What is GPS used for? The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a navigation system that operates between satellites and GPS receivers. A GPS receiver is a technical tool used for navigating and it communicates with a group of satellites in earth orbit that transmit direct signals that allow a GPS device to display and compute distance, speed, time and other similar information. In the beginning, GPS served as a technology developed by the United States Department of Defense and thus it was used solely by the military – for the positioning of troops and navigating different military vehicles.
It has more or less officially been used since the 80’s but commercial availability and broad usage of the application did not come to reality before the late 1990’s. The GPS industry has been growing rapidly ever since, making billions of dollars of profit.
How Does GPS Work?
The basic function of a GPS device is to receive transmissions from a number of available satellites and then use that information to calculate the exact location of the person that is using the application. When it comes to the GPS network, around 30 satellites are orbiting the Earth and most of them are used for receiving and decoding the signals sent from GPS devices across the globe, while several are used to store information and provide critical assistance, in case of a malfunction for example. Mostly installed in cars, nowadays an indispensable electronic tool can guide veteran and inexperienced drivers alike through any region that are unknown to them. The GPS device normally has a built-in computer voice that instructs the driver on time (e.g. whether to make a left or a right turn) and therefore minimizes the risk of an accident caused by the driver’s looking away from the road ahead.
It helps the driver avoid crowded traffic and find quicker ways to get to the desired destination. GPS can operate successfully by night, in windy conditions, whether it’s raining or snowing, in any part of the world. It may fail to function properly, however, inside a forest, thick walls, tunnels or canyons. GPS is also used to create detailed maps of regions, find lost people (if they have a device on them) or to track down a stolen car. It is used extensively in law enforcement while tracking movement of suspects and later presenting the material as a valid piece of evidence before a court of law.