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The Global Positioning System GPS a system of 24 satellites circling the Earth is a fairly new technology As with a lot of new technologies there are innumerable advantages and uses but there is also a downside to our increasing reliance on this system These days GPS is finding its way into cars boats planes construction equipment movie making gear farm machinery even laptop computers It works by using satellites as reference points to calculate a position somewhere on the earth - a position accurate to a matter of meters In fact with advanced forms of GPS you can make measurements to better than a centimeter We have begun to give every square meter on the planet a unique address GPS receivers are being made smaller and more affordable - making the technology accessible to virtually everyone Its becoming standard equipment in the field of archeologyanthropology geology studies is used for entertainment purposes such as treasure hunts - it just may become a universal utility Most GPS receivers have the ability to store attribute information in addition to position information in a Geographic Information System GIS Examples of attribute information are the condition of a street sign the name of a road or a location of a mineshaft or other dangers It is superior to other navigation systems in that it is more accurate and consistent ex celestial navigation is complicated and is only of use at night and in good weather conditions with limited precision radio systems such as Omega have limited accuracy and are subject to radio interference It has supplied more information about how our earth works and moves for example researchers at the University of West Florida used differential GPS to study coastline erosion caused by hurricanes The position of the beachsand was measured with a GPS before and after the passing of a hurricane Hurricane Georges 1998 and the effect of the storm was measured and visualized in a
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