Global Positioning System (GPS) is a network of satellites that continuously transmit coded information, which makes it possible to precisely identify locations on earth by measuring distance from the satellites.
GPS stands for Global Positioning System, and refers to a group of U.S.Department of Defense satellites constantly circling the earth. The satellites transmit very low power radio signals allowing anyone with a GPS receiver to determine their location on Earth. This remarkable system was not cheap to build, costing the U.S. billions of dollars. Ongoing maintenance, including the launch of replacement satellites, adds to the cost of the system.
It would not only tell us where we are in position coordinates (latitude/longitude), but would even display our location on an electronic map along with cities, streets and more. These designers originally had a military application in mind. GPS receivers would aid navigation, troop deployment and artillery fire (among other applications). Fortunately, an executive decree in the 1980s made GPS available for civilian use also. Now everyone gets to enjoy the benefits of GPS! The capability is almost unlimited.
APPLICATIONS OF GPS
GPS has a variety of applications on land, at sea and in the air. Basically, GPS allows you to record or create locations from places on the earth and help you navigate to and from those spots. GPS can be used everywhere except where it's impossible to receive the signal such as inside buildings; in caves, parking garages, and other subterranean locations; and underwater. The most common airborne applications include navigation by general aviation and commercial aircraft. At sea, GPS is typically used for navigation by recreational boaters and fishing enthusiasts. Land-based applications are more diverse. The scientific community uses GPS for its precision timing capability and a myriad of other applications. Surveyors use GPS for an increasing portion of their work. GPS offers an incredible cost savings by drastically reducing setup time at the survey site. It also provides amazing accuracy. Basic survey units can offer accuracies down to one meter. More expensive systems can provide accuracies
Recreational uses of GPS are almost as varied as the number of recreational sports available. GPS is becoming increasingly popular among hikers, hunters, snowmobilers, mountain bikers, and cross- country skiers, just to name a few. If you are involved in an activity or sport where you need to keep track of where you are, find your way to a specified location, or know what direction and how fast you're going, you can benefit from the Global Positioning System.
GPS is rapidly becoming commonplace in automobiles as well. Some basic systems are already in place, providing emergency roadside assistance at the push of a button (by transmitting your current position to a dispatch center). More sophisticated systems can show the vehicle's position on an electronic map display, allowing drivers to keep track of where they are and look up street addresses, restaurants, hotels and other destinations. Some systems can even automatically create a route and give turn-by-turn directions to a designated location.
You don't have to be a rocket scientist to learn how GPS works. All you need is a little background knowledge plus the desire to explore and understand the world of GPS. Don't let terms like "pseudo-random", "anti-spoofing" and "P Code" frighten you. Let's dig right in and start to become familiar with the best navigation tool to come along since the invention of the compass.