Global Positioning Systems

1911 Words8 Pages
Global Positioning Systems The possibilities for the future afforded to the human race by the technology created today is endless. However, one technology has already and will continue to change the way people travel around the planet: Global Positioning Systems (GPS). For travelers throughout history, figuring out where they were and where they were going was one of the oldest problems. Even in recent years, navigation and positioning was crucial to many activities but extremely cumbersome. However, in its need for a precise form of global positioning, the Department of Defense (DoD) created the most useful navigation system in history. The creation and production of the GPS system by Rockwell Collins changed the way people travel today and will continue to change the way people travel in the future. Imagine driving to the grocery store while sitting in the back seat reading a book or landing a plane in zero visibility conditions and not worrying about where the runway is. The scenarios listed are possible due to the creation of the GPS system, which consists of a series of 24 satellites, numerous ground stations, individual receivers, and radio signals to locate the exact position of an object. The process by which all these components interact to provide location information is simple in theory but complex in reality. The basis of the GPS system in locating a receiver is a technique called triangulation. In triangulation, a receiver measures the distance from itself anywhere on earth to each of three satellites in the GPS system. In order to triangulate, it first measures the distance to the first satellite and recognizes that it must be located on the surface of a sphere. The sphere’s center must therefore be located a... ... middle of paper ... ...roaming receivers use the transmitted time differentials for the satellites they are measuring to perform the calculations and therefore have the ability to determine positions more accurately. As the accuracy of GPS systems continues to increase, the possible uses for GPS units will continue to increase. The possibilities for GPS uses are endless and GPS units in the future will aid in determining locations, help people navigate the seas and skies, help track people and vehicles, aid in mapping roads and seas, and provide atomic accuracy timing to the entire world. Once the accuracy of GPS systems reach to such small distances as centimeters, automatic construction equipment will build roads without needing time consuming manual measurements, cars will drive themselves to predetermined destinations, and planes will be able to land in zero visibility conditions.

More about Global Positioning Systems

Open Document