That is what springs to my mind when I read about the European Union and Russia launching the first satellite for the European Galileo system.
The article mentions the EU dropping over $4.5billion into this project that reaches initial capability in 2010. They say Galileo is needed because the US GPS is military run and they [the evil American military] could cut it off without warning, stranding civilians.
Has anyone noticed any degradation in GPS service? Judging from how much GPS is being integrated into consumer products and even automobiles, this does not sound very persuasive as an argument. This sounds like a straw man argument.
In fact all the arguments trotted out in the article are flimsy. Why do trains need GPS? They run on tracks with relays and signals to mark their location. Guiding cars? The US GPS does that already or the people could go low-tech and buy a map. About the only one that makes sense is aircraft. Again the US GPS is already doing it and various aircraft already have it. Even if aircraft did not have GPS they are carrying transponders that are picked up by local and regional radar systems as the aircraft transit.
As for the one metre resolution? Do trains need it to find the station? Do people need it to find the Trevi Fountains? Do aircraft need it to find Schipol? No. In fact there are only two real reasons to have one metre resolution: Search&Rescue or delivering a bomb. If a person comes to harm like falling off a cliff and lives, and has a Galileo equipped phone then it becomes a life-saver. But just think of knowing the Galileo coordinates, if you are an eco-terrorist who hates rampant technology, of a certain CEO's office; you can now mail an explosive package that will only go off once it reaches pre-programmed coordinates within one metre, the poor man's cruise missile will have arrived via Bundespost.
Galileo is just the European Union re-inventing something the Americans have already deployed and made work. It is a $4.5billion boondoogle to help the EU with its inferiority complex while possibly harming people because of its precision.
Last minute thought 1550 Central. The ultimate irony of Galileo would be for Russia to use that one metre precision to drop a smart bomb on the German Bundestag right in the loo.