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The first major development in the history of GPS navigation which could be seen as the fore father of GPS was the advent of the compass and sextant. Coupled with the sextant they could measure angles of the stars, moon, and sun in relation to the horizon using small mirrors – but the early sextant devices were again flawed as they were only accurate when being able to measure latitude.  Sea farers and explorers were still unable to calculate longitude and so the quest for more accurate navigation continued.
Moving into the 17th Century, a group of scientists joined forces in England and called themselves the Board of Longitude. The reason this was so well received was because it only ever lost 1 second a day, and when combined with a sextant, the chronometer was able to let explorers and adventurers figure out what their latitude was… and now more importantly, also longitude.  The World didn’t know it at the time, but this was an early development in the history of GPS systems and set us on the way to changing navigation as we know it today. Despite this system being a huge advancement it was still not perfect because it used ground generated radio waves which need to make a choice between a high-frequency radio system that was inaccurate and does not cover large areas, versus low-frequency which had broader coverage but was also not accurate. This confirmed the scientific assumption that a satellite’s position could be tracked from the Earth and was one of the first true technological steps in being able to calculate an object’s ground position using radio signals from a satellite that was orbiting the planet. The Transit System used six satellites that orbited the Earth circularly in polar orbits.  The US Navy were able to measure the Doppler shift of the radio signals and thus let the submarines be located by position in a timeframe of just fifteen minutes. By 1978 they had launched the first GPS satellites into orbit and by the 1990s the system was using 24 satellites to accurately provide GPS for a number of applications and was then made available to be used by public companies.  The Global Positioning System history was now ready to make the first steps into being used by the public for things such as in-car navigation and exploration methods. Recent news has highlighted people now looking to take indoor location positioning as the next level, and even attempts to create new and better alternatives to GPS navigation.  Whatever happens next, GPS navigation is here to stay and will continue to be a huge part of our lives for years to come. We will update this History of GPS Navigation page as soon as any new developments in the technology occur so please bookmark the page for future reference or share it on your social networks using the buttons you see on this page.  If you wish to reference any of the material on our website then we would appreciate that you credit us with a link back to the History of GPS Navigation page on the GPS Bites website. European Commission vice president Antonio Tajani this week unveiled a new service intended to make satellite data more reliable. The European Data Access Service (EDAS) will make data from the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) available on the Internet. EGNOS taps into 40 ranging and integrity monitoring stations (RIMS) across Europe, which receive signals from U.S.
According to the commission, EDAS will make sure that users can access EGNOS data even if the EGNOS satellite signal in space is unavailable - thanks to a signal obstruction in urban areas, for example. GPS has hit the mainstream, but it wasn't long ago that the concept of in-auto navigation didn't even exist. When it came to actual GPS navigation, early built-in systems were pretty limited anyway, thanks to 2D map graphics, few catalogued points of interest, and little in the way of added features. The most important changes over time relate to map data and the POI (point-of-interest) database.
The Latest Tech and Challenges In-car navigation systems remain the most attractive and well integrated, as they continue to tie in more and more entertainment, safety, and cell phone-related features, like the system in the 2012 Toyota Camry (pictured, below right). Fortunately, original equipment manufacturers like QNX, which supplies the underlying GPS systems for many of today's auto companies, are working to improve this process.
Prices Really Are Coming DownWhile both of the above reasons for infrequent upgrades and outdated systems are valid, there's also the manufacturer's own interest.
I'm pretty sure I can say future systems will cost less and be easier to use—and, if we're lucky, will look a lot like what Microsoft and TeleNav are currently showing off. For more, read The History of the Car Stereo and The Car of the Future is Just Around the Corner. It's tough to believe, but in-car GPS navigation has already been around for more than a decade.
Twenty years ago, a road trip meant a bunch of fold-out maps stuffed into your glove box or your car door panel pockets.
Most people don't realize that in order for global positioning to work, Einstein's theories of special relativity and general relativity must come into play.
While those two effects work against each other, the net result isn't equal: You end up with a discrepancy of roughly 38 microseconds per day. The Road to In-Car NavigationEven after 2000, it would be a while before consumers would see GPS navigation in cars en masse.
Mandy, "the other woman," accompanied my husband and I on our return trip to Italy last summer!
Because the compass needle always points in a northwards position it was possible for sea farers to know where they were and in which direction there boat or ship was heading. They said that they would pay a handsome fee to anybody that was able to calculate the longitude of a sea vessel to within an accuracy of 30 nautical miles. As a result, people will be able to access this GPS data from hand-held devices, Tajani said, improving the accuracy of things like high-precision fertiliser spraying, automatic road-tolling, fleet management, inland waterway navigation, dangerous goods transportation or accurate area measurement.
