The GPS applications are wide and varied. They are used from guiding commercial planes and military missiles to helping civilians find their destinations. Some of the important GPS applications are:
1. Military Applications: The Global Positioning System was developed primarily for military use because it enables far-flung military units to know each other’s position with pinpoint accuracy. It helps to spot Target or Cruise missiles accurately especially the submarine launched nuclear missiles. The satellites that form a part of the GPS also carry nuclear detonation detectors and make important contributions to the United States Nuclear Detonation Detection System.
2. Navigation: People across the world use GPS as a navigational aid, both for surface transport as well as air traffic. Mountaineers and hikers use this system to stay better connected and decrease chances of getting lost in wilderness. Glider pilots use them to verify their turn points and many people use low-cost GPA handsets in combination with PDA, car computers or vehicle tracking system. 3. Surveying: GPS plays an important part in land development. It helps to locate boundaries, structures, and survey markers, and provides an accurate topography of the land.
4. GPS for the visually impaired: The GPS is used to help the visually impaired too. Some of the programs that are currently being used for this purpose are: MoBIC, Drishti, Brunel Navigation System for the Blind, NOPPA, BrailleNote GPS, and Trekker.
5. Geocaching: Functionality is not the only facet of GPS. There is now a popular recreational activity called geocaching, which involves using a handheld GPS device to reach a specific latitude and longitude and look for objects hidden there by other geocachers. Most people either hike or walk to the location, increasing the fun aspect of the activity.
6. GPS on airplanes: Planes use GPS to track their flight paths. Most even allow passengers to carry ordinary GPS handsets so that they can track the flight path themselves. In fact some airlines also integrate their GPS systems with the seat back TVs on their flight so that the passengers can keep track of their location at any point of time. Some airlines, however, do not let the handsets aboard their flight because they do not want ordinary passengers to track the flight route.
7. GPS and time: Besides providing accurate location, GPS also provides an extremely precise time reference for the likes of time code generators or NTP clocks. When deploying sensors for any sort of monitoring application, GPS is usually used to provide each recording apparatus with a precise time source, so that the time of events may be recorded accurately.