Global Positioning System Research Module banner

Module Navigation:

1. Introduction

2. GPS Resources

3. GPS Quiz

4. GPS Crossword Puzzle

5. Presentation

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Glossary of Terms


The Global Positioning System (GPS)

What is the Global Positioning System (GPS)?

The Global Positioning System, or GPS, has grown from modest beginnings to a current position as a vital component of navigation, transportation and mapping throughout the world. 

Long ago, the stars, sun, a compass, a watch and sextant were used to determine your position.  Now, satellites and electronic equipment can do the job with less work and much greater accuracy.  GPS is a navigational system using satellite signals to fix the location of a receiver on or above the earth's surface.

As you move through this lesson you will find various links to web sites that contain information about GPS, how it works and how it is used in transportation.  It is your job to thoroughly investigate these web sites and collect information, by taking notes.  After you have searched these web pages and researched GPS you will take a quiz on this information.  A crossword puzzle is also included for testing your knowledge. Finally, you will create a presentation about what you have learned about GPS and transportation.
An optional unit on Topographic Mapping may be assigned.  In this module, you will learn about topographic maps and make a topographic map from GPS data. 

To continue the Research Module, move on to Step 2 – GPS Resources.

A photo of a bus with GPS.

The antenna on the roof of this bus receives GPS satellite signals. This helps the driver navigate, and the location of the bus is also sent by radio to the bus company's control center so the company knows exactly where its vehicle is at any time.

Navigation and vehicle tracking are two important applications of GPS technology.