GPS: Global Positioning System

Introduction

Phone with maps

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a worldwide radio-navigation system formed from 24 satellites orbiting in low earth orbit and ground stations. GPS uses these 24 satellites as reference points to calculate positions with the accuracy of a couple meters. GPS technology is advancing to the point that that accuracy could improve to just a few centimeters. These satellites orbit the Earth twice a day at about 7,000 miles per hour. Each one weighs almost 2,000 lbs. and is about 17 feet wide with its solar panels extended. These devices were originally used for the U.S. Navy for tracking their submarines but now is widely used around the world for many different uses.

satelitte in orbit

Since the technology has been made available for common people and since the technology has gotten small, GPS is right at our fingertips (literally). GPS can be found in your phone when you’re using Google Maps, Apple Maps or Waze and is usually standard in more new cars. As technology advances, it may be used for autonomy in the future. Only time will tell where it will take us, but the future looks bright for GPS.

Google Maps, Waze and Apple Maps