Thanks to the modern cell phones and car security systems, almost all of us have heard of a GPS system. For those who missed the bus, GPS is an acronym of Global Positioning System. But not many amongst us are aware of the fact that the device that we all call as a GPS is actually a GPS receiver.
What is a GPS receiver?
- A GPS receiver is nothing but an electronic device which is capable of receiving the signals sent across to it by a group of 24 satellites, which are constantly orbiting or moving around the Earth.
- These satellites are the main components of the Global Positioning system.
- In addition to the 24 satellites, 3 more satellites are also provided as back up, so that there is no loss of signal even if any one of the 24 fails to work.
How does a GPS receiver work?
- A GPS receiver works as a receptacle for the signals sent across to it by a GPS.
- The weight of each of the 24 satellites of the GPS is huge and somewhere around 3500- 4000 pounds.
- These satellites are designed in such a way so as to complete 2 complete rotations around the globe in every 24 hours.
- They are set up in such a way that at any given time, you will be sure to find at least 4 satellites out of the total 27, in the sky.
- The GPS receiver simply uses the signals sent to it by at least 4 different satellites and then calculates the distance between them by a mathematical process called as Trilateration, and finally displays its own location.
What is the utility of a GPS receiver?
- The major utility of a GPS receiver is to locate the position of an object, a person, a vehicle or a flight, which may be either stagnant or moving.
- This means that a GPS receiver will help you to find your way if you get lost, or even help you find your lost cell phone or your vehicle that was stolen.
- The GPS receivers are used extensively in the military and aviation industries, and also used commercially to keep track on the position and speed of the vehicles, in charting maps etc.
What are the different types of GPS receivers?
- GPS receivers are of 2 main types, hand held ones and the portable ones, although they're both pretty portable.
- The hand held ones are the most useful ones when you plan to go on foot in some unfamiliar locations, for example while hiking, trekking or camping.
- The portable ones are the ones which are usually attached to the vehicles and can be fixed to the side of the dashboard or in a specific place built for the receiver to fit in.
What should you consider when buying a GPS receiver?
The first thing to do is to compare all the GPS receivers in the market, and choose only the best one which perfectly suits your individual requirement. If you are a trekker or an adventure loving person, buying the very smallest hand held type of GPS receiver would be best for you. If you love taking your car where ever you go, a portable GPS receiver would do the trick.
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