GPS tracking has become common. The GPS unit in our car gets us from place to place, sometimes warning us of traffic backups along the way. Often, we don’t bother to think much about the history or varied uses of GPS.
Although GPS tracking technology is relatively new, it’s a rapidly adopted technology that many industries use in a variety of creative manners.
Random Facts About GPS
The Global Position System (GPS) was being developed as early as the 1950s. However, GPS was not declared operational until 1995. Though initially developed for U.S. military use, GPS was quickly adopted for civilian uses. Once the Department of Defense activated GPS in 1995, it has never been turned off for military purposes – not even during the terror attacks on 9/11/2001.
According to GPS.gov, civilian GPS systems are accurate within 8 meters 95% of the time. Military GPS tracking systems and civilian tracking systems are the same in space, but the military system uses two different frequencies to interpret the signals in the atmosphere. This allows the military GPS to be more accurate than civilian models.
Interesting Applications for GPS Tracking
Many occupations that formerly relied on low-tech or hands-on methods are adapting GPS technology in innovative ways. From surveyors to farmers, the use of GPS tracking leads to higher production and better outcomes. Here are a few of them, according to GPS.gov:
● Precision Agriculture. GPS tracking is helping farmers to map fields more accurately and track application of fertilizer and pesticides. Additionally, using GPS tracking allows farmers to work in low visibility conditions, such as fog and rain. The end result of this is better production and hopefully more profit for the farmer.
● Rail industry. Railroads are looking to implement a new system called Positive Train Control (PTC.) PTC will be able to automatically reroute trains, adjust train speed and at some point in time warn both cars and trains of collision dangers at track intersections.
● Disaster Relief. Emergency workers use GPS tracking in search and rescue operations in disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes or tsunamis. Mapping experts use GPS to create accurate maps of the disaster zones. Meteorologists track storms using GPS. Scientists are even finding ways to predict earthquakes using GPS.
● Recreational Uses. Fishing enthusiasts now use GPS to mark their favorite spot to fish on lakes. Golfers mark precise locations on the course to improve their game. Hikers and bicyclists use GPS tracking more traditionally to avoid getting lost while on a hike or ride.
Scientific Studies Using GPS Tracking
Scientists in many different fields use GPS tracking to enhance the accuracy of their studies. Science Daily, an online site dedicated to reporting new scientific information, has pages of studies using GPS tracking. Here are some of the more interesting ones:
● University of Alberta in Canada has used GPS tracking to determine that wolves are eating more cattle than in years past.
● In Montana, the Wildlife Conservation Society tagged Pronghorn with GPS collars then tracked them to follow the animal’s migration patterns. Interestingly, the collars are fitted with an automatic mechanism that will allow them to drop off after a specific period.
● Researchers at California Institute of Technology are using GPS tracking to learn more about the Earth’s interior make up. By measuring tiny movements of the Earth’s surface and changes in the tides, researchers can measure the density of the material making up the interior of the planet.
The versatility of GPS tracking makes it useful and popular with many. From the science community to farmers, people continue to find new and varied uses for GPS tracking technology.
This post made possible by guest blogger Peggy Crippen, a writer with varied interests, including GPS tracking and business.