The GPS technology has made our lives a little easier since it was made accessible to the public. Although we probably use the GPS technology so frequently that we take a few facts for granted about how the technology has become a part of our daily lives, and we can’t think of how life would be without it.
- The GPS technology is still owned by the military. The GPS technology was created in the early 1970s for military use. They built the system and launched the satellites into orbit. It wasn’t until the 1980s did the military allow civilians to use the GPS technology. The United States military operates and controls the GPS system so whenever they feel it would be a threat to national security they can pull the plug anytime so civilians won’t be able to use the technology. They can limit the use of the GPS technology for civilians or even selectively limit it to certain groups through encryption.
- A total of 24 satellites make up GPS. Over the years a total of 24 satellites have been launched into orbit to give GPS receivers accurate signals. It wasn’t until 1994 did the military have the complete number of satellites in orbit. The satellite can last for about ten years and is replaced with another one. They are powered by solar energy but are equipped with batteries which are only activated during a solar eclipse. If a satellite veers for its path or course, built in thrusters can position the satellite to the correct coordinates. The GPS device determines the user’s precise location by calculating the time a signal is sent from the satellite to the receiver, with a couple more signals from other satellites a user’s location can be determined and displayed on the GPS device. The process takes less than a second to accomplish.
- Many uses for the GPS system. There are dozens of uses for the GPS system and we can find them in most of our digital devices already. The GPS system is helping people who are visually impaired so they can move around on their own. It enables them to go to more places than before the technology was introduced. The GPS device is equipped with an electronic voice that can guide them to get from one point to another. The technology is even used in golf to measure distance on a golf course to help determine which type of club to use or help golfers find a lost golf ball.
The GPS technology is so much a part of our daily lives now and just knowing some facts can help appreciate the system more and maximize its use.