The Global Positioning System (GPS) is defined as a satellite-based navigation system whose work is to track the locations of users. It is composed of 24 satellites that were placed into space for the purpose of military applications. The United States Department of Defense placed the satellites into orbit in which it was used for military purposes but the system was made available to civilians in the 1980s. It is noted that GPS have the ability to work in all weather conditions across the globe and at any time (Hutchins Para. 1).
GPS Technology Application and Benefits
The GPS satellites rotate around the Earth twice a day and in the process, they transmit signal information to GPS receiver devices on Earth. The information received by GPS receiving gadgets is used to calculate and locate the user’s exact position by employing triangulation mechanism. Apart from showing or locating the position of the user, GPS devices can also show some other information such as the distance that one has left before they reach their destination, the bearing, the speed, the time and others. The accuracy of this information is dependent on the GPS receiver gadget that is used. This is because some of the GPS receiver devices are able to calculate the location of the user within a perimeter of some meters such as the Garmin GPS receivers that calculate up to within 15 meters. However, other GPS receiver gadgets that have Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) are able to improve accuracy to within three meters on average. This shows that GPS technology is of use to a number of organizations in order for their works to be effective (Smith Para. 1).
Among the organizations that make good use of GPS technology are the law enforcement agencies. It is noted that there are a number of devices and gadgets that are used in cars, cellular-telephones as well as the handheld digital devices that have trackers or GPS technology enabled capabilities. The law enforcement agencies such as the police make use of these tools to gather information provided through the GPS systems in order to track down lawbreakers. It has been noted that the increase of GPS functionality especially in policing technologies has noticeably improved the efficiency of their work. It makes it easier to track down and locate criminals and law breakers within a short period (Smith Para. 2).
Some of the improvements that have been made to enable the efficiency of law enforcers are the use of GPS technology to locate the latitude and the longitude of the location of cell phones even when they are disabled. Also, an agency may have the ability to receive alerts when law breakers such as sex offenders are not at home or suspected to appear at the scene of a crime hence making them accountable for their actions. Additionally, “A dispatch system that displays both a live map of calls for service and AVL-based real-time vehicle locations is valuable, but using AVL data after the fact to analyze patrol patterns geographically in relation to call-for-service density dramatically improves patrol planning and enhances efficiency and effectiveness” (Smith Para. 4).
Improving GPS Technology
It can be seen that GPS technology has had an impact in the use and application of modern technology in a number of sectors. From military use to civilian use, GPS technology is important in a number of ways. However, other new technologies are emerging which give GPS a challenge on its efficiency in delivering desirable and quality information to the users. One of those technologies challenging GPS is Locata. Locata technology makes use of ground-based gadgets to project a radio signal in a specified location which is much stronger on arrival than GPS. The Locata signal is said to surpass that of GPS by more than a million times. Besides, the accuracy of Locata measures up to 18 centimeters along any axis. It can also work very well indoors unlike GPS which is limited to outside signal reception (Hambling Para. 2-3).
Hambling (Para. 4) notes that “Indoor positioning is the next big thing in location-tracking technology, and companies from Google to Nokia have jumped at the chance to prevent users getting lost in cavernous shopping malls, or in the concrete canyons of big cities, where GPS struggles to keep up.” In order to achieve this effectively, it has been indicated that Locata technology will be used jointly with GPS. Using GPS jointly with other emerging technologies seems to be the most reliable way of keeping abreast of the challenges facing the present society and tackling them effectively. Therefore, GPS technology can be improved through the incorporation of other emerging and new technologies that will enhance its efficiency (Hambling Para. 4)
In essence, GPS technology which was intended for military purposes by the United States defense department has over time found its useful purpose in the common citizen worldwide. Its importance has been emphasized by law enforcement agencies and other users due to the effectiveness of the services it offers.
Hambling, David. New positioning technology could compete with GPS. newscientist.com. 03 Jan. 2013. Web. 27 Mach 2013.
Hutchins, Renee McDonald. “Tied Up in Knotts? GPS Technology and the Fourth Amendment.” Law Review 60.3 (2013): web. 27 March 2013.
Smith, Kurt. “GPS Technology in Policing: Ride the Wave to Make Better Decisions.” policechiefmagazine.org. 4 March 2013. Web. 27 March 2013.