In our earlier article we shared information about what is Global Positioning System (GPS). This article is in continuation of the previous article highlighting about its application in various sector.
In addition to longitude, latitude, and altitude, the Global Positioning System (GPS) provides a critical fourth dimension – time. Each GPS satellite contains multiple atomic clocks that contribute very precise time data to the GPS signals. GPS receivers decode these signals, effectively synchronizing each receiver to the atomic clocks. This enables users to determine the time to within 100 billionths Companies worldwide use GPS to time-stamp business transactions, providing a consistent and accurate way to maintain records and ensure their traceability. Major investment banks use GPS to synchronize their network computers located around the world. Large and small businesses are turning to automated systems that can track, update, and manage multiple transactions made by a global network of customers of a second, without the cost of owning and operating atomic clocks.
Roads and highway :
It is estimated that delays from congestion on highways, streets, and transit systems throughout the world result in productivity losses in the hundreds of billions of dollars annually.
The availability and accuracy of the Global Positioning System (GPS) offers increased efficiencies and safety for vehicles using highways, streets, and mass transit systems. Many of the problems associated with the routing and dispatch of commercial vehicles is significantly reduced or eliminated with the help of GPS.
GPS enables automatic vehicle location and in-vehicle navigation systems that are widely used throughout the world today. Using GPS technology to help track and forecast the movement of freight has made a logistical revolution, including an application known as time-definite delivery.
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is revolutionizing and revitalizing the way nations operate in space, from guidance systems for crewed vehicles to the management, tracking, and control of communication satellite constellations, to monitoring the Earth from space. Benefits of using GPS include:
Navigation solutions -- providing high precision orbit determination, and minimum ground control crews, with existing space-qualified GPS units.
Attitude solutions -- replacing high cost on-board attitude sensors with low-cost multiple GPS antennae and specialized algorithms.
Timing solutions -- replacing expensive spacecraft atomic clocks with low-cost, precise time GPS receivers.
Constellation control -- providing single point-of-contact to control for the orbit maintenance of large numbers of space vehicles such as telecommunication satellites.
Formation flying -- allowing precision satellite formations with minimal intervention from ground crews.
Virtual platforms -- providing automatic "station-keeping" and relative position services for advanced science tracking maneuvers such as interferometry.
Launch vehicle tracking -- replacing or augmenting tracking radars with higher precision, lower-cost GPS units for range safety and autonomous flight termination.
Aviators throughout the world use the Global Positioning System (GPS) to increase the safety and efficiency of flight. With its accurate, continuous, and global capabilities, GPS offers seamless satellite navigation services that satisfy many of the requirements for aviation users. Space-based position and navigation enables three-dimensional position determination for all phases of flight from departure, en route, and arrival, to airport surface navigation.
GPS-based applications in precision farming are being used for farm planning, field mapping, soil sampling, tractor guidance, crop scouting, variable rate applications, and yield mapping. GPS allows farmers to work during low visibility field conditions such as rain, dust, fog, and darkness.
Precision agriculture is now changing the way farmers and agribusinesses view the land from which they reap their profits. Precision agriculture is about collecting timely geospatial information on soil-plant-animal requirements and prescribing and applying site-specific treatments to increase agricultural production and protect the environment. Precision agriculture is gaining in popularity largely due to the introduction of high technology tools into the agricultural community that are more accurate, cost effective, and user friendly.
Many believe that the benefits of precision agriculture can only be realized on large farms with huge capital investments. Such is not the case, through the use of GPS, GIS, and remote sensing; information needed for improving land and water use can be collected. Farmers can achieve additional benefits by combining better utilization of fertilizers and other soil amendments, determining the economic threshold for treating pest and weed infestations, and protecting the natural resources for future use.
Today, many farmers use GPS-derived products to enhance operations in their farming businesses. Location information is collected by GPS receivers for mapping field boundaries, roads, irrigation systems, and problem areas in crops such as weeds or disease.
GPS provides the fastest and most accurate method for mariners to navigate, measure speed, and determine location. This enables increased levels of safety and efficiency for mariners worldwide. It is important in marine navigation for the ship's officer to know the vessel's position while in open sea and also in congested harbors and waterways. While at sea, accurate position, speed, and heading are needed to ensure the vessel reaches its destination in the safest, most economical and timely fashion that conditions will permit.
