Q&A: Global Positioning System Technology and Its Applications

GPSThe Global Positioning System/Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) is a technological marvel.

Many questions surround GNSS technology. We shall answer some of these questions so that you will have a better understanding of how it can help you in your work and daily life.

Where exactly is the system located?

The satellite-based navigation system known as GPS/GNSS is a network of 24 NAVSTAR satellites orbiting planet earth. The first one was launched in 1978, and replacements are launched periodically to ensure optimal functioning and updating of the system.

The satellites travel their predetermined orbits at 2.6 kilometers per second. Each one weights a ton and equipped with state-of-the-art solar panels.

Who are the users of GNSS technology?

By now, you are aware that the locator function of the myriad apps in your smartphone depends on GPS/GNSS. However, are you aware of the other applications of the technology and the communities of people depending on the satellites and the information they generate?

The mapping and surveying communities were the first to take advantage of the information transmitted by the satellites on three frequencies. The integration of GNSS technology into surveying and mapping reduced the need for labor and equipment, and produced information that is more accurate.

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Today, private and government organizations, and especially the scientific community are benefiting from this resource.

How is accuracy and reliability of data assured?

Organizations and industries involved with applications of the technology and the performance of specific devices utilize test procedures and GPS simulators. Testing is indicated for any device that receives and uses NAVSTAR signals.

Real world testing is not always doable, necessitating simulation, which affords developers a means of evaluating pertinent parameters.

Millions of people around the world utilize Global Positioning System signals for navigation and related functions. The individual and collective benefits of this technology have already benefitted humankind, but it is only the beginning of what is looking to be the most significant navigational development of the millennium.