She moved to New York City from Frederick, Md., where she worked for four years as a multimedia reporter at the second-largest daily newspaper in Maryland. By the mid-2000s, Garmin, Mio, Navigon, Magellan, TomTom, and others flooded the market with devices across multiple price points. Several factors are contributing to the decline, but two reasons in particular stand out: Market saturation and cell phone apps. No one wants outdated directions if one of the listed roads are now closed, or if a better way opened up—and certainly, no one wants to search for a nearby Thai place, drive all the way there, and find out it went out of business last year and is now a Starbucks.
By the mid-2000's, you could add GPS functionality to an existing phone with a Bluetooth-enabled GPS receiver.
Many phones today come with free Google Maps apps, which will provide turn-by-turn navigation between two addresses, but these are impossible to use behind the wheel unless you have a passenger reading the directions out loud to you.


Interestingly, open-source software like Linux and HTML5 code are increasingly coming into play. A lot of frustration stems from the high prices of these systems, as well as how dated they seem compared with even $150 standalone GPS devices. TeleNav recently gave us a ride in a car equipped with its new, cross-platform, HTML5-powered Scout GPS system, which promises to help bring down prices and offers more connectivity with your phone. But we'll have to see how much control auto manufacturers are willing to cede on something that currently makes them a lot of money.
Pulling over, unfolding one like a giant newspaper, and then figuring out where you were and how it corresponded to what you were seeing through the windshield was the norm.
Department of Defense first developed satellite-based global positioning technology for the military. But the military added interference to the signals to ensure their own version was the only one that could be used with any precision.
Russia's own GLONASS system of 22 satellites will soon work with some compatible smartphones in the U.S.
On a basic level, GPS finds your position by looking at the time stamp from a number of satellites orbiting the earth, how far away each one is from you, and how far apart each one is from the other.
That incredibly small difference is still enough to report your actual position off by miles, which would render the GPS system worthless, were it not for allowing for relativistic effects. Early routing algorithms were imprecise, and sometimes repeated steps over and over again—long lists of instructions that basically said to stay on the same road for 12 miles were a constant source of frustration. A clever guy called John Harrison stepped up to the challenge in 1761 with his invention of the chronometer timepiece. Six navigation stations manage the data, which is sent to three satellite transponders for distribution to users. She interned at Baltimore magazine and graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (in the town of Indiana, in the state of Pennsylvania) with a degree in journalism and mass communications. The latest systems, powered by either QNX or Microsoft, and found in cars like the QNX-powered 2012 Audi A8, do a much better job of tying in navigation, entertainment, and cell phone connectivity.
These devices usually ran some form of proprietary software on top of a readily available OS like Embedded Linux or Windows Embedded CE. While GPS devices have received considerable upgrades over the years in functionality, most consumers bought one and just used it for years, without feeling any need to upgrade. The thing is, you can upgrade the maps in older devices for a fee, and now even newer devices often come with lifetime free map upgrades.
But it wasn't long before smartphones began to come with integrated GPS—and by that I mean full-blown, voice-enabled navigation, not just the 911 emergency response system phones have had for years. Android phones come with voice-enabled Google Maps Navigation, which is an upgrade from the stock Google Maps icon found on most iPhones. For years, system upgrades have corresponded with model revisions, which can take anywhere from four to six model years for the average mainstream vehicle.
You can bet auto manufacturers aren't in a race to drop the price on an option that generates so much profit for them.
Ford is hard at work at improving Sync, and is constantly adding new features like expanded app support via AppLink, as well as a new NPR tie-in.
Along the way, those maps gave way to MapQuest or Yahoo Maps print-outs, and now, fortunately, we've got portable navigation devices (PNDs), in-dash GPS systems, and GPS-enabled smartphones. An early satellite-based system dubbed TRANSIT was up and running as early as 1960, with more refined and precise versions involving multiple satellites in general military use by the early 1980s (pictured, right). After four years of deliberations, President Clinton signed a bill in 2000 ordering the military to cease scrambling satellite signals used by civilians. Beginning around the turn of the century, computer-generated, turn-by-turn directions from websites like MapQuest were a common sight. Plus, you still had to print them out and take them with you, which meant you needed to pull over to read the next few steps. In today's cars, it's common to pair your cell phone over Bluetooth, dial contacts with voice commands, and even stream Internet services like Pandora from your cell phone's data connection in order to listen to music over the car's stereo system. Eventually, as the decade rolled to a close and sales began to decline, the resulting market shakeout left only Garmin, TomTom, and Magellan standing.
None of the new functionality introduced in the past several years is truly necessary—just helpful, in varying degrees. Car manufacturers also offer map updates on a yearly basis, often on disc, but for staggeringly high prices; BMW wants $200 for a single iteration of map updates, for example.
