IoT For All
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IoT For All

6 Things You Didn’t Know About GPS

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1) GPS Isn’t Unique

GPS is just one of several space-based radio navigation systems. Russian has its GLONASS system, the European Union has its Galileo system, and China has its BeiDou system.

2) The US Government Owns and Operates GPS

Like many modern technologies, GPS was born out of the military during the Cold War. Nuclear deterrence was the name of the game, which meant the capacity to launch nuclear weapons at the enemy’s homeland.

3) There Are Currently 32 GPS Satellites in Orbit

To achieve global coverage for GPS, 24 satellites are required. The first of the 24 was launched in 1989 and the 24th was launched in 1994.

4) You Need At Least 4 GPS Satellites in Line-of-Sight

Using a constellation of 24 GPS satellites ensures that at least 4 satellites are within line-of-sight of any location on Earth at all times.

5) GPS Needs to Account for General Relativity

According to Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, time moves faster for objects that are further from sources of gravity. Because satellites are further from Earth, their onboard clocks run 38 microseconds faster per day than clocks on Earth’s surface.

6) GPS Isn’t Just for Determining Location

The accuracy of GPS time signals is within 10 billionths of a second, which is second only to atomic clocks themselves. So GPS is also used for determining exact time, which is extremely important for time-critical applications.

GPS and the Internet of Things

The precise location and timing ability of GPS is a critical enabler of many IoT applications. From precision agriculture, to automated vehicles, to fleet tracking, to smart mining, and many many more.

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Calum McClelland

Director of Projects @Leverege. Striving to change myself and the world for the better. I value active living, life-long learning, and keeping an open mind.