How Do GPS Receivers Work?
Back in time, our ancestors had to employ extreme measures in order to ensure they don’t get lost while on the move. They did a lot of things, such as installing monumental landmarks, drafting detailed maps and learning to read the stars at night.
Nowadays, on the other hand, things are a lot easier. For instance, you can invest in a small gadget to find out your location on Earth whenever you want to. And the great thing is that the device won’t cost you an arm and a leg. A good device can cost you less than $100. As long as you have access to a good GPS receiver and the sky is clear, you will never get lost.
So, how do these devices pull off these tricks?
The Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites are expensive. These device feature technical ingenuity; however, the basic concepts are way simple and intuitive.
When it comes to “GPS”, most people think of a GPS receiver. But the Global Positioning System refers to 24 earth-orbiting satellites. In actual, there are a total of 27 satellites, but only 24 of them work at a time, and three are extras that are on standby to replace a satellite when it fails.
The GPS was originally made for the US military, but soon it was made available for common users as well.
Each satellite weighs around 4,000 pounds and circles the Earth at a speed of 12,000 miles, thus making two circles in 24 hours. At any point in time, there is a minimum of 4 satellites in the sky that can be “visible”.
The role of a GPS receiver is to connect to at least 4 of the satellites. Once connected, you can find your location on Earth as well as your altitude, which is great if you are in the mountains or a forest and don’t know your exact location.