Xip Blog

What is GPS & Applications of Global Positioning System

GPS refers to Global Positioning System. In this article let us look at a short overview of GPS & also some of the applications enabled by GPS technology. You might be surprised at some of the applications!

What is GPS – Global Positioning System?

A GPS is a satellite enabled navigation system that is used to determine the location, elevation and speed of the object on which it is placed.

A GPS receiver on the earth uses the signals sent from multiple satellites to determine the above parameters. A network of satellites operated by some countries keep transmitting signals along with time-stamps.

GPS receivers on earth receive signals transmitted by multiple such satellites and calculate the time taken for each signal to reach it (Using the time-stamp difference). With this information, the GPS receiver can calculate the distances between the satellites and itself and then use mathematical formulas like Triangulation to determine its location on a map.

A minimum of 3/4 satellites need to be in the range of a GPS receiver to obtain the 2D/3D location information respectively. GPS requires Line of Sight between receivers/ antennas and Satellites to function.

A GPS receiver can be a stand alone unit or it can be integrated into certain things like cell phones, vehicle intelligence systems, etc.

Applications of GPS – Global Positioning System:

  • Determine the location of Vehicles (in a map) and aid in its navigation by suggesting shortest routes, directions, etc.
  • Locate a vehicle if it gets stolen.
  • Track and aid the navigation of fisherboats, vessels, ships.
  • Track millitary vehicles, unit movement, missile guidance and other such millitary applications.
  • Track people, kids and pets using GPS bands, etc.
  • Help bikers/ trekkers to track their location, speed, elevation and routes.
  • Surveying (Determining property boundaries, etc).
  • As a reliable Timer source (by synchronizing the atomic clocks of satellites with the receiver).
  • Submarine navigation/ tracking.
  • Tracking of wild animals.
  • Geographic information systems (eg. road/ rail construction and maintenance).
  • To determine the latency between two networks (connected by a WAN).
  • Marking and relocating a fishing spot/ trekking spot during subsequent visits.
  • Railway/ Air control systems.
  • Identify major landmarks like airports, gas stations, etc.


You could stay up to date on the various computer networking / enterprise IT technologies by subscribing to this blog with your email address in the sidebar box that says, ‘Get email updates when new articles are published’