The GPS-Global Position System

“Osm Cycle Map on my GPS” by gravitystorm is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

By: Evan Nanthavong, Reporter

The acronym GPS stands for Global Positioning System. The first-ever working GPS satellite was launched in 1973. These were originally called by the name of “Navstar”. During this stretch of time, the GPS was considered a work in progress. Overtime The GPS has evolved and changed and may be very different from 20 years ago. Devices like the GPS change drastically lot over time because of technological advances. People find different ways to do tasks that are even better and more efficient than before.

The way the GPS operates is actually really fascinating. Arguably, the most important part for a GPS to work is the satellites. The satellites sit in a specified position in space or above the earth’s atmosphere. The Satellite sends signals to the receiver in your phone or any sort of device that is supported. The satellite calculates the distance and position it is from the receiver it is currently connecting to. Once this data is collected the GPS can determine exactly where someone is. Radar devices are also used to determine the position of the satellite. This information is also used to determine a person’s location. However, the receiver has to connect to at least 4 satellites before an accurate location is detected. These are the events that occur when you try to find your location using a GPS.

“Satellite in Space” by the global panorama is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The GPS wasn’t always as readily available for everyone like it is now. For an extended duration of time, the GPS was only readily available to the military. The first GPS was installed into a car in 1995. These cars with a built-in GPS were also really expensive.  Not everyone could afford these cars. The first mobile phone with a GPS was built in 1999. At this time a majority of people didn’t even own mobile phones. As time went on technology advanced, and gradually the use of GPS increased.

Nowadays we use the GPS almost daily and it can become a very helpful tool when navigating. The GPS had to be revised many times to become what it is today. Today the GPS is integrated into many devices we use daily like our phones and cars. The way the GPS works is a very innovative idea. Overall the GPS is a very amazing device and we can all be glad it was invented.