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Information technology, once used almost exclusively for research, government, and business, has now spilled over into all aspects of the lives or ordinary people. Computers are used to organize the schedule of a Rhinoplasty surgeon in Toronto. Cellular telephones are used to talk to friends. And GPS units, once the exclusive purview of military vehicles, are present in almost every car. This article will help you learn more about GPS.

GPS, which is an acronym for Global Positioning System, was developed by the United States Department of Defense in 1973 to replace older ground based navigation systems like LORAN (which is still used at the airport near your London real estate) and their first forays into satellite navigation, which were known as Transit and Timation. GPS was initially known as DNSS (Defense Navigation Satellite System), then later as Navstar. The name Navstar-GPS was then shortened to GPS. The system was originally designed to give accurate targeting and positioning data to Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, specifically ones launched at sea from mobile platforms.

Of course, something so staggeringly useful couldn't remain the exclusive purview of the military for long. In 1996 the technology was approved for civilian use, and soon people were able to locate their cottages for rent in PEI much more effectively by receiving navigational information by satellites. The first civilian GPS units were car mounted because they were so large, but they were quickly reduced in size so that handheld units became practical. By 2004, the company QUALCOMM had even managed to integrate GPS navigation into mobile phones.

GPS works by using a network of satellites in conjunction with a receiver. Satellites, placed in orbit in such a way that their network of signals are available across the globe, send out signals at set time intervals. Down on Earth, the receiver receives these signals, which contain the time the signal was sent and the satellite's location, and uses them to figure out how far you are from your Scarborough condos for sale. To get an accurate position, you need to have access to signals from four satellites, though three will do in a pinch.

These are several different types of GPS units you can buy. There are car mounted units, such as those sold by TomTom and OnStar, where GPS is integrated into a system of stored maps so that the unit can give you real-time directions to your North York real estate. Another type is the handheld unit. Some come loaded with maps, and others do not (you must set your own waypoints). These are designed for hiking. And finally there are GPS receivers in your phone so that the EMTs can find you if you call 911.

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