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Do you know how your car's GPS works?

Do you know how your car's GPS works?

Nowadays, a large part of the cars have a navigation or GPS system, these make life much easier because they take you step by step, practically to the place you want, you just have to know the address and follow the directions.

Sure you have one in your car or use an app on your cell phone to guide you, however, few people know what GPS is or how it works. When you go out on the road or drive for the first time it is important that you know how the car's GPS works and use it properly so that you get the most out of it.

First of all, GPS means Global Positioning System or what is the same Global Positioning System and is formed by 24 satellites that orbit the Earth.


Do you know how your car's GPS works

How Does GPS Work?

The 24 satellites send a radio signal to Earth all the time that is received by your GPS receiver, which basically measures the time it takes for the signal to arrive and based on that information determines how far it is from the satellite and therefore so much where on the planet is the receiver.

To better understand what GPS is and how it works, it is necessary to explain a little about the triangulation of a point, which is to locate a specific place by means of three distances.

GPS satellites send out a radio wave that moves away at the same speed in all directions, with the satellite always in the center, it is as if an imaginary radio wave sphere were created. At the moment that this wave is received by a receiver, it measures the exact time since the signal left the satellite and the precise moment it reaches the receiver.

With this information, the receiver determines how far it is from the satellite, dividing the time it took for the signal to arrive, by the speed of the radio signal (300 thousand K / h), it is as if it will calculate how much the sphere has grown since left the satellite.

This entire process is done on at least 3 and a quarter satellites to improve accuracy. Imagine for a moment that you draw four circles on a gridded surface, at some point these circles meet and that point is your exact location, basically this is how GPS works.

It is worth mentioning that, since the radio signal travels at the speed of light, the time measurement is done in millionths of a second, since if the receiver fails for at least a tenth of a second, your location would change by up to 100 meters.

To make this reading of the time so precise, the satellite has an extremely precise atomic clock and every so often it sends this information to the receiver so that it measures the time exactly.

This system is infallible since there are a total of 24 satellites in orbit to make the GPS system work and they are distributed in such a way that at all times your receiver has access to at least 8 of them.

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Digital Maps

With GPS satellites we would already have our exact location in the world, however, that is not enough to guide you through the city, in addition, a whole system is needed in which you have information about the streets, roads, the meaning of both places. and tourist centers; and those are the digital maps.

There are three basic ways to create a digital map. The first is the field workers, who take pictures of the streets and highways and then add them to the map; the second is satellite photography and the third, which is the most widely used, using mobile mapping vehicles.

In general, these are cars equipped with cameras arranged at 360 ° that take images of the city and link them with its location thanks to the GPS they carry.

GPS Coordinates

It is about the coordinates of your location and so that you understand what they mean remember that the Earth is divided by both horizontal and vertical lines, they are the parallels and meridians of the Earth, respectively.

Horizontal or parallel lines start at 0 ° from the Equator and advance north and south to 180 ° and are measured by degrees of latitude.

For their part, the vertical lines or meridians start at 0 ° from the Greenwich Meridian and advance east and west to 180 ° and are measured in degrees of longitude.

To make this measurement more precise, each degree is subdivided into minutes that go from 0 to 60, it is as if the point we found was divided into a 60 x 60 grid to have a more exact location.

In fact most systems have a location per second equal to 0 to 60 and again this is another subdivision that gives us an even more precise location.

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Navigation applications work like a car GPS and today there are countless that help you when driving. Not only do they give you your location, they also offer you information about traffic and street closures.

The most popular in Mexico may be Waze, it is a social application, this means that users can comment on the traffic on the streets, so if someone comments that traffic is stopped or there is an obstruction on your route, they will be sent to you an alert.

One of the best is the Coyote app. It is a tool that, in addition to location, provides traffic information in real time, tells you what the speed limits are and, in addition, it has a system against accidents due to drowsiness.

The DGT app, in addition to location and traffic information, allows you to customize your routes and know in real time about incidents on them.

Other geolocation applications such as Glympse offer the opportunity to send your location to a friend or family member without the need for them to have the app.

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