What is GPS - Sailing and Boat App GPS
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What is GPS?

GPS is one of many GNSS that provide positioning, navigation, and timing measurement details. It is operated by the US Space Force but made available across the world.

GPS is a satellite-based navigation system that provides users with positioning navigation and timings services worldwide. GPS can be used for a variety of purposes, including navigation, surveying, and time synchronisation. It is a satellite-based navigation system used to determine the precise location of a device on or above the Earth's surface. GPS is one of the first satellite positioning systems which has made it essential for work carried out globally, such as marine GPS, surveying, defence, autonomous vehicles, and agriculture.

What does GPS stand for?

GPS stands for Global Positioning System. It is a constellation of satellites that orbit the Earth so they can be used to determine a location on the Earth's surface. The term GPS can also be used to describe the positioning system itself, such as your phone's built-in GPS which can be used for GPS location positioning in the savvy navvy boating app.

How does GPS work?

GPS receivers calculate their position by measuring the time it takes for a signal to reach them from four or more satellites. The time delay is used to calculate the distance to each satellite. The receiver then uses this information to triangulate its position. GPS receivers can also be used to calculate time and speed.

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Similar to other GNSS constellations infrastructure, GPS incorporates three main elements. These are the:

  1. Space element
  2. Control element
  3. User element

The space segment involves over thirty satellites that orbit the planet twice a day broadcasting radio signals to control and monitoring stations on Earth as well as to users through satellite positioning. These satellites broadcast precise timing signals that allow GPS receivers to calculate their location. GPS receivers use signals from satellites to calculate their location. The receivers can calculate their location to within a few meters which makes GPS a handy tool for navigation.

The control segment uses master and backup control stations that are dedicated to ensuring GPS satellites are in good condition, orbiting correctly, and retain accurate clocks. These stations are said to be critical to the accuracy of GPS measurements worldwide.

The user segment encapsulates anyone relying on a GPS satellite for measurements.

Who invented GPS?

The Global Positioning System was invented by the United States Department of Defense in 1973 which is a division of the U.S. Armed Forces. Although established by the U.S. GPS is available all over the world.

What is GPS used for?

GPS is most commonly used for navigation and tracking in a wide variety of applications, for example, autonomous vehicles use GPS  to help them stay in the correct lane, UAVs use it to maintain a given position, surveyors require GPS to carry out surveys, farmers track crop planting, hikers use a GPS tracker to ensure they stick to a route and don't get lost and sailors use boat GPS to pinpoint their exact coordinates whilst out at sea.

GPS receivers can be mounted on vehicles, boats, aircraft, handheld devices and even watches. GPS can also be incorporated as one of many positioning systems, for example on Offshore Support Vessels, it is often required that the ship has up to 3 independent positioning systems for safety, of which GPS is one of them.

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