What Is the Global Positioning System (GPS)?

In the sky there is a network of 24 satellites which orbit the earth. These were placed into orbit by the U.S. Department of defence for the use of military application. This network of satellites makes up the Global Positioning System. In the 1980 the GPS system was made available to everyone with no charges or subscription fee. This means that anyone can use it as long as you have the equipment. The Global Positioning System is a reliable system which works anywhere in the world.

The 24 GPS Satellites orbit the earth in very precise orbit; from this they signal their information to earth which includes their precise orbit information and the general system health of the satellite. From this using time, your GPS receiver will use the information from these points and triangulation to work out your location. After this your GPS receiver will work out the distance from a few more satellites to determine the exact location of the receiver, and then display it on your on its electronic map.

Important information about the satellites

• They transmit two low power radio signals.
• They are powered by solar energy, but have batteries onboard for solar eclipses.
• They have small rocket boasters which keep them in orbit.
• They last around 10years and they are constantly being built and lunched into earth.
• The 24 satellites orbit earth at around 12,000 miles above us.
• They travel at speeds of 7,000 miles an hour.
• They make two complete orbits of the earth each day.

What is the use of GPS?

Once the positioning has been worked out, the GPS receiver can work out other information such as speed, bearing, trip distance, track, distance to destination, and much more. From this there are many uses of GPS such as

Military- GPS plays a very important role in the military. They are used by the military themselves, and are attached to all military vehicles and are used in minesweeping, aircraft operations, manoeuvring in sandstorms etc.

Emergency services- GPS is used to save lives, finding the closes vehicle to an emergency and mapping disaster zones.

Construction- GPS is used to in mapping, construction, and surveying. It helps in manoeuvring underground and construction where visibility is poor and within the sea and underground.

Vehicle Tracking-vehicle tracking is the most popular use for people today. A GPS equipped car will always guide you the right way. GPS equipped fleet vehicles are popular now too so you can manage a fleet of vehicles, calculating delivery times, direction, and speed, making a business more efficient.

Mobile- GPS receivers are now fixed in most newly released mobile phones meaning that its can be used for directions and mapping where ever the person is.

Scientific Research- GPS is used widely with environmental scientific research. GPS equipped balloons are used to track holes in the Ozone. It is also used to locate migrating animal herds, and tracking endangered species.

GPS is unlimited and as technology evolves so does the use for GPS. I have heard that GPS has recently been used to track pets, wow imagine if you could map what adventures your cat gets up to during the day?

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