Who Uses GPS Technology?
From battlefield missiles to the latest self-driving cars, GPS technology has gone from military technology to an essential component of everyday life. GPS satellites orbit Earth and transmit signals to GPS receivers on the ground.
The satellites form the space segment, while the user equipment is found in watches and cellular phones. The control segment consists of Earth-based monitor and master control stations.
The military relies on GPS technology for several critical applications during wartime and peacetime. Accurate and timely information on where an enemy or own forces are located in unfamiliar territory is invaluable. This knowledge can mean the difference between success and failure on the battlefield.
The GPS is a constellation of 24 satellites that transmit one-way signals to receivers on Earth. The receivers, like those in smartphones or GPS devices, calculate their location by measuring their distance from multiple groups of satellites. The satellites in each constellation group move at a different speed than each other, which causes their radio signals to weaken and strengthen as they pass by receivers on Earth. The receivers then use the calculated differences in signal strength to determine their location.
GPS is used around the world as a free, worldwide navigation and positioning service. It is used on land, at sea, and in the air in airplanes, ships, cars, and even for outdoor recreational activities such as hiking or hunting. Check out more GPS products at RetailMeNot. The commercial and scientific worlds also depend on GPS for many other uses. For example, it is widely used in navigation by general aviation and commercial aircraft, mariners, professional fishermen, and recreational boaters. It is also a critical tool for the scientific community for its precision timing capabilities.
With the global population on the rise, agricultural productivity must increase to meet demand. GPS technology is a significant factor in making this possible.
Farmers use GPS to help with farm planning, field mapping, soil sampling, crop scouting, and yield mapping. They also use it to guide tractors and other agriculture machinery to minimize excess overlap or skipped areas, increasing efficiency and decreasing wasted chemical applications and fuel. GPS is even used for precision fertilizer and seed application and to control planting density to maximize crop production.
In addition, GPS allows for remote monitoring of equipment, which enables timely preventive maintenance. Additionally, equipment can be located in the field quickly if lost, saving time and money. Farmers can also track and record engine hours to demonstrate a high level of equipment care, maximizing its resale value.
Other workers who use GPS include surveyors, scientists, boat captains, pilots, and first responders. GPS works at all times and in all weather conditions, so it is essential for many types of work. This makes it an important part of the technology behind smartphones and other handheld devices. This can be a great point of discussion for students and helps to illustrate how GPS is helpful in almost any profession. Check out the movie, What Happens When Farming Goes High-Tech for a fun, educational way to see how GPS is used.
Despite its origins in the military, GPS technology has become an essential tool for many activities. The network of satellites and devices on the ground can precisely establish a person or object’s location on Earth. Typically, there are three separate sets of data that GPS trackers collect: positioning, navigation, and timing.
GPS has become commonplace for outdoor recreation as well. Hikers, mountain bikers, and recreational pilots rely on the tech to navigate trails or prevent them from getting lost. Golfers use GPS to measure the distance of each hole in a course, and even some kids are using mobile phone games that require the GPS to function.
While this technology has countless applications, it’s important to remember that the system relies on signals from 24 satellites and requires a line of sight to work correctly. As such, it is only sometimes available or accurate in certain conditions, mainly when used under tree cover or indoors.
Conservation organizations and land trusts use GPS to record the locations of natural or artificial features on their property, such as mature forests, invasive species, soil erosion, fire-disturbed areas, waterways, and riparian buffers. This data is imported into Geographical Information System software to create maps. It can also document the boundaries of different restrictions under a conservation easement.
Most people are familiar with GPS technology in their phones, tablets, and cars. They use it to map and navigate, keep track of the location of objects and measure time to within a billionth of a second. But did you know it’s also being used to track natural disasters and rescue emergency workers?
Firefighters in the United States can now respond to emergency calls using GPS to pinpoint the caller’s location. This allows them to cut response times by a significant amount, allowing them to respond to more emergencies in a shorter period. This is made possible through a service known as Differential GPS (D-GPS).
In addition, D-GPS helps firefighters find and access nearby water sources by determining the coordinates of individual fire hydrants. This is particularly useful in the case of a fire in a remote area where it may be challenging to access water tanks.
People with dementia with a medical alert device with GPS can be located quickly and efficiently. Even if they are confused or wander away from home. The GPS signal communicates their location to the monitoring center and 911, considerably cutting response time in a medical emergency.