Mentor

Jan Sojka

Document Type

Report

Publication Date

4-25-2017

Abstract

This research study explores the Global Positioning System (GPS), its history, and the process of discovery needed to create the most accurate GPS possible, as well as the contemporary applications of GPS technology. Starting with the first satellite in space, GPS has been a work in progress. Originally pursued by the military for improvements to military tactics, GPS has become integrated into the everyday lives of millions of people around the world. How GPS determines location is a dichotomy, with simplistic theory and complex application. Many factors go into GPS to provide a consistent, accurate location. The orbital planes the satellites are placed in provide 24/7 coverage globally, the L-band frequencies used were chosen specifically for the characteristics they possess, and the multiple atomic clocks installed on each satellite provide incredible accuracy down to the nanoseconds, which is quintessential in GPS accuracy. The applications in GPS are far reaching and more applications are continually being discovered. With as far as GPS technology has progressed, there are still several factors that degrade the signal and are a challenge to overcome. Many of these challenges can be corrected efficiently, however, others, such as scintillation and total electron content variability in the ionosphere, create major hurdles to overcome. Luckily, there are many programs that aid in the correction process of these hurdles.

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Physics Commons

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