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February 14, 2011 AT 7:06 pm

Feb. 14, 1989: GPS Enters Orbit

Gps

Feb. 14, 1989: GPS Enters Orbit | This Day In Tech | Wired.com

The first of 24 satellites that will make up the global positioning system is put into orbit.

GPS revolutionized navigation, both at sea and on land, by providing position reports with unprecedented, pinpoint accuracy. Each satellite is placed in a specific orbit at a specific altitude to ensure that four or five satellites are always within range from any point on the planet. A GPS receiver picks up signals from the satellites and trilaterates the data to fix the position.

This satellite system is so valuable — besides navigation, GPS has applications in mapmaking, land-surveying and the accurate telling of time — that even though it was developed and is maintained by the U.S. Department of Defense, it’s been available since 1993 without charge to anyone, anywhere on Earth.

Although GPS has eliminated the need for determining a ship’s position by shooting the sun or stars, no sailor worthy of the name would put to sea, even now, without the ability to use a sextant. Electronic navigation devices fail, and even GPS isn’t immune to the odd glitch, and the open ocean is a lonely place to be if you don’t know where you are.


Gpsshield Med

GPS shield for Arduino kit with data-logging capability. After building this easy kit, you can create your own geo-locative project.

This shield is designed to make GPS projects straight-forward and easy. Plug in a supported GPS module and run any of the example Arduino sketches for parsing GPS data (NMEA sentences), logging to a FAT16-formatted SD flash memory card and storing analog sensor data along with precise location, date and time in CSV format.

The shield is designed specifically for use with the EM-406a module: the small surface-mount GPS connector is pre-soldered for you. (It is a high-quality engine with quick time-to-fix and excellent reception, even in downtown New York City!) It can also be used with a Tyco A1035D, EB-85A or Lassen IQ module (see the webpage for more details).

GPS module, Arduino, and SD memory card are not included. Please check the parts list to see what is included. Please note that the library is rather bulky, requiring 12K of flash and more than 1/2 K of RAM for buffering SD card memory blocks. The examples work fine on ATmega168-based Arduino (or compatible) but for more complex projects I strongly recommend upgrading to an ATmega328!

Run-time is approximately 3 hours with a 9V battery and up to 12 hours using a MintyBoost, assuming no power-saving features are enabled.


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1 Comment

  1. The FCC has made a decision that could affect GPS users throughout the United States.

    Here’s the most detailed story about I’ve seen:

    http://freegeographytools.com/2011/how-the-fcc-plans-to-destroy-gps-a-simple-explanation

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