Getting Grounded in Geocaching
Great Ideas In and Out of the Classroom
What Is GPS?

Living in a Cloud (Of Satellites)


     GPS means Global Positioning System, and involves a constellation of 24 permanent satellites constantly circling the earth as they send

GPS Satelite System Around the Earth# of Satellites above a Sample GPS (BLUE)

signals to the earth that can be read by a GPS unit.  Because there are always at least 3 satellites above the unit (usually 6-12), the GPS can triangulate it’s position on the face of the earth.


     The GPS can thus give us vital information about key geographical data, including:  1.) Where you are on the earth,  2.) The distance you have traveled,  3.) The path you have taken, that can be retraced,  4.) The time it has taken,  5.) Your speed,  6.) Your altitude and 7.) The time you will arrive at your destination, to name the main things.




     Uses are many and varied.  The military has used GPS in equipment, weapons and on personnel.  Today GPS units are installed on cars, heavy equipment, tractors, boats, planes and everything else that would benefit from knowing its position on the earth.  Map making has entered the age of high technology with GPS tracking.  But for ourselves, our families, our students and anyone who ventures

A GPS Satellite

out in the field where the leaves are not too thick overhead, handheld GPS units allow us to navigate and explore the world like no other generation has been able to.  GPS is truly a modern wonder!