|Equipment Class: Fishing technology||Equipment Type: Wheelhouse|
|Global Positioning System (GPS) consists of 24 Earth-orbiting satellites. These satellites allow any person who owns a GPS receiver to determine his or her precise longitude, latitude and altitude anywhere on the planet.|
|GPS has 3 parts: the space segment, the user segment, and the control segment. The space segment consists of 24 satellites, each in its own orbit 11 000 nautical miles above the Earth. The user segment consists of receivers, which can be hold in the user's hand or mount in a vessel. The control segment consists of ground stations (five of them, located around the world) that make sure the satellites are working properly. |
One trip around the Earth in space equals one orbit. The GPS satellites each take 12 hours to orbit the Earth. Each satellite is equipped with an accurate clock to let it broadcast signals coupled with a precise time message. The ground unit receives the satellite signal, which travels at the speed of light. Even at this speed, the signal takes a measurable amount of time to reach the receiver. The difference between the time the signal is sent and the time it is received, multiplied by the speed of light, enables the receiver to calculate the distance to the satellite. To measure precise latitude, longitude, and altitude, the receiver measures the time it took for the signals from four separate satellites to get to the receiver.
The GPS system can tell to the user his location anywhere on or above the Earth to within about 300 feet. Even greater accuracy, usually within less than three feet, can be obtained with corrections calculated by a GPS receiver at a known fixed location.
More than 100 different receiver models are already in use. The typical hand-held receiver is about the size of a cellular telephone, and the newer models are even smaller.