GPS, or global positioning system, is the most commonly used celestial navigation source in today’s society, which I also use on a regular basis. From giving me directions when I am driving to telling me my exact location, GPS has become vital in most people’s daily lives. The global positioning system was originally designed for the military in the late 1970’s, but has now found a place in civilian life. It functions by using a set of satellites that orbit the Earth, which transmit a radio signal. This signal is then picked up by the navigation system or a device with GPS capabilities and the device then calculates location by knowing where the satellites are in orbit, then calculating location relative to them.

 GPS has also been implemented for security reasons and following trucks that might be transporting precious cargo. But with devices that can utilize GPS, tools have been created to block GPS signals, which commonly called GPS jammers. Because the GPS signal is relatively weak, it only takes a device that can emit a stronger radio signal to overcome the GPS radio waves and distort it. Recently, scientists have begun to research ways to create stronger GPS signals or devices that can evade the jammer and reach its intended receiver. One technique is to use directed antennas that point at the satellites and can avoid the jamming, but these antennas are often expensive and are primarily used in the military. A more cost effective way is to use eLoran, a low frequency radio signal that uses land based receivers, and because the land based receivers are often closer, this helps prevent jamming. The world of GPS has been constantly evolving since the 1970’s, with GPS becoming stronger and more robust in response to a growing usage of jammers and jamming technology.

2 thoughts on “GPS

  1. It is interesting to note that although a technological development can prove useful, it may eventually be used in a way that threatens our level of privacy. I feel as though such developments have been common in the past 20 years, as devices become so advanced that they have negative implications. GPS is a prime example of how we have developed a product to improve a certain aspect of life, yet it included a tradeoff that ultimately affected one’s privacy. Developments regarding social media also follow a similar path.

  2. So then for one signal to jam another does it just have to “hit” it? Because then wouldn’t a person interested in jamming another signal have to plan exactly where the original signal was and how to send theirs out in just the right way for it to disrupt another (same for catching it to intercept a message)? Sounds complicated to me! I could also be fundamentally misunderstanding the way waves travel, though. Either way, it seems to me that if you just need a bigger satellite to jam another signal, it could spark a whole war between competing companies that would have reason to want a bigger signal.

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