Global Positioning System

 

The Global Positioning System (GPS), also known as Navstar GPS or simply Navstar, is a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) that provides location and time information in all weather conditions, anywhere on or near the Earth where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites.The GPS system operates independently of any telephonic or internet reception, though these technologies can enhance the usefulness of the GPS positioning information. The GPS system provides critical positioning capabilities to military, civil, and commercial users around the world. The United States government created the system, maintains it, and makes it freely accessible to anyone with a GPS receiver. However, the US government can deny access, as happened to the Indian military in 1999 during the Kargil War

 

The GPS project was launched in the United States in 1973 to overcome the limitations of previous navigation systems,[7] integrating ideas from several predecessors, including a number of classified engineering design studies from the 1960s. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) developed the system, which originally used 24 satellites. It became fully operational in 1995. Roger L. Easton, Ivan A. Getting and Bradford Parkinson of the Applied Physics Laboratory are credited with inventing it

 

Advances in technology and new demands on the existing system have now led to efforts to modernize the GPS and implement the next generation of GPS Block IIIA satellites and Next Generation Operational Control System (OCX). Announcements from Vice President Al Gore and the White House in 1998 initiated these changes. In 2000, the U.S. Congress authorized the modernization effort, GPS III.

 

In addition to GPS, other systems are in use or under development, mainly because of a potential denial of access and potential monitoring by the US government. The Russian Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) was developed contemporaneously with GPS, but suffered from incomplete coverage of the globe until the mid-2000s. GLONASS can be added to GPS devices which makes more satellites available and enabling positions to be fixed more quickly and accurately, to within 2 meters .There are also the planned European Union Galileo positioning system, China's BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, the Japanese Quasi-Zenith Satellite System, and India's Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System.

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