You and the Global Positioning System (GPS)

With the rise of satellites, nothing stops science from making things feasible. For sure you know what GPS is and you probably are using it every day. Have you ever imagined how technology puts you and the global positioning system in sync?

White Outer Space SatelliteGPS and How It Works

The GPS, or Global Positioning System, is a radio-navigation tool that works out exactly to locate where something is. It is part of the Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) or a group of satellites responsible for transmitting signals from space to GNSS receivers.

The coded information transmitted from the satellites is interpreted by receivers and correctly identifies locations on earth by measuring their distance from the satellites. GPS is the only system today that can deliver detailed positioning, direction-finding, and time synchronization around the world.


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Envision how GPS can show your exact position anytime regardless of the weather, distance, and no matter where in the world are you. This system is the solution to questions like:

“Where am I right now?

“What is my location?”

“Where am I going?”

“How can I get there?”

“When will I get there?

“Where are you?”

“How far are you from me?”

“How long will I get to you?”

Drive, Directions, Gps, Guide, Dash

The GPS system in space is comprised of 28 to 32 satellites that are positioned in their own paths about 11,000 or more nautical miles above the Earth. Sitting above the equator, each of these satellites orbits around the world twice a day and moves at a speed similar to the earth’s rotation. In this manner, they appear to be stationary when being observed from earth.

They send signals to a receiver (your GPS) by calculating your precise position on the planet including the exact time the signals are sent.

Generally, there are four to six satellites in view from most places of the earth. Their role is to compute intersections until they narrow results to a single point, which is your exact location. On your part as the user, a GPS receiver can be a device you hold in your hand or mounted in your car.

You and the Global Positioning System Around

The Global Positioning System has been working in making life easier and as a lifesaver itself:

1) Locating People and Pets

Ball, People, Old, Elderly, Man, Sitting, Woman

It is past midnight and you are wondering where your teenagers are. Having a GPS receiver installed in the car helps you track their location. Suppose you are biking uphill and you get separated from the group, GPS can help you find one another and how far you are from each other.

When you want to let family members know where you are, or you needed to keep an eye on your children, an elderly, or someone with a disability; wearable tracking, or your phone’s built-in GPS device lets you do this. Even pets can be found. This is the main application of GPS—tracking locations.

2) Navigating Time and Travel

Sahara, Desert, 4X4, Dunes, Sand, Rally Off-RoadGPS satellites give the most accurate time. It can give you the total travel time, average speed, including how many times the bus stops. GPS can show you the right route and lets you know what time you can possibly arrive at your destination.

This allows you to determine the course or route and helps you get from one location to another. Navigating time is very helpful when you’re driving to places you have never been before like off-road areas and estuarine locations where topographic features set you away from a community or town.

When planning trips, a GPS device can also help you find camping sites, rest points, and other significant locations. A tracker is very helpful in the event that you needed to travel solo.

3) Tracking and Emergency Access

Get Me Out, Escape, Danger, SecurityPre-programming important and emergency numbers on your smartphone will save you in situations where you are in a remote area and needed immediate assistance. What’s best in a GPS is the system’s capacity to provide location details that allow emergency groups to trace your specific location.

Businesses use GPS to monitor people, workers and to obtain useful real-time data for certain activities. This makes entities monitor an ambulance or a fire truck and call the attention of drivers when they are overspeeding. A moving receiver continuously collects data as it calculates the changing position.

4) Preventing Vehicle and Asset Theft

Travel, Van, South America, Gps, Map

Installing GPS as a tracking device on a car is an excellent anti-theft strategy that serves as a backup in tracing a vehicle’s location or protects it from unauthorized use.

Just like how you would label or engrave names on your equipment so it helps you recognize or recover them in case they’re stolen, you can use a low-power GPS tracking chip onto your stuff.

This includes expensive artworks and jewelry. Some of these investments are worth millions that deserve to be heavily guarded.  While most of these items are protected by insurance, GPS offers an additional layer of security so they are quick to locate.

5) Mapping the World

Map, Land, Egypt, Geography, Satellite Image

Modeling the physical world has been easier with the global positioning system. It supports accurate mapping from the smallest hill to the tallest mountains to rivers, brooks, and bridges.

The method of surveying coasts and waterways typically requires extra effort due to the fewer land reference points. But as satellites orbit on the surface of the earth, they transmit signals that calculate and determine latitudes and longitudes. No matter the time or environmental conditions, GPS can triangulate the signal that lends out an accurate survey.

6) Helps Enforce the Law

Discovery, Offender, Crime, Did, Police

Since using GPS is effective in ground-based units, it works in different jurisdictions. Law enforcers can equip their vehicles with GPS locators for establishing movements of each unit.  When authorities attach a tiny GPS tracking device to a suspect’s vehicle, they can track the crime location, trace, and corner criminals, and collect useful evidence.

A GPS device is also portable and handy it assists law enforcers in pinpointing exact locations throughout their operations. The tracker provides directions to where they should be heading or lead them in finding their way back with less or no hassle at all.

7) Mining and Finding Treasure

Open Pit Mining, Sand, Raw Materials

The adoption of GPS has improved safety and productivity in treasure hunting. Mining involves heavy equipment like trucks, drillers, and cranes, which can be managed using GPS technology. Global positioning provides information about direction, velocity, and load size.

Treasure hunters have utilized GPS for clues of hidden riches in different sites as programmed on treasure maps. GPS tracking system helps track the minerals located in the different layers of the surface of the earth.

8) Flying Planes and Helicopters

Plane, Wing, Flight, Sky, Clouds

When an aircraft is in the air, it is equipped with a GPS transponder for the commanding station to keep track of its movement and route. The plane also uses the tracking device in finding its route in space. Installing a tracker is also ideal so that the flight recorder can be traced and found when missing.

A satellite-based aircraft tracking will revolutionize flying being the newly operational space-based technology that transports the transmission of data from flight identification, position, altitude, vertical rate of climb or descent, track, and speed.

9) Hunting and Fishing

Fishing Boat, Fisherman, Sea, Fishing, Ocean, Scenery

You can’t believe how a tracking device can assist you in finding the most direct routes and spots for hunting and fishing. The next big thing is you can record various locations making it easy to mark new signs and exact spots on the map. That allows you to return to the same exact place anytime all throughout your hunting days.

A handheld GPS for fishing is a lot convenient to use. You can load the maps to find fishing sites, check your signal, and mark your launch site.

10) Wearable Technology

Legs, People, Shoes, Water, Sports

Wearable technology is an electronic device that you can wear to avail of practical life solutions. These instruments are designed for hands-free use. GPS shoes, for example, work by assisting you on which side to go – should you turn right or left way?

Perhaps you’re already using eyeglasses that let you access your mobile internet browser with a simple tap. Wow! Health-monitoring devices, voice-controlled watches, selfie-photo jewelry, and pendants that track pregnancy; all these are examples of wearable technology.

Let’s Simplify GPS and How it affects you

GPS is a three-way system composed of satellites, ground stations, and receivers. While satellites look like the stars you love in a cool night sky, the ground stations are radars that monitor the satellites’ operational health and exact position in space. A receiver is your phone or any tracking device that constantly listens for a signal from these satellites.

The changes in the way you connect with those around you, the accessibility that GPS has delivered your family, and the feeling of security that all these advances are giving you – are the effects of the Global Positioning System (GPS) to you.

There are surely other uses of GPS more than just these ones I’ve listed above —but nothing is more important than being close to the people you care about, the things you needed every day, and of course, your favorite pasta delivered right at your doorstep.

Do you have interesting thoughts about GPS and how they help make your life easier?  Share them with us in the comments.