What is GPS? How GPS Works
GPS is an electronic information system create by the US military and began to remain used by them in 1972. It was much more of a test base than a relief tool. Many adjustments were necessary before reaching the current version.
However, given its usefulness and versatility for the precise location of a geographical point, it left the barracks after a few years. It settled in the civil sphere, reaching today one of the essential tools, along with the cell phone. , with which humanity counts.
If you want to know everything that the GPS has to offer, do not hesitate to continue reading this entire post.
Table of Contents
What is GPS?
GPS (Global Positioning System) is the condensation for Global Positioning System. It is a satellite-based radio navigation system developed by the Department of Defense of the United States of America that allows any user to know their location, speed, and height, 24 hours a day, under any atmospheric condition and at any point on the globe.
The history of GPS commenced after the Second World War when the US Department of Defense struggled to find a solution to precise and absolute global positioning. Various projects and experiences passed over the next 25 years, including Loran, Transit, and others.
All these systems made it possible to determine the global position but were limited in precision or functionality. However, at the beginning of the 1970s, an idea was envisioned that would solve all the previous systems’ problems, thanks to a new project called GPS.
To understand how the global positioning system mechanisms, we first have to know that GPS remains three components: spatial, control, and user.
The space component comprises a constellation of satellites in Earth orbit at approximately 20,200 km, distributed in 6 orbital planes. These planes are divided by about 60 in length and have inclinations close to 55 about the Earth’s equatorial plane. It stood thought that there are at least four visible satellites directly above the horizon at any point on the surface and any height.
The control component remains five tracking stations distributed throughout the globe and the central control station (MCS-Master Control Station). This element tracks the satellites, updates their orbital positions, and calibrates and synchronizes their clocks. This information is sent to each satellite to be later transmitted by it, informing the local receiver where it is possible to find the satellite.
The user component includes all those who use a GPS receiver to receive and convert the GPS signal into position, Speed, and time. It also includes all the essential elements in this process, such as antennas and processing software.
How does GPS Work?
The fundamentals of GPS are creäte on determining the distance between a point: the receiver, to other reference points: the satellites. Knowing the reserve that separates us from 3 points, we can conclude our position relative to those same 3 points through the intersection of 3 circles whose radii are the distances measure between the receiver and the satellites. In reality, it takes at least four satellites to determine our position on the globe correctly, but let’s save that for later.
Each satellite communicates a signal that remain received by the receiver. It, in turn, measures the time it takes for the calls to reach it. Multiplying the time leisurely by the signal’s Speed (the Speed of light), we obtain the receiver-satellite distance (Distance = Speed x Time).
However, satellite positioning is not that simple. Obtaining an accurate distance measurement is not an easy task. The distance can remain determined through the modulated codes in the wave sent by satellite (C / A and P codes) or by analyzing the carrier wave.
These codes remain complicated. The receiver stood organized so that it only deciphers those codes and none else. Thus it is immune to interference create by natural or intentional sources. It is one of the reasons for the density of the regulations.
How do you use GPS?
GPS technology is already in many portable devices that we use in our daily lives. There are many representations of cell phones, watches, handheld computers, notebooks, and car trackers. The supreme widespread use is in vehicles, use as a map navigation system, ideal for orienting abstract drivers.
GPS is also extensively used in the civil and profitable aviation industry and is equally in demand in maritime navigation. Everyone benefits from this technology. It should be prominent that some countries, such as Syria, North Korea, and Egypt, prohibit GPS use.
The use of any GPS receiver model is relatively simple, although reading the manual. And some knowledge about geotargeting make a significant alteration. The uncertainty we want to “squeeze” a GPS of a confident model, we must enroll in a sequence, browse through the many forums that exist. Or find a friend who has a similar GPS model. And knows how to enter the fascinating world of satellite-assisted navigation.
The market has several industrialists of GPS receivers. All have low-cost models, which can be install on the vehicle’s windshield or even on the belt while traveling on the roads, also supplying the altitude Speed with meticulousness. Some models make it possible to transfer data to a computer or vice versa. It is possible to plot a route on the computer. And send the preset way to the GPS to guide us later.
When it remains programmed in advance, it will help you locate previously defined points. Or a route that you drew on our PC or that someone traveled once and downloaded from another GPS. In fieldwork, this stratagem can mark a house’s geolocation. The place of an accident, planting areas, or any needed geographic coordinate.
Like any other radio expedient, the GPS needs to see the sky to obtain the satellite network’s signals. On very cloudy days and with cheap GPS, it is likely that the GPS will not get enough movement. In these cases, it is better to wait a few minutes until the device manages to capture a signal.
If we are going to use the GPS for delicate operations, we must opt for a GPS that allows the placement of an external antenn. Which must remain installed in the vehicle’s highest part, such as the roof or trunk. In this way, the sky’s visualization is more precise than if the internal GPS antenna stood inside the vehicle. If your model does not have an option for an external antenna, you should fix it to the windshield. So that the antenna achieves the highest possible visibility of the sky.
GPS is an intelligent device that, based on signals emitted from a network of 24 satellites. Guarantees geographic location anywhere on the planet. Although the forerunner of this system was the US government.
The truth is that today, other GPS systems are operating in the world, such as Russia. The People’s Republic of China, and the European Union.
Until the year 2000, the United States Department of Defense placed many obstacles in the use of the transmission of these signals by civilians and third parties. GPS devices for civilian use could not operate with an accuracy of fewer than 90 meters. What stood done to help, done up confusing and deterring?