Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) provide us with two essential pieces of information – position and time. The most well-known navigation satellite is GPS (Global Positioning System). Anything enabled with a GPS receiver can be used for navigation. The device uses data from the satellites to pinpoint its location. This is achieved by measuring the time taken for a satellite signal to reach your device and from this determining your distance from the satellite. Compared against your distance from other surrounding satellites, this is used to work out your global position.
HOW GLOBAL NAVIGATION SATELLITE SYSTEMS WORK
Navigation by satellite requires a minimum of four satellites. Due to their distribution around the globe, you will normally be in view of at least 21 at any one time.
GPS was created by the US Department of Defence and is maintained by the United States Government. It is freely accessible for anyone to use. The current system delivers accuracy to 10m. GPS III, the next generation of GPS, is currently in development. When fully operational, it will be accurate to around one meter.
Galileo is the European GNSS which is scheduled to provide early services from 2016. Once deployed, it will complement current systems, and the increased number of satellites will mean a more resilient, robust and reliable service worldwide.
HOW DOES GPS BENEFIT BUSINESS?
GPS is driving a whole new business sector based on geolocation services. Entrepreneurs are changing the way we search for property, using time rather than distance travelled, helping us connect with friends, find local services, track endangered species and even catch a cab.
GPS-enabled technology is getting smaller and cheaper, allowing it to be embedded into the devices we use every day. Once a device is GPS-enabled, it can provide a range of resilient and accurate global services and solutions.
WHAT’S THE FUTURE OF GPS?
GPS works outdoors, though its signal can be blocked by high buildings or landscape. By combining it with developing technologies such as low-powered Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, we may soon be able to accurately track items, no matter where they are.
GNSS APPLICATION EXAMPLE
With high fuel costs, monitoring and analysis of fuel consumption is key to assessing possible ways of reducing costs. The use of a cost-effective and non-disruptive technology is important to busy logistics and delivery firms.
The Satellite Solution
A telematics system, based on satellite navigation, was installed in fleet vehicles. This provided information on driving behaviour and vehicle performance, and helped dispatchers plan optimum routes accordingly.