work. Please keep it up

  4. really usefu info, thanks…

  5. thanx, waseva apa…

  6. Really, Your explanation is very excellent,Defenitions and examples also.It is very usefull to me.Thankyou!

  7. GOOD–no nonsense

  8. short, quick and concise explanantion, packed with facts.

  9. good explanation^_^

  10. good……………

  11. That helped a lot..thanks

  12. consise precise and to the point good work keep it up …. thanks

  13. Good, nice and clear explanation without any rubbish. Thanx for the details. It helped me a lot.

  14. Info is really good but if you are putting Audi Ad panel in between information you provide then how to read?

  15. it is us full and Very Good….

  16. Nicely detailed and sumarized.

    I guess, the missing part is what the abbreviation GPRS, stands for – I think its Global Position Remote Sensing – not sure.

    Otherwise, its a very well drafted info. Thank you.

  17. GPRS=General Packet Radio Services

  18. I had conflict for loooong time and now is sooo clear.
    Very detailed information, really thanks for sharing.

  19. Thank you for your kindly reply.
    It is very useful to me and people .

  20. Really great article.
    But I have a question, as you told that anyone can use GPS from anywhere but GPRS is limited. Now my question is CAN WE ACCESS THE GPS WITHOUT GPRS CONNECTION ????

    • GPRS is a protocol strictly related to mobile telephony but you can access the GPS frequency (1.6 GHz) using a phone if it has a dedicated GPS sensor. To me, the main difference between them would be if you are in the middle of the Amazon without a GPS device in the pocket simply you will risk to die… GPRS is mainly for roads and regions with at least GSM coverage but however it is faster then first (GPS satellites are placed into Earth orbit at minimum 19000Km altitude…)

  21. It is very useful

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