TeleNav and Networks In Motion were early players on various cell phone platforms, offering voice-enabled directions for roughly $10 per month. With the help of a custom hot rod manufacturer, Microsoft put together an impressive rolling tech demo: A Windows 8-powered Ford Mustang with integrated Microsoft Kinect, an Xbox 360, 4G LTE, smartphone connectivity, and several built-in projectors and cameras for use inside and outside the vehicle. Voice-enabled navigation is more commonplace than ever, as the average PND price keeps getting lower and lower, and high-quality navigation apps are available for most smartphones. This instantly upgraded the accuracy of the few consumer-based systems already in existence by a factor of 10, and opened the doors to a much larger, consumer electronics-based industry for GPS navigation. But because of relativity, the clocks in the satellites advance ever so slightly faster than clocks on the surface of the Earth.


Not only were these websites godsends for finding unfamiliar hotels and restaurants, but they also assisted plenty of small businesses heavily reliant on driving—think of home improvement contractors, real estate agents, and freight services, just to name a few examples.
And if you wandered off course, you were just as lost as you would have been with a map—worse, actually, if you left the actual map at home, since the printed directions were for one specific route.
Prices have also fallen tremendously, with solid midrange devices offering real-time traffic and lifetime map upgrades for roughly $200, and high-end models with terrain mapping and higher resolution like the Garmin nuvi 3590LMT maxing out at $400.
Today's smartphone apps, such as Magellan RoadMate for the iPhone (pictured, above), offer user interfaces indistinguishable from high-end PNDs, even if the GPS in the phones themselves still isn't quite as accurate as standalone devices—yet.
Consequently, a 2012 car could have a system originally designed in 2006 and put into production in 2008 when that model first hit the streets. Plus, moving clocks are slower than ones standing still—again, by a very tiny amount.
The latter became famous primarily for its deficiencies at its original launch in 2002, thanks to its unbelievably stubborn interface, and the fact that even normal controls like radio presets were buried in submenus.
The new-for-2013 Subaru BRZ (pictured, below) comes with navigation standard, which is unheard of on a $25,000 vehicle. Our first trip to Italy is a vivid memory of driving around in circles; frequently finding ourselves on narrow one-way streets constructed hundreds of years ago for horses and donkey carts. No one driving a car has the patience to reboot the entire car at 75 mph on the highway—and that's to say nothing of the horrific implications that would have for safety. How does it work?Ancient mariners and travelers used the stars, constellations and landmarks to guide their way. Today's Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) systems use satellites that transmit one-way signals back to Earth.
An atomic clock in each satellite enables it to transmit precise information regarding its location and current time.
A receiver picks up these signals and calculates the distance to at least four of the satellites. With this information, it can calculate your current location, and then looks that up on its map. GPS systems vary in accuracy according to quality, with most of today's hand held models accurate to within thirty feet.
Using your GPS is like looking at a live animation that moves when you move, turns when you turn. 1) Street navigation systems (sat-nav) You'll never get lost driving with this type of GPS, since it gives turn-by-turn directions, including mileage, speed and estimated time of arrival.
Others are aftermarket purchases attached to the dashboard or windshield and can be removed for hand held use. The maps provide information such as airports, police departments, hospitals, places of interest, and gas stations. Most of these GPS systems can even interface with your cellular phone as a hands-free device! Orienteering with a compass is cool, but old school when you have a GPS that knows the lay of the land and will point the way. GPS watches are actually like mini-computers strapped to your wrist with multitudes of features specific to your needs.
Of course, the down side is the small screen and the need to frequently change modes to accomplish a task, but I doubt that Dick Tracy would have had any gripes about that! Having it with you at all times means you'll never be late for an appointment due to losing your way. 4) Phones with GPS Many of today's phones offer a GPS feature for an additional service charge. That's a convenient feature, since most people these days tote a phone no matter where they go.
All phones also come with a government mandated tracking capability that will help locate you in case of an emergency. Wherify GPS Child Locator Watch – This kid's watch is a combination GPS and wireless radio that helps you determine your child's whereabouts via a Web- or phone-based service. The watch will set you back about $400 and requires an activation and monthly service fee for tracking. Do these types of GPS systems interest you?Consider what you've just read only a "tease." The amount of information available about types of GPS systems out there is mind-boggling. Decide on your particular needs and then investigate and compare the various options and prices. No matter what kind of system you need and decide on, you'll certainly come to appreciate its convenience and ability to keep you in safe situations. Mandy no moreI look forward to more travels with our handy-dandy GPS, but maybe next time a "Luigi" or "Pierre" can come along for the ride.
For me, a sexy male voice with an accent giving directions would be a lot easier on the ears and the driving time.



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