What is GPS?
The acronym GPS stands for the Global Positioning System (GPS), which is a navigation system that is based on satellites and consists of about 24 satellites that can identify and locate the precise position of any person or object on earth. GPS is also known as “global positioning.”
The GPS-enabled satellites can function in any environment and at any time of day or night, anywhere in the world, without incurring any additional costs for a subscription or for setting them up. The United States Department of Defense (USDOD) had initially put a few satellites into earth orbit, the primary purpose of which was for military use; in the late 1980s, these satellites were made available for use by the general public.
At this time, there are 31 GPS satellites in orbit around the earth, and an additional 3 satellites are ready to be launched whenever the need arises.
The history of how GPS was developed
The United States Department of Defense came up with the concept of a Global Positioning System (GPS), which they at first called NAVSTAR. This development took place in 1973. (USDOD). As was mentioned earlier, this technology was initially developed for use by the military, but in the late 1980s it was made available for use by the general public as well.
The scientific community acknowledges three individuals as having been clearly associated with the invention of the revolutionary technology known as GPS. These individuals are responsible for the progress and advancements that have been made in GPS technology.
Roger L. Easton, a former head of the Space Application Branch at the Naval Research Laboratory, was the mastermind behind a variety of engineering applications and technologies that led to the creation of the global positioning system (GPS).
Ivan Getting, who was the founding president of the Aerospace Corporation in the United States, was yet another brilliant mind behind the development of the Global Positioning System (GPS). Getting is credited with improving the satellite system so that precise data can be collected for the tracking and monitoring of moving objects on Earth. These objects can range from vehicles to missiles in their range of motion.
Bradford Parkinson, also known as “The Father of GPS,” is another prominent figure in the GPS industry. Bradford was the principal architect and implementer of the GPS system in terms of its technological evolution and development. He is commonly referred to as “The Father of GPS.”
The Constituent Parts of a GPS System
The three components that make up the Global Positioning System (GPS) are as follows: first, there are the satellites that orbit the earth; second, there are the command, control, and monitoring centers that are in charge of the technological management of the GPS technology and the orbiting paths of the GPS satellites; and third, there are the GPS receivers that are used by individuals and businesses.
The Workings of GPS
There are a total of 31 satellites that are orbiting the globe at predetermined points in their paths around the planet. At any given moment in the world, there are a minimum of four GPS satellites that are focused on a certain geographic region on earth. This is the case regardless of where you are located. Every GPS-enabled satellite takes pictures and videos of anything in its field of view, whether it be a stationary or moving item, and then periodically sends out data on the objects’ current location, speed of movement, and the time the video was taken.
These GPS-enabled satellites send the data signals to the GPS receptors on a variety of handsets at the speed of light; the digitized data is detected by the GPS hand-set receiver and translated into visual images; the handset receptors calculate the orbiting satellite distance, which is premised on the time interval of the received digital data, which is the time between data transmission and data reception.
Once the handset receptors have acquired all of the information from the orbiting satellites that are focused on that particular geographical area, the GPS receiver will be able to pinpoint the exact location of the earth-based object or objects, which may be stationary or mobile, using a process called trilateration. When several satellites are focused on a certain region, it is possible to estimate positions, speeds, and angles with a higher degree of precision.
What exactly is being tracked through GPS?
Tracking and monitoring the position of one or more items, as well as their travel paths, is called GPS tracking. It is the remote surveillance and supervision of exact locations that is enabled via the use of GPS technology. This allows the monitoring to be done from a distant place. Tracking by GPS is a very helpful tool for law enforcement, fire departments, the military, and private companies that need to maintain continual watch over mobile subjects such as cars, missiles, and humans.
Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) systems are often used by GPS tracking systems. These systems use a network of cars, each of which is outfitted with a portable radio receiver, a GPS receiver, and a GPS antenna. In addition, GPS technology uses dynamic maps rather than static maps to identify the present conditions of roads and highways as opposed to using traditional mapping methods.
The live tracking and monitoring of specific targets is frequently carried out with the assistance of GPS-enabled smart phones and other portable devices.
The beginning of GPS’s commercialization.
The first commercially available GPS trackers were released into the consumer market on May 25, 1989, under the brand name and model number Magellan GPS NAV 1000s. These trackers were the first of their kind. The handheld, water-resistant gadget had dimensions of 8.75 x 3.5 x 2.25 inches, weighed 680 grams, and resembled a giant calculator with a spinning antenna arm connected to it. It was also completely sealed against water.
The gadget had a multiline LCD display, but its operating duration was just a few hours, which was quite low in comparison to other similar products. In the same way that even very basic hand-held calculators came with a hefty price tag at the time of their introduction, the GPS handset had a suggested retail price of three thousand dollars in the United States (approximately Rs. 54,000 at the time).
Mazda, one of the most well-known vehicle manufacturers in the world, debuted the Eunos Cosmo model in 1990 with an integrated GPS navigation system. It was the first automobile to come with the capability of GPS tracking. Later in the year 1999, mobile phone company Benefon introduced the world’s first mobile phone with built-in GPS technology that was also commercially accessible.
In the same year, Casio introduced the first ever GPS wrist watch, dubbed the Casio GPS. Since then, global positioning system (GPS) technology has quickly become a household term, with GPS enabled technology being included in every smart phone and smart wristwatch.