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 General GPS (Global Positing Satellites) Information
 

There are at 24 operational GPS satellites at all times. The satellites, operated by the U.S. Air Force, orbit with a period of 12 hours. Ground stations are used to precisely track each satellite's orbit.

The accuracy of a position determined with GPS depends on the type of receiver. Most hand-held GPS units have 10-20 meter accuracy. Other types of receivers use a method called Differential GPS (DGPS) to obtain much higher accuracy. DGPS requires an additional receiver fixed at a known location nearby. Observations made by the stationary receiver are used to correct positions recorded by the roving units, producing an accuracy greater than 1 meter.

When the system was created, timing errors were inserted into GPS transmissions to limit the accuracy of non-military GPS receivers to about 100 meters. This part of GPS operations, called Selective Availability, was eliminated in May 2000

Each GPS satellite transmits data that indicates its location and the current time. All GPS satellites synchronize operations so that these repeating signals are transmitted at the same instant. The signals, moving at the speed of light, arrive at a GPS receiver at slightly different times because some satellites are farther away than others. The distance to the GPS satellites can be determined by estimating the amount of time it takes for their signals to reach the receiver. When the receiver estimates the distance to at least four GPS satellites, it can calculate its position in three dimensions.

A GPS receiver "knows" the location of the satellites, because that information is included in satellite transmissions. By estimating how far away a satellite is, the receiver also "knows" it is located somewhere on the surface of an imaginary sphere centered at the satellite. It then determines the sizes of several spheres, one for each satellite. The receiver is located where these spheres intersect.

Global Positioning System satellites transmit signals to equipment on the ground. GPS receivers passively receive satellite signals; they do not transmit. GPS receivers require an unobstructed view of the sky, so they are used only outdoors and they often do not perform well within forested areas or near tall buildings. GPS operations depend on a very accurate time reference, which is provided by atomic clocks at the U.S. Naval Observatory. Each GPS satellite has atomic clocks on board.

 

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 Garmin StreetPilot c330

StreetPilot GPS Navigator

The StreetPilot c330 GPS navigator features a simple touchscreen interface, with automatic route calculation to any destination and turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions along the way. The c330 comes pre-loaded with MapSource City Select software, providing street-level detail and addresses.
 

Garmin Nuvi 660 Vehicle GPS Navigation System

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TomTom GO 910 Navigation System

 

USNO NAVSTAR Global Positioning System

 
 
 
 
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