Sunday, March 16, 2008

Global Positioning Satellite (GPS)

Most people in technologically advanced areas of the world today recognize what the initials GPS stand for. They stand for Global Positioning Satellite system or GPS systems. More and more this technology is becoming a part of our everyday lives and finding its way into more and more of our electronic devices. GPS systems can now be found in everything from cell phones to laptop computers to vehicles for navigation or other tracking purposes. Originally developed by the United States defense department as a military application, the technology in recent years has been opened up to commercial development.

Many practical uses for GPS systems have been developed for the commercial marketplace. The first commercial GPS systems were developed as stand alone handheld devices which have become very popular with people who spend a lot of time in an outdoor environment such as hunters, hikers and campers as a means for keeping from becoming lost in unfamiliar territories. Because GPS systems are in constant communication with a series of satellites which circle the earth, someone in an unfamiliar outdoor environment has the ability to determine exactly where they are at any time.

They have also become very popular with groups of people who use them to stage treasure hunts. Someone or group will hide some sort of object and challenge others to find what has been hidden through the use of clues to find it using GPS systems to determine the location of what was hidden. GPS systems have become extremely popular as a vehicle accessory for means of navigation instead of having to deal with paper maps. Many vehicle manufacturers now include at least the option of having GPS systems as an accessory on new cars. With a GPS system installed, all a person has to do is to input an address and the GPS systems can determine through communication with the satellite system and preprogrammed map data, what the most direct route is between where the user is and the desired location and then display that on a view screen.

There are other GPS systems for vehicle use which can track the movement of vehicles and relay that information to a remote location such as a cell phone or computer. These systems can be used as a notifier if a vehicle is stolen, to help locate and recover the vehicle, to monitor vehicle speeds, to monitor the driving habits of young drivers, to monitor vehicle usage by company employees, to monitor engine usage hours on construction equipment or any kind of equipment where maintainance is based on engine hours run or as an emergency means of helping locate a missing person based on tracking movement of their vehicle.

The possibilities are almost endless. GPS systems are finding their way into more and more of our electronic devices. They can be found in newer laptops to help with recovery if the computer is stolen, they are in newer cellphones, and PDA's. You can find them in some high end stereo equipment, vehicles, law enforcement uses them to monitor criminals who are out in the community on release programs, and there are GPS systems which can be worn by children like a wristwatch, attached to their clothing or carried with them like a cell phone as a means of locating them in case they go missing. Imagination is the only limit to what GPS systems can be used for.

GPS systems and technology are here to stay and becoming more and more commonplace and less expensive all the time as the technology is advanced and mass produced in the marketplace. Any technology such as this that makes our lives easier or safer or more productive will always gain widespread acceptance and usage in everyday life.

1 comment:

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