How an Automobile GPS Makes You Cool
An automobile GPS is convenient and safe, affordable and easy to use. But how can something that just about everyone has, be considered cool? If you have ever watched a science fiction TV show or movie and thought it would be cool to be the captain of a space ship, then you' ll think an automobile GPS is cool.
The Space Factor
When you ask your automobile GPS for your position, you are accessing three or four satellites in a network of more than fifty covering all points of the planet. By the way, this is just the American system. Russia has its own system called GLONASS. Ours is officially called NAVSTAR. So your automobile GPS is cool because it connects you to space navigation, it' s like cold war science fiction and the satellite system has a cool name.
The individual satellites are pretty cool, too. Each satellite circles the planet twice a day at the altitude of 12,600 miles. Each satellite updates its own information about its own position about every twelve and a half minutes. There are five monitoring stations to monitor the satellites and collect their combined information to update any changes that need to be made, including ensuring that their atomic clocks are all synchronized to within a microsecond.
What They Do
Besides sending signals from outer space to your automobile GPS, the positioning signals are used for many other and really cool activities. First is the original purpose of the satellite network, the military. The GPS satellite helps advanced weapons find their targets and keeps commanders informed of the location of troops. A signal that civilian units like your automobile GPS can' t pick up carries information from the satellites nuclear detonation detectors.
Airplanes, ships, mine trucks, other vehicles, glider pilots, mountain climbers, hikers use the technology in the same way that your automobile GPS does. There are also competitions that use them. The aforementioned glider pilots use them to show that they reached a specific check point in contests and geocachers use handheld GPS devices to search for an item emitting a signal that is hidden.
Mobile phones are now being manufactured with GPS signal emitters so that when someone calls 911, he or she can be located as surely as someone who uses a land line. The atomic clocks can also be used to monitor earthquake sites by measuring slight shifts in land masses. Now isn' t that cool?