The Many Interesting and Unexpected Ways Scientists Use GPS

GPS is not just for your car or phone.
Loukia Papadopoulos

You know you can use the global positioning system (GPS) to find your way around your city but did you know it is also used to help predict how bad a tsunami can be, to warn people of flash floods, to measure how dry a forest gets during a drought or to map the ocean floor? Yes, indeed, GPS has many varied applications.

This is especially impressive considering all GPS systems are serviced by a mere 31 satellites orbiting in space. Cars, phones, and other instruments on Earth pick up signals from one satellite and determine how far they are from it.

Then, using four other satellites in the same way they can then pinpoint where exactly on Earth the receiver is. It should also be noted that scientific instruments have an extremely precise receiver that can determine their location up to a few millimeters compared to the one to 10 meters phones can do.

Scientists get very creative with GPS receivers using them for all kinds of missions. What are these missions? How exactly do they use GPS systems? How accurate is the data they measure? How useful to society and the planet are its results? We answer all these questions and more in our video.

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