global positioning system

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Global Positioning System:

see navigation satellitenavigation satellite,
artificial satellite designed expressly to aid the navigation of sea and air traffic. Early navigation satellites, from the Transit series launched in 1960 to the U.S. navy's Navigation Satellite System, relied on the Doppler shift.
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global positioning system


A satellite-based coordinate positioning tool and navigation system that can rapidly and accurately determine the latitude, longitude, and altitude of a point on or above the Earth's surface. It is based on a constellation of 24 satellites orbiting the Earth at a very high altitude and uses a form of triangulation based on the known positions and distances of three satellites relative to the surface of the Earth. First developed by the US Department of Defense to provide the military with a state-of-the-art positioning system, GPS receivers are now small enough and economical enough to be used by the general public. In meteorology and climatology, GPS receivers are increasingly used, for example, in radiosondes, and have experimentally been used in the measurement of integrated (total column) precipitable water vapor.

Global Positioning System

[′glō·bəl pə′zish·niŋ ‚sis·təm]
A positioning or navigation system designed to use 24 satellites, each carrying atomic clocks, to provide a receiver anywhere on earth with extremely accurate measurements of its three-dimensional position, velocity, and time. Abbreviated GPS.

global positioning system (GPS)

A satellite-based radio-positioning, navigation, and time-transfer system operated by the U.S. Department of Defense. The space segment of the system consists of a constellation of twenty-four satellites in six orbits inclined at 55° to the equator. Twenty-one of these satellites are active while the others remain in standby mode. The system provides highly accurate position and velocity information and precise time, on a continuous global basis, to an unlimited number of properly equipped users. The system is unaffected by weather and provides a worldwide common grid reference system. The GPS concept is predicated upon accurate and continuous knowledge of the spatial position of each satellite in the system with respect to time and distance from a transmitting satellite to the user. The GPS receiver automatically selects appropriate signals from the satellites in view and translates these into a three-dimensional position, velocity, and time. The system accuracy for civil users is normally 300 ft (100 m) horizontally. The constellation of satellites for a similar system operated by the Russian Federation is called GLONASS. See global navigation satellite system.

Global Positioning System

(GPS) A system for determining postion on the Earth's surface by comparing radio signals from several satellites. When completed the system will consist of 24 satellites equipped with radio transmitters and atomic clocks.

Depending on your geographic location, the GPS receiver samples data from up to six satellites, it then calculates the time taken for each satellite signal to reach the GPS receiver, and from the difference in time of reception, determines your location.

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