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The global positioning system is a satellite-based navigation system developed and operated by the US Department of Defence consisting of a network of 24 orbiting satellites that are eleven thousand nautical miles in space at an inclination of 55 degrees and in six different orbital paths The satellites are constantly moving making two complete orbits around the Earth in just less than 24 hours The GPS satellites are referred to as NAVSTAR satellitesGPS uses these man-made stars as reference points to calculate positions accurate to a matter of metres Advanced forms of GPS can make measurements to better than a centimetreGPS now permits land sea and airborne users to determine their three dimensional position anywhere in the world very precisely and accurately The user segment consists of receivers processors and antennas The vast majority of applications of precision possible with GPS is primarily of scientific and military use but it is worth noting that these days GPS is finding its way into cars boats planes construction equipment and a lot moreThe GPS satellites orbit the Earth twice a day 11000 miles above the Earth transmitting their precise position and elevation In brief the GPS receiver acquires the signal then measures the interval between transmission and receipt of the signal to determine the distance between the receiver and the satellite Once the receiver has calculated this data for at least three satellites its location on the Earths surface can be determined This is the basis of triangulation which works as follows -Determining the exact distance to one satellite narrows down the receivers position to some place on an imaginary sphere-Knowing the exact distance to a second satellite narrows the position down to the intersection of two spheres or a circle of points-Knowing the exact position of a third satellite narrows the possibilities down to two points of intersectionThe exact position is usually known now because one of the points is usually not on the surface of
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