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How GPS Works

Triangulation Measuring distance from a satellite Getting perfect timing Knowing where a satellite is in space Correcting errors

 

 

Here's how GPS works in five logical steps:

  1. The basis of GPS is "triangulation" from satellites.
  2. To "triangulate," a GPS receiver measures distance using the travel time of radio signals.
  3. To measure travel time, GPS needs very accurate timing which it achieves with some tricks.
  4. Along with distance, you need to know exactly where the satellites are in space. High orbits and careful monitoring are the secret.
  5. Finally you must correct for any delays the signal experiences as it travels through the atmosphere.

We'll explain each of these points in the next five sections of the tutorial. We recommend you follow the tutorial in order. Remember, science is a step-by-step discipline!

On to the Next Section

 

 

 

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