Understanding How GPS Technology Works and its Uses in Daily Life

a woman navigating through a GPS appIf you are driving in unfamiliar territory, you can use your phone to figure out exactly where you are and determine how to get to the destination safely and quickly. Modern smartphones are designed to act as GPS receivers and have intended software for that purpose. GPS keeps you and your vehicle from getting lost.

What do you know about the GPS feature on your smartphone and how it works?

GPS and GNSS

GPS is the short and familiar name for the United States NAVSTAR Global Positioning System. Two other systems are providing global geospatial positioning, namely the Galileo (European Union), and GLONASS (Russia). The BeiDou-2 (China) is an upcoming expansion of a regional system already in operation.

Aside from mapping and tracking, GNSS/GPS applications encompass various industries as well as air, land and sea navigation. The need for an effective CAST Navigation jamming simulator instrument testing is now imminent, given the diversity of applications and rising performance requirements.

GPS in daily life

Global positioning system (GPS) technology is now being used in various applications including rugby. You had better believe that this technology is helping coaches and trainers in tracking the health and well-being of their players. State-of-the-art trackers transmit physiological data, which hopefully improve game performance and reduce injuries. Evidently, GPS applications have jumped off ships and aircraft to our very homes.

How it works

Radio waves broadcast by GPS satellite provide data on position and time. Receivers decode the data, and receivers that are more sensitive can receive information that is accurate to within a few millimeters. To achieve accuracy, effects predicted by Einstein’s Special and General Theory of Relativity must be taken into account, since the clocks in the GPS satellites are moving relative to users of the technology on Earth.

The accuracy of GPS data provided to smartphone users is estimated to be within a radius of 4.9 meters. That is accurate, considering all the math and physics are occurring on a set of 24 artificial satellites in spatially distributed orbit around the earth.

Now, do you have a better appreciation of GPS technology and its uses in your life?