What is GPS

The GPS System

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a network of satellites orbiting in space at a precise distance from Earth and send signals to GPS receivers on the ground. These signals are associated with a time code and geographic data that enable users across the planet to establish exactly its position, time, and speed.

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is operated by the Department of Defense and consists of a constellation of 24 (max 32) satellites placed in a medium Earth orbit, which is located at a distance of at least 20,000 km from the Earth’s surface, but at a height not exceeding that of the geostationary orbit, which is located at a distance from Earth of about 35,000 km and is used by television satellites communications, and the Internet.

The greater the number of satellites in GPS system the greater the precision of the data acquired. If you experience a technical fault or if one of the satellites send wrong signals, they are reversed from the information from the other satellites in the constellation.

The GPS system was originally designed in the 60s, at the height of the cold war, for military and intelligence applications. In 1983, however, when a Korean passenger jet went into Soviet territory and was shot down by the Russian air force, the then President of the United States Ronald Reagan ordered that he be made a civil version of the GPS system available to the entire population. Currently, access to the GPS system is free, with no fees or maintenance, but you have to buy a GPS receiver. Read more definitions of GPS on AbbreviationFinder.

There are numerous applications of the GPS system: air-naval navigation, finding routes, creating maps, research on earthquakes, climate studies and even outdoor games such as “geocaching” (the treasure hunt of the digital age).

A standard GPS receiver uses an antenna tuned to the frequencies transmitted by the satellites, which picks up the signal and forwards it to the processor built into the receiver, which is able to show the correct time and geographic location.

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