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Saturday, July 23, 2011

GPS Technology

The global positioning network, a collection of satellites in orbit around our planet, constantly receiving and providing detailed information about where we are. As with other essential technologies, the military can be thanked for what can now be found in everything from cars to phones. It started out as a project to help soldiers on the battlefield better coordinate strikes and move about the terrain in a much more efficient manor. After awhile of government and military use only the first waves of GPS receivers began hitting the market for average consumers. While it was possible at the time to provide location data accurate to a few feet even at the beginning, the government passed a law requiring the data to be kept accurate to a few meters which kept the paper map as a primary tool. Finally after years of poor tracking the government retracted the law it had put in place and flipped the switch allowing some extremely accurate location data. In the years since, GPS tech has become more efficient, more portable, and more affordable allowing it to be placed in a wide array of products for a wide variety of uses.

Today such tracking technology is used for many reasons including keeping an eye on pets who may run away. My favorite use however is certainly the ability to stalk all of my friends who have smartphones. While they are not paying attention I will install apps that track their location and allow me to keep track of them. It is always fun to see the expression on their face when I always appear right behind them. They think I am a ninja. But in practical applications, GPS can and is used around the globe to help with relief efforts, oil drilling, and even games like GeoCaching. This game is where people will leave a box at a set of coordinates and then post them online for others to search after. The new twist to treasure hunting has caught on in recent years since more people now have GPS capable devices. It is surely fun and even I am guilty of joining in sometimes.

The moral of this story is that global positioning systems play a critical role in how our society now operates and without them our world would be a much different place than what we see now. What do you use GPS for most often? Leave your comments down below and be sure to +1 this article if you liked it as it helps others share in the love. As always, have a great day.

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