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What Is GPS?

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GPS means Global Positioning System. It is a satellite radio navigation system constructed by the United States Department of Defense. Research on the system began in the 60’s and the very first GPS satellite was launched in 1978. It took a while for the entire system to come online but lastly on April 27, 1995 it became fully operational. At first, the GPS network was only for military usage however in the 80’s the United States federal government licensed the public to make use of it too.

The GPS network is composed of:

Satellites
Earth Monitoring Stations
GPS receivers

What is a GPS Satellite?

A GPS system works by receiving several satellite signals and determining the receiver’s position based on triangulation of the different signals. Accuracy is increased with each additional satellite signal that is received so the orbits of the satellites are set so that at many points on the earth there are at least 4 signals that can be gotten. Of course, this is in theory only because the landscape around you can block some or all of the GPS signals.

Exactly what is a GPS Earth Monitoring Station?

There are four unmanned tracking stations in the United States and one manned master station which lies in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The four unmanned stations relay position data from the satellites to the master station. The master station utilizes the communicated information to fix the position of the sat tiles and sends the corrected info back to the satellites. This integrates the data that each satellite sends to your GPS receiver and guarantees that your receiver is constantly working with accurate details. (Site : WinW368)

What is a GPS Receiver?

GPS satellites send low power radio signals that can just be chosen up if your GPS system has a direct “line of sight” to the satellite. A GPS unit works by triangulating your place based on the position of at least 3 satellites in the GPS system.

If you are just able to get 3 satellite signals, your GPS unit can report your area in latitude and longitude. However, when the GPS unit picks up signals from a minimum of 4 satellites it also computes your altitude. Now it can report your journey distance, distance to a location, travel speed as well as your elevation if your GPS receiver features an altimeter.

How accurate a GPS system is depends on its ability to find and lock onto a satellite’s signal. If you’re utilizing your GPS system in flatter surface with a good open view of the sky a less costly system could carry out nearly as well as the top of the line receiver. If you plan to utilize your receiver in thick tree cover, while treking in ravines or narrow valleys, or among high buildings you’ll acquire much better accuracy with a more higher end GPS system.

Now you know the fundamentals about how GPS works and can respond to the concern “What is GPS?”.

A GPS system works by getting several satellite signals and computing the receiver’s position based on triangulation of the various signals. GPS satellites transmit low power radio signals that can only be chosen up if your GPS unit has a direct “line of sight” to the satellite. A GPS system works by triangulating your location based on the position of at least 3 satellites in the GPS system. If you are just able to pick up 3 satellite signals, your GPS unit can report your area in latitude and longitude. How accurate a GPS system is depends on its ability to find and lock onto a satellite’s signal.