How it All Started: A Brief History of GPS

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Global Positioning System ConceptGlobal Positioning System, or more commonly known as GPS is readily available today to most individuals. With just a few clicks on the phone, one would be able to locate his whereabouts quickly and navigate through the whole area.

Nowadays, Uber drivers are heavily reliant on GPS ran applications to help them get around. On a broad scale, governments and institutions use GPS-aided inertial navigation systems for different operations. But exactly when did GPS start to play a huge part in human lives and civilization? 

History of GPS

GPS began as a military tool and was developed by the US government through different bodies like the US Navy and the US Department of Defense (DoD). NASA concisely summarized the origins of the system, tracing it back to the Sputnik era. Satellites were tracked by scientists using shifts in the radio signals, or more commonly known as the Doppler Effect. Satellites were initially launched to find submarines. But eventually, the DoD launched its first Navigation System with Timing and Ranging (NAVSTAR) satellite in 1978, which started multiple uses of GPS.

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Initially, the system is used strictly for military purposes. But, as time passed, ordinary individuals were able to access and utilize the system. 

GPS at present 

Currently, GPS is a system owned by the US Government and is operated by the US Air Force. The system is currently used to meet national defense, homeland security, civil commercial, and scientific needs.

Apart from tracking one’s location and navigating your way through an unfamiliar place, GPS can also be used for scientific, financial, telecommunications and security purposes. Even the mere activity of checking into a place on your social media accounts is a product of GPS.

More and more people are reaping the benefits of advanced technologies. It makes one wonder, what more can the field of navigation and global positioning offer to people? Everyone needs to wait and see to find out.

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