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The magic of GPS

The magic of GPS

Fire, electricity, meteorites, lightning and the Sun are examples of unknown phenomena in the past. Although nowadays people have access to a great variety of discoveries, education and the Internet, they still cannot know it all as the mass of information is simply impossible to be “digested” in a single lifetime span. There are many products or services used in contemporary times that keep developing new features and are used in more and more different ways and with diverse purposes.

Such an example is the GPS, short for Global Positioning System. It is owned by the United States of America, being available worldwide for any person interested in its services, mainly in timing, navigation and positioning. Besides the most used segment, the user one, which helps you receive the satellite signals on your GPS receiver, there are also the space and the control segments. The first one refers to the 24 satellites that transmit the necessary signals, while the second involves the maintenance and controlling part.

How does the magic of the GPS work for us, mortals? First of all we should be grateful for those 24 satellites strategically placed in order to cover every location. They fly above the Earth (at a 20.000 km distance) and circle the planet two times on a daily basis. Each radio signal is sent through the atomic clocks found on the board of the satellites. The signal includes exact status, time and location and it travels in space at the amazing speed of light, being received by our GPS systems. In order to be advised on how to get to a certain address or find a certain location we need signals from at least four different satellites. Simple, right?

Now that the magic trick has been revealed, let us see how you can use this powerful tool, as it represents the basic element in many applications that keep getting more complex as the days go by. They are used for our phones, watches, ATM machines and more. Services also rely a lot on the GPS nowadays. Important industries such as constructions, banking, farming and private hire minicabs cannot work without it. Moreover, our security as human beings is now dependent on the GPS, bringing important help to rescuing missions, military operations and so on.

The Global Positioning System plays “its tricks” in various domains including agriculture, marine, recreation, mapping, aviation, disaster relief, transport, environment and space. You will be surprised of how often you personally use it every single day. You use the mobile phone to look at the exact time, the GPS system in your car to arrive at the right destination, plan your holiday in advance by calculating possible routes and locate your photos afterwards. This is the true magic of GPS.

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