Global Positioning System or GPS

Global Positioning Systems, also known as GPS systems, is space-based navigational devices that provide accurate position information of celestial objects such as satellites, comets, earth, moon, etc. With the help of satellites, the Global Positioning System can locate any fixed point on earth. It does this by triangulating the timing and location of the satellite. This technique helps to determine the exact latitude and longitude where the satellite is currently located.


The GPS functions through radio transmissions sent out from the GPS satellite to the receiver in the receiving station. This process is called radio navigation. There are two different types of GPS systems namely Global Positioning System or GPSS and Segmental GPS. The Global Positioning System or GPSS is a global navigation system using 24 satellites that circle the earth twice a day. These satellites are constantly moving from west to east with respect to each other and thus help in getting hold of the precise location of any fixed point on earth.

The Segmental GPS, on the other hand operates on a triangulating algorithm and takes readings from the atmosphere. The process of taking readings from the atmosphere goes through three important stages namely ground control, tracking and analysis. Ground control involves the determination of the tilt, geographic coordinates and velocities of the ground surface. The next stage of the algorithm is tracking which refers to the ability of the system to store and receive real-time data. Analysis comes after the data has been stored in the system and all required information has been collated. The Segmental GPS system helps to derive precipitation, atmospheric pressure, atmospheric composition, cloud composition, wind, temperature and density.

Today there are many operational environmental satellites in operation which have made use of the technique of triangulation in their functioning. This technique enables these earth-observing satellites to make use of a set of reference frames. Hence once a satellite has been pointed into the Earth’s orbit, it will automatically track all the changes that are taking place on the earth as observed by it. In fact these operational environmental satellites have proved to be highly useful in determining the present state of the environment of any region or area.

The Global Positioning System or the GPS is another such satellite launched which is also used to track and map the location of any fixed point on earth. This global positioning system or the GPS was first launched on April 8th, 1996 with a specific aim to track ships and also help in emergency rescue operations. Today there are many other uses of this global navigation satellite system. It can be easily used by cars, pedestrians and any other transport vehicles to track their positions at any given point of time.

There are many operational geostationary satellites in operation today, which also help in determining the location of any fixed point on earth. The operational satellites generally use reflectivity and radar techniques to track the location. These operational geostationary satellites or operational satellites are mainly used during emergencies and military operations. They are very important in monitoring weather conditions and climatic changes. They can be easily spotted from a distance and thus provide an extra level of safety to the inhabitants of a region.