By Joel Sim
GPS is a great piece of technology that the majority has already heard of. We all know that it automatically, almost magically, reports a users location to them. Many people who use them, however have no idea how they work or exactly what it is that they are doing. Some people may figure that it may simply keep track if its motion from its original position. Others guess that it operates on a compass and a system of maps, sort of like having your own personal pocket boy scout. Neither of those suppositions are correct. It is in a way simpler yet a lot more complicated at the same time. A unit, in its simplest form, just displays its world location in two digits. The world is cut up into a graph for mapping purposes. One of the digits represents the North and South axis and the other the East and West axis. When traced on a map the combination of the two numbers can tell a person exactly where on the globe they are located. The device does this through communication with satellites. Although the basic function is to simply collect the figures from satellites, most units include many more features than that.
Most systems are complex computers that do much more than the simple basics of communicating with items in orbit. Most are small computers with a number of features. The majority of models contain and track the maps automatically and share this information on a display. A user need not go through the trouble of tracking their position on a map, which is shown to them directly instead. Many models offer directions along with the maps and can show a user the best route to take on the maps that it displays. The best thing is that these units continue to get smaller.
Systems are now available in small portable units such as a GPS running watch. The best part of advancing technology is that even though they are conveniently small, they do not need to scrimp on any of the features. All of the power and utilities that are found in the larger models for cars and such are available in a very small device. So small, in fact that it can be conveniently strapped to your wrist. The convenience and safety of never being lost is something that everyone can take advantage of, no matter how it is that you get around.
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