We just got a question that seems to be about satellite navigation but not about GPS. At least the tag wasn't used on it until I added it after checking that we have no or similar.

Since I'm still pretty fuzzy on what is and is not a GPS and/or satnav I'm not really sure where they overlap etc. Google Maps seems to do this job for me but I have no GPS and there's not usually a satellite involved. On the other hand I'm sure there are older devices with GPS and no mapping, or at least which can't tell you routes even if they have maps.

So what single tag or minimal set of tags would be the clearest to cover the concepts ranging between global positioning system, satellite navigation, and mapping+routing things like Google Maps?

2 Answers 2


GPS is traditionally hand-held while sat-nav is the voice + maps in the car. These days they're becoming more and more interchangeable - I can put my phone in the car and make it talk and direct me. It's a tricky one. I'd almost consider synonymising to future protect the site, given they will merge really over the next few years...

  • If synonyms (which seems fair enough to me), which term should be the main one that all others redirect to? "gps"? Or some phrase like "gps-and-navigation"? Aug 31, 2011 at 20:53
  • 1
    Possibly even "gps-nagiation"?
    – Mark Mayo
    Aug 31, 2011 at 22:08
  • If no better suggestions come up in the next day or say I say please go for it and do the synonymizing (-: Aug 31, 2011 at 22:51
  • 2
    I went ahead and made the synonym, gps-navigation is main tag now. Sep 1, 2011 at 8:42
  • Excellent, well that was easy :D
    – Mark Mayo
    Sep 1, 2011 at 12:11
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    Technically, GPS is Satellite Navigation, But Satelite Navigation is not by definition equal to GPS; Satellite Navigation also includes GLONASS and 'local' sytems such as Galileo and Beidou.
    – Jacco
    Jul 13, 2012 at 15:55
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    Technically, yes. In lay-man or common travel speak, they're synonymous - people often talk about using their "GPS" or "Satnav" to get places.
    – Mark Mayo
    Jul 13, 2012 at 15:57

The Usage guide for is currently:

Global Positioning System and Satellite navigation devices of all kinds.

It has one synonym "gps", so the merge has effectively happened.

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