The new GPS satellite network, precision up to 1cm

maggio 24, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Not everyone may be aware of it, but nowadays, the Global Positioning System network (or GPS, as the acronym goes) is one of the pillars that keep the world as it is, some sort of nervous system of our planet and of technology as a part of our everyday life.

The data transmitted over this network is used not only to find our way in a city we have never visited before, to define routes covered by ships or planes or to carry out military operations marking a sensitive target, which will later be brought down by high precision satellite-guided rockets, but also, for example, to regulate bank transactions and the New York Stock Exchange market.

In fact, the time at Wall Street (as well as in many ATM networks) is marked by an atomic clock, in order to ensure absolute precision in moving huge sums of money. And this atomic clock is managed, you guess it, by the GPS network, which guarantees the required precision, up to one millionth of a second.

From now on, this extremely precise system will become even more precise, providing for a total and absolute coverage of each centimeter of our planet. In fact, the United States, who own the GPS network, have just launched the first of 24 satellites which, one by one, will replace those which are already in geostationary orbit and that allow us to find our way home with a precision level up to a few meters.

This upgrading phase of the satellite network will give new generation navigation systems an accuracy up to only one centimeter, as already said. Basically, any object on the face of our planet will potentially be recognizable by the new GPS system.

Nowadays, by using the right GPS location system, it is already possible not only to obtain driving directions and road information, but also to track down Alzheimer patients who may lose the sense of orientation and inadvertently get lost, keep track of the location of your staff to make sure that they carry out their duties or that they follow a certain route, or to locate cattle which may get lost or end up in trouble.

GPS systems are also used in the military field and for satellite monitoring operations, in order to keep under control convicted criminals released on parole or under a strict surveillance. Thanks to the new version, their whereabouts can literally be tracked down to the inch, allowing detectives and law enforcement agencies to achieve perfect results during their surveillance ops.

Of course, the possibility that a satellite can track down our every movement with such a precision might alert not only those who have something to hide, but also the common man, who might see his privacy given away to an almost almighty “Big Brother” (no, it’s not the TV show we are talking about!) which can influence his life thanks to GPS data.

For example, on a theoretical basis, a service provider might track down movements and locations from your GPS-equipped mobile phone, analyzing the time you spend inside a shop when you visit it, in order to identify your taste and send you tailored advertising messages on your phone.

This is just an idea, but Big Brother is already here, all we can do is defend ourselves by using it to our convenience whenever possible, and our lives may only benefit from this!


maggio: 2010
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