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The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a U.S. space-based global navigation satellite system. It provides reliable positioning, navigation, and timing services to worldwide users on a continuous basis in all weather, day and night, anywhere on or near the Earth.
GPS is made up of three parts: between 24 and 32 satellites orbiting the Earth, four control and monitoring stations on Earth, and the GPS receivers owned by users. GPS satellites broadcast signals from space that are used by GPS receivers to provide three-dimensional location (latitude, longitude, and altitude) plus the time.
Since it became fully operational on April 27, 1995, GPS has become a widely used aid to navigation worldwide, and a useful tool for map-making, land surveying, commerce, scientific uses, tracking and surveillance, and hobbies such as geocaching. Also, the precise time reference is used in many applications including the scientific study of earthquakes and as a time synchronization source for cellular network protocols.
GPS has become a mainstay of transportation systems worldwide, providing navigation for aviation, ground, and maritime operations. Disaster relief and emergency services depend upon GPS for location and timing capabilities in their life-saving missions. Everyday activities such as banking, mobile phone operations, and even the control of power grids, are facilitated by the accurate timing provided by GPS. Farmers, surveyors, geologists and countless others perform their work more efficiently, safely, economically, and accurately using the free and open GPS signals.
This Content Originally Published by a land surveyor to Land Surveyors United Network