GPS Devices

Quill Office Living (Supply Cabinet)

Throughout history people have often gone to extreme measures to keep from getting lost by erecting impressive landmarks, making detailed maps and learning to read the stars in the night sky. Today, things are much easier. For less than $100 you can get a pocket-sized device called a GPS that will tell you exactly where on earth you are at any given moment.

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is actually a network of 27 satellites orbiting the planet (24 in operation and 3 reserves as backup in case one fails), providing worldwide coverage in all weather—24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The U.S. military developed and implemented this satellite network as a military navigation system, but in 1993 made it available to civilians and other friendly powers as an essential component for modern navigation on land, water and air. GPS technology has also found useful applications in the fields of mapping and surveying.

A GPS receiver calculates its position by carefully timing the signals sent by the network of GPS satellites high above earth. They circle the planet twice a day in a very precise orbit and transmit signal information down to the surface. GPS receivers then take this information and use triangulation to calculate the user's exact location. The GPS receiver compares the time a signal was transmitted by a satellite with the time it was received. This time difference tells the receiver how far away the satellite is. With distance measurements from a few more satellites, the receiver can then determine the user's position and display it on the unit's electronic map.

GPS systems can be very accurate in measurements, generally have an error rate of only a few meters and require no subscription fees or setup charges. So, as long as you have a GPS receiver with power and a clear view of the sky, you'll never be lost again.

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