A Brief Overview of GPS Technology
Global Positioning System (GPS) technology is rapidly replacing Loran as the navigation system of choice for
boaters and other sports enthusiasts in the United States. A system of 24 satellites transmits information to a
receiver that computes your location. Now that it is fully functional, the system provides reliable, accurate locational
information at relatively low cost. GPS units are available at sporting goods stores for under $300. With the advent
of (differential GPS) DGPS capabilities and the Coast Guard broadcast network, the accuracy of the system has
increased to the 5 to 10 meter level or even better. The advantages of GPS are that you can receive signals
anywhere on the earth's surface, including far from land, and regardless of weather conditions.
The technology was developed by the Department of Defense and is evolving rapidly. Handheld units that sold for
thousands of dollars a few years ago are being replaced by units that do more and cost far less today. GPS units
are showing up in lots of places, which helps promote the technology and provide lower cost services for
differential signal broadcasting.
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