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Glossary

What is the Global Positioning System?

Global Positioning System is abbreviated as GPS. A GPS is a navigation system that uses satellites, a receiver, and algorithms to synchronize location, velocity, and time data for air, sea, and land travel.


The satellite system consists of 24 satellites orbiting at a speed of 8,700 mph (14,000 km/h) in six Earth-centered orbital planes. Moreover, each with four satellites, at a distance of 13,000 miles (20,000 km) above Earth.


While only three satellites are required to generate a location on the earth's surface. And, the information from the other three is frequently validated by a fourth satellite. Then, the fourth satellite transports us to the third dimension, allowing us to calculate the altitude of a device.

What are the Main Three Elements of the Global Positioning System (GPS)?

The global positioning system (GPS) is made up of three different components that are called segments. And, these segments work together that provide complete location information.


Well, there are three segments of GPS that are mentioned below. So, let’s come to the points directly.

1. Space or Satellites: 

Satellites that circle the Earth and send signals to users based on their geographical location and time of day are known as space (satellites).

2. Ground Control:

Earth-based monitor stations, master control stations, and a ground antenna make up ground control. Satellite tracking and operation, as well as transmission monitoring, are examples of control activities. Hence, nearly every continent, including North and South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia, has monitoring stations.

3. Equipment of User:

The user equipment includes GPS receivers and transmitters, as well as watches, smartphones, and telematics devices.

What is the Purpose of GPS Technology?

GPS employs a technique known as trilateration. Trilateration is a technique that collects signals from satellites and uses them to calculate location, velocity, and elevation. Furthermore, this technology is used to measure angles rather than distances, which is frequently confused with it.


Satellites in orbit around the Earth send out signals that a GPS device on or near the ground can read and interpret. So, to calculate location, a GPS device must be able to read signals from at least four satellites.


Each satellite in the network makes two daily orbits around the earth, transmitting a unique signal, orbital parameters, and time. At any given time, a GPS device can read signals from six or more satellites.


A microwave signal is broadcast by a single satellite, which a GPS device detects and uses to calculate the distance between the GPS device and the satellite. Therefore, a single satellite cannot provide much location information because a GPS device only receives distance information from a satellite. Satellites do not transmit information about angles, a GPS device's location could be anywhere on a sphere's surface.


When a satellite transmits a signal, it draws a circle with a radius equal to the GPS device's distance from the satellite.


When a second satellite is added, then a second circle is formed. And, the location is narrowed to one of two points where the circles intersect.


It is at the intersection of all three circles, the device's location can finally be determined with the help of a third satellite.

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