What is PNT?

What is Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT)?

GNSS 
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Editorial Team - everything RF

Jul 27, 2020

PNT stands for Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT). PNT services are provided by the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). 

The three elements of PNT are as follows:

  • Positioning, the ability to accurately and precisely determine one's location and orientation two-dimensionally (or three-dimensionally when required) referenced to a standard geodetic system (such as World Geodetic System 1984, or WGS84);
  • Navigation, the ability to determine the current and desired position (relative or absolute) and apply corrections to course, orientation, and speed to attain the desired position anywhere around the world, from sub-surface to surface and from the surface to space; and
  • Timing, the ability to acquire and maintain accurate and precise time from a standard (Coordinated Universal Time, or UTC), anywhere in the world and within user-defined timeliness parameters. Timing also includes time transfer.

GNSS systems consist of a constellation of satellites that beam down positioning, navigation and timing information to GNSS receivers which analyze this data to establish location. The information collected by GNSS is relied on by military, governmental, commercial, and other entities, including private citizens, for countless applications. GNSS provides global coverage of services.

While GPS (developed by the United States) is the most prevalent GNSS technology that provides PNT services, other nations are developing, or have developed, their systems to provide complementary, independent PNT capability. These include BeiDou (China), Galileo (Europe), GLONASS (Russia), QZSS (Japan) and IRNSS (India).