Surprising facts about the GPS technology

The GPS navigation is one of the great inventions of our time. It has shaped the way we live, drive and think about distances. Proper GPS navigation makes it much easier to find your way around the roads of the country and also optimizes professional services. For example, your London man and van company is now able to provide you with better prices for moving because the GPS tells them which the shortest and surest route to reach the assigned destination is. But did you know those curious and surprising facts about the GPS before?

  • SatelliteAs one can imagine, the first use of the modern GPS system was for military purposes during the Cold War era, much like other great technological leaps during the end of the 20th century like the World Wide Web. The GPS was used by the US military to cover the needs for global navigation.
  • The first time GPS was used by the automobile industry was in 1996.
  • The first GPS satellites were launched in space in 1989. They were 24 in number, which is exactly the amount of satellites that are operational today. The total number of Geo Positioning System satellites that are in space now is some 54, including those that are no longer operational.
  • The idea about the technology which makes GPS possible today was conceived in the years of World War II. The origins can be traced back to the LORAN and Decca Navigation System, which were used for long-range navigation of ships and planes during the war years.
  • GPS satellites manage to track down the exact location needed by using the Doppler Effect. Using the principles of the Doppler Effect, GPS satellites manage to capture the change of frequency thus identifying the needed location.
  • The GPS prototype had the code-name Navstar. The first satellite designed specifically to maintain the Navstar system was launched in space in 1978. As we have already mentioned above though, it was eleven years later when the modern GPS satellite was actually ready to go into space.
  • GPS devicesNavigating vehicles is the most widely spread use of the GPS technology. It is however used for a variety of other purposes too. There are even the so called GPS shoes. They have been specifically designed for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, so that they can be tracked in case they lose their way home.
  • Before GPS was introduced in the military, they used the navigation systems of the Navy. The need for a new technology emerged with the invention of high-speed airplanes which require a much more precise methods and navigation technology.
  • The GPS technology, which was owned by the US military, was allowed to enter the public domain in 1983 by then President Ronald Reagan. The reason for this was that in this year a Korean Airlines aircraft was shot down by the Soviet air-forces because it violated the country’s air-space.
  • GPS navigationEven though the GPS technology was made public, there was a long period of time when the high-quality frequencies of the signal were confined to military purposes only. It was not until the year 2000 when the those quality signals were also allowed to be used to civil purposes too, thus making the GPS a much more reliable technology to use in everyday life.
  • GPS satellites are used primarily for navigation, but they have several other purposes too. Every satellite has its own atomic clock which is able to determine the exact time with precision of 100 billionth of the second. This is used in order to synchronize time in the cell phone networks.