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GPS Tracking Systems –More than a Gadget

With GPS tracking systems popping up on dashboards and cell phones across America, many probably don't realize that GPS tracking devices are more than fancy little gadgets that can keep you from making a wrong turn on a weekend road trip.  Originally developed by the Department of Defense, with the official name of NAVSTAR GPS, the GPS tracking systems we use today rely on a sophisticated satellite system maintained by the United States government.

With a network of more than 24 global positioning satellites launched into space, the power behind any GPS tracking device or GPS tracking system costs the government around 750 million dollars a year to maintain.  In 1983, President Ronald Reagan authorized the use of the satellite network through GPS tracking systems for non-government use after Korean Airlines flight 007 was shot down, which led to the development of the personal use GPS tracking device.

The successful operation of GPS tracking systems today relies on three important components, also known as segments.  These include:  the space component, the control component and the user component.

The space component is, quite simply, the GPS tracking system satellites orbiting in space more than 12,000 miles above the earth.  Without these satellites in the equation, it would be impossible to operate a GPS tracking systems or GPS tracking devices.

The control component refers to the constant monitoring and adjusting of the constellation of GPS satellites which are orbiting in space.  In order for GPS tracking devices and GPS tracking systems to work reliably, the satellites in space must be programmed with the correct time, down to the nanosecond.

The user component of the global positioning systems is the GPS tracking devices so many people are familiar with.  From your Blackberry wireless device to the navigation system in your car, these all make up part of the user component of GPS tracking systems and GPS tracking devices.  GPS tracking systems are often described by the number of channels they have which refers to the number of GPS tracking satellites they can pick up at one time.

Today, GPS tracking devices and GPS tracking systems are used to aid in shipping and receiving, business and asset management, and stolen vehicle recovery operations.  Once only accessible for large corporations, affordability in technology has made GPS tracking systems and devices affordable for even personal use.

GPS tracking systems are used by the United States military to aid in missions performed after dark, to track assets such as planes and vehicles.  In addition, GPS tracking systems aid the military in quickly finding downed pilots.