GPS: From Launch to Everyday Life

GPS is becoming an important element of our daily life. People use it to get to their final destination as it replaces the paper maps that drivers used to rely on. It is also used in many life areas. Sometimes, it can end up with unknown results.

It was designed for military use and the President Ronlad Regan decided to make it available for civilians. The first Block II satellite was launched in February 1989.

After that time GPS use has dramatically changed in a way that nobody had predicted it.

  • You have reached your destination

Moving from one country to another needed a very big map or a collection of small ones. However, the GPS made it an easy task especially when the US government allowed satellite signals for civilians. Then the boom in GPS navigation devices for cars started.

“Take the next left” and “in 200 yards you have reached your destination” became familiar sounds heard in cars.

In most cases, GPS signals are accurate but sometimes drivers reach unpredictable destinations. In 2009 Robert Jones was miss leaded by his satnav GPS in Yorkshire and found himself in a cliff.

In Australia in 2012, Three Japanese found themselves floating rather than driving as their GPS tried to send them via water to reach an island.

In big cities now people use the built in GPS or Apps of their smart phone to reach their desirable destinations.

The inventor of the GPS Professor Brad Parkinson revealed to BBC that although he is the creator of this technology but prefers to use the paper maps. “Most people don’t pull out maps anymore, they pull out smart phones, and then tend to blame GPS if the directions are wrong,” said Parkinson. ‘Here kitty-kitty’

GPS is also used in understanding the movements and behaviors of different groups of Animals.
It was attached to sheep to prove that theory that it can get to the centre of a flock if threatened by a predator. It was used as well in Northumberland to see how cattle grazed in their local area.

GPS was implanted in injured hedgehogs after they are released to give a chance to experts in order to study how they survived after the injury.

The Royal Veterinary College teamed up with the BBC’s Horizon programme in order to reveal the secret life of cats. They found that when households think their cats are roaming in the garden, in fact cats were trying to get food from the other cat owners’ houses.

  • Where have you been?

Parents who are scared about their kids now can use GPS to see where they are heading to. They can use tags attached to clothes or their school bags. These tags locations can be accessed through out special mobile Apps to watch their movements.

Husbands and wives having doubts or worrying about each other can use the GPS to monitor their movements.

A husband in New York caught his wife cheating as she claimed to be on a place which is different than the one revealed by her smart phone’s GPS.

“Are there serious infringements of privacy?” asked Professor Parkinson.

“I’m certain there are lots of instances where a husband is tracking a spouse that end up at the threshold of ‘maybe that’s a little too much’ but wanting to know where a child is? That’s a legitimate tracking application in my opinion,” he said.

  • The perfect shot

Golf players find it too difficult to find the ball in grass. However, balls which contain small GPS chips and which are monitored by satellites have reduces the head pains of looking for the ball.

Well known football clubs such as Manchester City and Liverpool are using GPS during training sessions to monitor players’ speed, distance covered and heart rate.

  • Bullets in the boot

In some US states, Police use the GPS to easily catch criminals.

Chasing a criminal who escaped with a fast car is always dangerous. Now police press on a button inside their car and a bullet is attached to the car in front without the awareness of the driver. Later the job of the police is only to wait patiently and just wait where the GPS bullet can take them.

A. El Hani
Source: BBC


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