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.
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