Example Of History And Innovation Of The GPS System Essay

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Wireless Technology, World, System, People, Life, Technology, Track, Time

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/10/19

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Of the many technological marvels that have come about in the last ten or twenty years, few have had the impact on the vast majority of people in the developed world as the Global Positioning System, or GPS. With the rise of smartphones and constant access to the Internet, GPS has become a constant presence in our lives, telling us everything about where we need to go, where things are, and how to get there. It’s a tool that not only saves lives, but makes our everyday lives just that much easier. From its humble beginnings as a way to track movements during wartime, it has become an indispensible part of our daily lives.
The GPS system was first theorized and developed in 1956 by Friedwardt Winterberg, a German-American physicist who wanted to test whether or not atomic clocks could detect the slowing flow of time in strong gravitational fields (NRC 16). Deriving the basic principle from radio navigation systems used during World War II, military officers at the Pentagon decided, in 1973, to create a satellite system for defense, called Navstar (NRC 16). With this system, a series of artificial satellites would be shot up into space, using specific transmitters to track where people and objects were in relation to the satellites, allowing them to track themselves anywhere in the world.
While the GPS system was originally meant mostly for military application, in 1983, a Korean airplane was shot down by the Soviets, killing 269 people; after that, President Ronald Reagan approved the use of GPS by civilians, and urged it to become more freely developed for commercial use (NRC 16). This is the true beginning of GPS as it is known today; invented by Roger L. Easton, this series of GPS satellites created for the program would allow civilians to utilize the GPS tracking system as well, not just military soldiers and officers (Rip & Hasik, 2002). While the signal was lower in quality for civilians at first, future improvements have meant that consumers with the appropriate equipment can accurately track wherever they are in the world.
GPS technology has had a tremendous impact on the world culture at large. In essence, its innovation has been part and parcel of the increased technological access many people around the world have. With the advent of the Internet, and telecommunications technology getting better every day, it is easier to communicate with and track people all over the world, no matter where they are. To that end, GPS has become the new way to navigate and travel; instead of getting lost, or not having directions to where you are, apps on our smartphones can give us directions to our destinations in real-time. Even if we get off course, our phones can use GPS to recalculate our routes and set us back on the right path. This is incredibly important and helpful, and can help to save lives by keeping people from getting lost.
What’s more, GPS allows us to become more comfortable with traveling, as we can be more reasonably sure that we will get to our destinations in a timely and accurate manner. GPS provides absolute locations for us, and tracks our movements relative to other objects, so we can find out where we are at any given time. On top of that, it can help to tell us how long it will take us to get to a given destination based on how fast we are traveling. All of these utilities and more are possible with incredible ease thanks to GPS – particularly when combined with the portability and quick speed of a modern smartphone.
While the use of GPS has been overall a net positive for global culture and daily life, there are some uncomfortable side effects that go with it. For instance, having your position so easily accessible through GPS means that it is extremely easy for the government, companies, and even other individuals to access your private information and find out where you are at any given time. While this may be good in some instances (finding lost or missing people, tracking criminals on the run), the implications are very grim from a human rights and privacy perspective. While global positioning is helpful when we need it, it can be a double-edged sword when others want to access our position without our consent.
All in all, the development of GPS has led to a dramatic advancement in human society and culture, expanding the things we can do and experience through ensuring our ability to know where we are at all times. The only issue, of course, is that everyone else can see where we are at all times as well. Even so, GPS has multiple, varied and extremely useful applications, having a great deal to do with many of the ways we live our lives. Whether we are looking up directions to somewhere, trying to find out where we are now, navigating a road trip or a hike, or one of the many other uses for GPS, the system is an integral part of our modern, technological world. To that end, the world as we know it would likely not be possible without the creation of GPS and its wide application for civilian use.

Works Cited

National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on the Future of the Global Positioning System;
National Academy of Public Administration (1995). The global positioning system: a shared national asset: recommendations for technical improvements and enhancements. National Academies Press. 2013.
Michael Russell Rip, James M. Hasik (2002). The Precision Revolution: GPS and the Future of
Aerial Warfare. Naval Institute Press.

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"Example Of History And Innovation Of The GPS System Essay." WePapers, Oct 19, 2020. Accessed July 30, 2021. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-history-and-innovation-of-the-gps-system-essay/
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Example Of History And Innovation Of The GPS System Essay. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-history-and-innovation-of-the-gps-system-essay/. Published Oct 19, 2020. Accessed July 30, 2021.
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