Interesting Facts About The Global Positioning System (GPS)

VA – April 12, 2016 – There is no doubt that maps are one of the oldest items that people have invented. In fact, the oldest known map predates 600 years before Jesus was born. However, during the ancient times, the only way for explorer to make maps is through exploring and trust that they would be able to properly illustrate a particular area in a map. But as the world progressed, so did the art of map making.

Cartography and map illustration had begun to significantly improve with the continuous developments and advancements in technology but it was in the late 1900s that cartography and map illustration would slow down a bit in favor for a more digitalized and modern way of making maps.

Now through the advancements in GIS (geographic information system) and GPS (global positioning system), people are able to see various places and locations in a more digital way. GPS, in particular is practically everywhere from cars, boats, airplanes and even in cell phones. In fact, GPS is even used in map illustration so that illustrators would know where they are. But here are some interesting facts about the GPS that you probably don’t know about.

  1. The GPS consists of about 31 satellites 20,000 km above the earth. These satellites would broadcast position and time data to many users around the world non-stop every day.
  2. When you use a handheld GPS receiver unit, this unit would triangulate the data in order to determine its exact location as well as the elevation, speed and time. Regardless of the weather or climate, this information would readily be available.
  3. Selective Availability had made the GPS less accurate than the GPS used in the military. Luckily, this was turned off back in 2000 which now makes the units that you purchase as accurate as those used by the military.
  4. The GPS was first developed in the 70s for military use. This enabled the military to know their location of other units. In fact, the GPS had helped win the war back in 1991 in the Persian Gulf.
  5. GPS is free to the world as it is being paid for by the US taxpayers but the military is also able to prevent their enemies from using GPS.
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