Global Positioning System by Niran Kanagaraja

Origins and History

GPS was originally developed in the 1960s for military and intelligence purposes ("History of GPS - Mio Technology"). The idea to put a network of satellites into space came from the launch of Sputnik in 1957 ("History of GPS - Mio Technology"). By 1967, it was found that highly accurate atomic clocks, important to the function of GPS, could operate in space, and by 1978 more satellites were going up ("History of GPS - Mio Technology"). In 1983, the Reagen Administration opened up the GPS to civilian use so that airport, transport, and shipping could stabilize their routes ("History of GPS - Mio Technology"). By 1993, Navstar completed their goal to have 24 positioning satellites in space, and by 1995 they were deemed fully operational, setting the stage for modern GPS usage today ("History of GPS - Mio Technology").

Satellites guiding Earth's transportation from space.

Novel Usage

GPS can be more human-centric, rather than geographically-centric, and be used to bring people together on a social level, make it easier to read population behaviors, and make criminal prosecutions easier.

As we become more accepting to globalization and digitalization, we may become more open to invasive usages of GPS. In the right hands and with the right intentions, embedding people with GPS chips can be beneficial for a variety of things. For one, GPS on an individual level can provide the most accurate census information. They can communicate with beacons for goods and services around the person. They can be used for traffic analysis in the cities, to provide accurate readings for timeliness purposes. The most beneficial use is for finding people that go missing. They can also be used for alibis and seeing who was in an area during a crime. In terms of social media, the embedded-system can interact with our phones or something like Google Glass, and be used to bring people together by broadcasting our mutual interests and our social-availability. Of course these social features would have to be opt-in, and other features would have restricted access, such as those used for criminal cases.

There are thousands of thoughts around us every day. We're bound to like some and never even realize it. A social media GPS could make it easier to connect to the strangers around us easier than ever.

Current Usage

Currently, the most popular usage for GPS is map-production and navigation, like an ambulance finding the best route to a car accident ("Applications of GPS - Mio Technology"). However, according to, GPS can also be used for fun activities like geocaching, where people hunt for modern "treasures," or it can be used for scientific purposes, like monitoring geological activity such as earth tremors, earthquakes, and volcanic rumblings ("Applications of GPS - Mio Technology"). It also has potential uses for monitoring climate change ("Applications of GPS - Mio Technology").

The Waze App uses GPS data to provide the best possible route to the user's destination while also including data that may affect that route.


Currently, GPS technologically addresses geographical and location-based concerns ("Applications of GPS - Mio Technology"). There is a heavy use for transportation, navigation, and scientific applications ("Applications of GPS - Mio Technology"). However, the world is looking to get closer as evidenced by the increasing globalization and usage of social media. GPS is being employed in these situations, but we can take it a step further only when ethical parameters change as well. The only question is whether the potential social, legal, and civic benefits outweigh the privacy costs.


Applications of GPS - Mio Technology. (n.d.). Retrieved December 12, 2016, from

History of GPS - Mio Technology. (n.d.). Retrieved December 12, 2016, from

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