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How GPS Technology Went from Military Use to Worldwide Use

Updated: Oct 20, 2020


The Start

Earth is surrounded by more than 1,500 orbiting satellites, each of these man made satellites was sent in to space for a specific reason. Some provide your GPS with a network for location tracking, or just to see how our technology would hold up in space. Originally GPS tracking satellites were strictly used for military use only, they eventually entered the civilian market as one of the most beneficial pieces of technology to leave the military’s grasp.


It all started with a Korean passenger plane that was shot down by the Soviet Union after it mistakenly entered USSR prohibited airspace, President Ronald Reagan announced on September 16, 1983 that all GPS satellites under U.S control were now available for public use, to ensure that this tragic event would never happen again. However, there was a catch to the satellites becoming available to the public. The military would continue to own the satellites and would withhold exact precision data, which meant civilians could use GPS devices but the device’s accuracy was limited to an area of 100 meters.


Modern Day Use

By the turn of the century GPS technology had fully entered everyday life, and was starting to make appearances in now common household items such as cell phones and vehicle navigation systems. Bill Clinton passed a bill that prevented the military from limiting the accuracy of the location services to the public. Individuals and corporations quickly took advantage of the now extremely accurate GPS technology.


How This Technology Benefits Companies

GPS tracking technology can now be found in passenger planes, cars, cellphones, and in fleet tracking devices. With GPS equipment, fleet managers can accurately locate each vehicle in operation, track vehicle maintenance to prevent time consuming damage repairs, and inform customers of the exact location, and thus delivery time frame, of their products. Knowing the location of your vehicles and transported materials promotes driver and product safety, as well as limits theft and liability issues.


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