The need for accurate position information becomes even more critical as the vessel departs from or arrives in port. Vessel traffic and other waterway hazards make maneuvering more difficult, and the risk of accidents becomes greater.
Mariners and oceanographers are increasingly using GPS data for underwater surveying, buoy placement, and navigational hazard location and mapping. Commercial fishing fleets use GPS to navigate to optimum fishing locations, track fish migrations, and ensure compliance with regulations.
Rail systems in many parts of the world use the Global Positioning System (GPS) in combination with various sensors, computers, and communication systems to improve safety, security, and operational effectiveness.
GPS contributes to dependable scheduling through train location awareness, enhancing connectivity with other modes of transportation, such as rail station to airport transfers
An enhancement to the basic GPS signal known as Differential GPS (DGPS) improves accuracy and safety within its coverage areas.
GPS receivers have also broadened the scope and enjoyment of outdoor activities by simplifying many of the traditional problems, such as staying on the “correct trail” or returning to the best fishing spot.
Outdoor exploration carries with it many intrinsic dangers, one of the most important of which is the potential for getting lost in unfamiliar or unsafe territory. Hikers, bicyclists, and outdoor adventurers are increasingly relying on GPS instead of traditional paper maps, compasses, or landmarks. Paper maps are often outdated, and compasses and landmarks may not provide the precise location information necessary to avoid venturing into unfamiliar areas.
One of the benefits is the ability to record and return to waypoints. Similarly, fishermen typically use GPS signals as a means to continually stay apprised of location, heading, bearing, speed, distance-to-go, time-to-go, chart plotting functions, and most importantly, returning to a location where the fish are plentiful.
An advantage in newer GPS receivers is the capability to transfer data to and from a computer. Outdoor enthusiasts can download waypoints from an exciting adventure and share them. An example of this is a web site based in Malaysia dedicated to GPS for mountain biking enthusiasts. Riders post waypoint files marking their favorite rides allowing other riders to try out the trails.
Golfers use GPS to measure precise distances within the course and improve their game. Other applications include skiing, as well as recreational aviation and boating.
Surveying & Mapping :
GPS provides accurate three-dimensional positioning information for natural and artificial features that can be displayed on maps and models of everything in the world - mountains, rivers, forests, endangered animals, precious minerals and many other resources. GPS position information for these features serves as a prime input to geographic information systems (GIS), that assemble, store, manipulate, and display geographically referenced information.
GPS has played a vital role in relief efforts for global disasters such as the tsunami that struck in the Indian Ocean region in 2004, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita that wreaked havoc in the Gulf of Mexico in 2005, and the Pakistan-India earthquake in 2005. Search and rescue teams used GPS position information to create maps of the disaster areas for rescue and aid operations, as well as to help assess damage.
Public Safety & Disaster Relief :
Important area of disaster relief is in the management of wildfires. To contain and manage forest fires, aircraft combine GPS with infrared scanners to identify fire boundaries and “hot spots.” Within minutes, fire maps are transmitted to a portable field computer at the firefighters’ camp. Armed with this information, firefighters have a greater chance of winning the battle against the blaze.
Throughout the world, government agencies, scientific organizations, and commercial operations are using the surveys and maps deriving from GPS and GIS for timely decision-making and wiser use of resources. Any organization or agency that requires accurate location information can benefit from the efficiency and productivity provided by the positioning capability of GPS.
Aerial studies of some of the world’s most impenetrable wilderness are conducted with the aid of GPS technology to evaluate an area’s wildlife, terrain, and human infrastructure. By tagging imagery with GPS coordinates it is possible to evaluate conservation efforts and assist in strategy planning.
Some nations collect and use mapping information to manage their regulatory programs such as the control of royalties from mining operations, delineation of borders, and the management of logging in their forests.
By integrating GPS measurements into operational methods used by meteorologists, the atmosphere’s water content can be determined, improving the accuracy of weather forecasts. In earthquake prone areas such as the Pacific Rim, GPS is playing an increasingly prominent role in helping scientists to anticipate earthquakes. Another benefit to using GPS is timeliness with which critical products can be generated.