India will launch a satellite network, starting with the launch of one out of a series of seven satellites this year, to provide its own satellite based navigation services by 2014, according to a new report. Satellite

At present, the country relies on the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites deployed by the United States for navigation services. The GPS navigation system was developed in 1973 by the United States Department of Defense and is free for anyone with a GPS receiver to use.

The Indian Space Research Organisation is planning to create indigenous services to enhance navigation in the country, reports The Hindu.

A series of seven satellites, called Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) will be launched by the second half of the year and it might take until 2014 to go live with the service, the report cited S Ramakrishnan, Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC).

Update: One observer who tracks the space agency pointed out that there have been delays in the project. “The absence of GSLV, the heavier rocket to launch communication satellites has held up plans. Though, Isro has one planned this year but not sure when it will be fired up in the sky,” he said.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has been working on similar projects for a while now. It started making Bhuvan, a satellite based mapping tool like Google Earth back in 2008. It was launched in 2009 and was expected to give some competition to Google Earth.

While it was widely anticipated that Bhuvan will find some traction with common Internet users, it soon became a tool which was used more by government agencies like how the forest department in Karnataka is using Bhuvan.

The state government has integrated the data from forest department with the Indian Space Research Organization’s geoportal using which forests of Karnataka can be observed. Forest fires, assets, changes in forest cover etc can be viewed through the portal.

The space agency is also designing a Geo Imaging Satellite which will provide near real time pictures of large areas of the country every five minutes. Its also working on a Mars orbiter for October 2013.