How GPS (Global Positioning System) system works?

GPS System:

GPS System
Global Positioning System

GPS stands for Global Positioning System. GPS mainly NAVSTAR GPS is a satellite-based radio positioning system also known as the radio navigation system. GPS owned by the US Government and maintained and operated by the United States Space Force. There are a total of 33 GPS satellites in orbit 32 in orbit height of 20,180 km. The first GPS satellite was launched in February 1978 which is 42 years ago. 


Since 1993, 24 GPS satellites are operational for Global Positioning System. 

Navigation satellites - How GPS works?

Total 24 NAVSTAR GPS satellites covering the entire earth from low orbit. There are at least 3 or 4 satellites visible from anywhere on the earth at the same time, and it's enough to calculate the location of any GPS-enabled device. 

Navigation satellites - How GPS works?
GPS system


There are six basic steps behind GPS system:

  1. GPS works using the "triangulation" or "trilateration" method. 
  2. The system needs to get a signal at least 3 satellite to locate a device. 4 satellite is good for more accurate location tracking.
  3. After a successful connection, the receiver calculates the distance between the satellite. It measures the distance by calculating how much time it took to receive a message from the satellite. The formula is simple. (distance = time of arrival * speed of light).
  4. To measure message arrival time, satellites use the atomic clock on board in each satellite to ensure an accurate time. 
  5. GPS receiver also needs to know the distance between each satellite and where there satellite in space.
  6. As, the receiver knows the distance and the position of 3 or 4 satellites, using some mathematical calculation, it can measure where the ground device is located. 

The GPS receiver needs to connect at least 3-4 devices 

Arduino Based NEO-6M GPS module:

NEO-6M is Arduino based GPS receiver with a built-in antenna that is made out of ceramics. The performance of NEO-6M is good and the accuracy is also high depending on the satellite connectivity and availability. This is high quality, cost-effective, high-performance, and a very popular GPS device for developers. 

NEO-6M GPS module
NEO-6M GPS module

Watch a video on "How does the GPS system work? How to connect neo 6m with Arduino? Why no signal in the GPS Module?"

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