Defining the Global Positioning system and applications of GPS devices


With the advancement of technology, the accuracy in providing the exact location and positioning of someone is increasing and become an easy task. The device that is used to find the location is called a GPS module. With this, one can find his or her location and the best route to follow based on the suggestions. Let us understand its evolution and its working.

What is GPS?

GPs is a global positioning system, it is a satellite-based navigation system made by the network of some 24 satellites (constantly moving) placed into the orbit of the earth around 12000 miles above us, by the US defense department. It was originally made for the military purpose, but on mid 80’s the US government made it available to each and every one. The interesting thing is that there are no fees or subscription charges to use it.missions_using_blackjack_receivers

Basic working of GPS (global positioning system)

They circle the earth in an orbit two times in a day and throw back the information of signals to earth. The receiver, which is placed on the earth, take this signal and use some calculation to figure out the exact location of the user.

Basically, they compare the time duration in which the signal is transferred by the satellite and the time it was received by the user. So the time difference tells the receivers of GPS, how far away the particular satellite is. For finding the exact location your GPS receiver should be locked on to the signal of at least three satellites with the measures of latitude and longitude. On the other hand to find the 3D location of the user another factor called altitude is required. Once the location has been locked then the GPS can calculate other required information like speed, tracks, a distance of the trip, source to the destination location, sunrise, sunset etc.

Talking about the accuracy

In today’s modern time, they are highly accurate. Today the receivers are quick enough to lock onto satellites within seconds. However, sometimes certain atmospheric factors can affect the accuracy of receivers. They are powered by the solar energy today and also have the backup batteries to keep them running all the time.

Applications of a GPS Devicespoof-gps-signals-of-smartphones-and-in-car-navigation-system

The GPS devices can have much more capabilities than only to find location as:

  • Providing the maps, including some street maps.
  • Providing the direction to the user via text, speech recognition (available in most of the mobile phones today)
  • Providing the direction directly to the automated vehicle, drones.
  • Giving information on traffic and suggestion of alternative routes, short cut routes.
  • Providing information on nearby facilities like dining, ATM, hotels, attractive places etc.


  • Error in receiver clocks- the built-inclock of the receiver is sometimes not as accurate as automatic clocks installed on the GPS satellite.
  • Buildings, electronic interference, dense foliage, can block signal reception of signals results in a positioning error.
  • Satellite geometry- it is defining as the relative positioning of the satellite at a given time. The ideal condition is that when satellites are placed in wide angles from each other. If satellites are placed in a line to each other then it can result into a poor geometry hence weak signal or no signal at all.