Let’s Talk about GPS…

Joyce XR
2 min readJan 15, 2021

When we travel to a different city/country, hiking on a new trail, find the Starbucks store near us, or track the packages we bought on Amazon. GPS (Global Positioning System) is already in our daily lives with many applications we use. It makes our life much more convenient and much easier.

In the beginning, GPS was invented for the space program and military space research. [1] In the mid-1960s, the Navy launched a navigation system called Transit. [2] As time went on, scientists and engineers looking for something that could navigate accurately, within about 1 to 10 meters. In 1978, the U.S Air Force launched the first GPS satellite system, carried the name NAVSTAR, associated with “Navigation Satellite Timing and Ranging.”[3] In the 80s, the system opened up to the public to use, which had a civilian component that could be freely available. That was a huge step and revolution for later GPS applications in our daily lives. GPS has made a great impact on our society. There are devices with GPS that could help parents find and keep track of their children, the installed location device in our cars and phones to help mapping and directions. [4]

Over the last decade, scientists using GPS to track how the ground moves during big earthquakes. When flash floods and volcanic eruptions are coming, GPS could help build up quicker and more accurate warning systems for evacuation. GPS can even help scientists probe the snow, sense a sinking, and analyze the atmosphere. [5] GPS changed the way we live, furthermore, this technology can help us to make a difference to the blue planet we live on.


[1] https://www.zdnet.com/article/technology-that-changed-us-the-1970s/

[2] https://www.skyatnightmagazine.com/space-science/how-global-positioning-system-gps-changed-world/

[3] https://www.esri.com/about/newsroom/blog/reveal-how-global-positioning-changed-the-way-we-map-move-and-live/

[4] https://www.iconcox.com/blog/how-has-gps-changed-our-life.html

[5] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gps-is-doing-more-than-you-thought/