(GPS) Global Positioning Systems - The World Grows Smaller
Author: Gary Mialocq, Ph.D.
As a young child in the first grade not long after the end of WW2, I remember looking at a globe in the classroom and seeing "Unexplored Territory" in several places. Well, times have certainly changed. Now, with the new technology, GPS, it is becoming very difficult to get lost.
GPS, or global positioning system, is a tool that is used to measure distance and to help pinpoint location any place in the world. The fact is that it is an excellent tool that can do so much more than just tell you where you are. And, it is being used in everything from heart rate monitors to automobiles. This is amazing technology.
There are 24 satellites orbiting the earth at various locations at an altitude of 12,000 feet. They are always transmitting information through digital radio signals that tell the transmitters where they are and the exact time. They are so precise that they transmit time to the billionth of a second in accuracy.
Although first developed by the Department of Defense for military purposes, the GPS has found its way into society with many non-governmental functions. Let's examine a few:
Automobiles. You can use this system to drive from one location to another without getting lost. It can help to track a car that has been stolen. It works by transmitting data to the satellite receivers that are then sent to the authorities. Within seconds, you can know your car's location.
Emergency Situations. It can also be of great help in emergency situations. The transmitted information can be sent to the authorities to alert them that you are in trouble. GPS jumps in and helps to find your location. Many vehicles are now being outfitted with this as standard equipment.
Recreation. GPS devices are now use for recreational uses for the outdoor sportsman such as camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, or boating and can be an excellent way to make sure that you don't get lost.
Big Brother! Companies are putting GPS to use as well. It virtually eliminates moonlighting with company vehicles. It reduces accidents and lowers insurance premiums by promoting safe employee driving habits and even creates reports of miles driven by each vehicle.
Domestic. Think your spouse if being unfaithful? Don't hire a high priced private investigator. These devices work so well because they are covert. Some are small enough to hide in a purse or in the car. They now have cell phones equipped with GPS devices. Not only can you locate someone right now, but you can also pull up a history of where the unit has been.
In summary, you won't be finding any more maps as I did as a child marked "Unexplored territory".