GPS Systems Online
The GPS receiver locks on to the coordinates of the Dash through Deli and calculates your ETA to the millisecond. The automatic driving feature kicks in and the boosters on your BMW 926.i ignite sending sparks into the air. The car surges forward as you kick back and pop a DVD into the on board entertainment system. Next stop - lunch!
While the above scenario may sound like something out of a science fiction feature film, the days when vehicles are able to navigate themselves to programmed destinations may be closer than we think. The development of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology has led to a new era in navigation. Traveling the globe has never been simpler or faster as pilots, yachtsmen, drivers and even cyclists turn to GPS to lead them safely from one destination to another.
GPS was originally a military initiative that was developed to improve the accuracy of military ammunition during times of conflict. The tragic destruction of passenger flight KAL 007 in 1983 led to the Reagan administration opening up GPS technology for civilian use. While GPS systems initially made their mark on the water and in the air, they soon found their way into the hands of the technologically minded and directionally challenged all around the world.
Today the uses of GPS systems extend far and wide. Specialized marine GPS systems are designed to lead boats safely across the oceans and help fisherman locate plentiful fishing grounds. Avionic units are used high above the clouds to help pilots fly across the great, blue yonder, while on the ground auto systems aid drivers in navigating quickly and effortlessly from one destination to another. Handheld GPS devices and GPS watches are popular with athletes and outdoor enthusiasts and GPS tracking systems can be used to trace emergency calls to within three meters of where they were made.
Day to day navigation aside, GPS units also have more complex and widespread uses. GPS chips are used in medical circles to monitor the whereabouts of the elderly and patients with memory disorders. Voice automated GPS units enable blind people to find their way safely around town, while advanced GPS systems provide scientists and archaeologists with detailed topographical information about the earth's crust. GPS phones allow employers to keep tabs on their staff, while GPS chips transmit the position of prisoners on parole to officers around the clock.
GPS developments envisaged for the future include electronic luggage tags, GPS virtual child minders and geographic positional games that blur the line between reality and virtual gaming even further. The days when you program your car to drive you to a destination and your shopping cart to seek out items on your grocery list may be just around the corner. Back to the future - here we come!