The Global Positioning System (Gps) Essay

2459 words - 10 pages

The Global Positioning System, more commonly called the GPS is a satellite based system that provides navigation for almost everything from cell phones to automobiles. This wonderful technology is very vital in today’s economy because of its prominence in banking, financial markets, power grids, farming, construction and so much more. It also protects human life by preventing accidents, helping in search and rescue missions and is critical to nearly every facet of military operations. There are three segments that make up the global positioning system: the space segment, the control segment and the user segment. The segment we are familiar with is the user segment. The user segment is what receives GPS signals, determines the distance between a satellite and a receiver and solves the navigation equations, all in order to obtain the coordinates of a specific place. The space segment consists of 31 satellites but there is an availability of at least 24 satellites that are approximately 6 000-12 000 miles above the earth.

These satellites are arranged in this way because it ensures that at least four satellites are in view from literally any point on earth. This ensures the accurate and efficient operation of the global positioning system. The last but arguably the most important segment of the GPS is the control segment. The control segment is a global network of facilities that track the satellites in space and ensure they are functioning properly. This includes monitoring their transmissions, performing analyses on them and sending commands and data to them. There are three parts to the control segment; the master control station, monitor stations and ground antennas. The master control station is responsible for the command and control of all the GPS satellites, ensuring the health and accuracy of them. The monitor stations track the satellites observe the atmospheric data, measurements and navigation signals. The ground antennas are used to communicate with GPS satellites for command and control purposes. This report will discuss the historical perspective and mathematical influence of the global positioning system.

Diagram: The three segments of the Global Positioning System shown

Historical Perspective

The global positioning system is very common in today’s world. Its many functions and uses are very beneficial to society but where did the idea and the intelligence of the global positioning system originally come from? People first used landmarks such as mountains, bodies of water, and trails as ways of navigating. This was very complicated and wasn’t usually successful. Celestial navigation, which involved using the stars as guidelines, was used for hundreds of years. It was very time consuming, and it had to be very precise and accurate. It could only be used at night, during clear skies. The lack of a dependent, easy and efficient navigation system was influential to the invention of the global...

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