Do you remember the time when our ancestors used to remember the directions and the important landmarks so that they don’t get lost on the way to their destination? Those days are, thankfully, long gone. Today, it has become much, much easier for people to know where exactly they are, and how much they need to travel to get to their desired destination. No need to remember the routes.

A small device is capable of showing you different directions and helping with navigation seamlessly. Yes, we are talking about the GPS. By now, most of us are familiar with GPS and how it works. The technology is used for navigation purposes. It can help you locate just about any location. You can navigate through the narrowest corner following these digital maps. The question is how do they work? How accurate are the directions?

GPS stands for Global Positioning System, a device that was launched for military use initially but soon became available to the public. Let’s see how the GPS receivers work.

How Does it Work?

GPS is made of three crucial elements. The researchers have deployed several satellites in six orbits, which move at 12-hour intervals and are located at a height of 12,000 kilometers from our planet. This is called the space segment. Then, we have the control segment that is used to monitor and maintain the satellite orbit. The last one is GPS receivers.

The distance between the satellites and the GPS receivers is calculated. The purpose of calculating this distance is to identify the current location of the GPS receiver. However, the timing inaccuracy in the GPS receiver and the three satellites can make it difficult for you to track the exact location through GPS. That’s where the fourth satellite comes into the picture. By measuring the distance between the GPS receiver and the four satellites, you can identify four spheres that meet at one point.

These four points will intersect only when you get your numbers correct. However, the distance can be proportionally incorrect, as the time between the GPS and satellites is still not synced. When the four spheres meet at one point, the GPS receivers adjust their timing to be in line with the timings of the atomic clock installed on the satellites. The process might seem a bit complex, but it happens in a fraction of a second, thus generating output as soon as you turn on the GPS receivers. In fact, every time the GPS is turned on, it syncs it with a clock with the satellite’s atomic clock, thus producing the most accurate maps of any given area. Not only does it sync the timing with the atomic clock, but the GPS receivers identify the exact location of different satellites.

What are its Uses?

GPS has become a go-to tool for navigation purposes. Many autonomous vehicles come with built-in GPS receivers that can help you navigate any route, show the current traffic condition, and even weather in your destination address.