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Who Invented the GPS?

written by: Kristina Dems•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 4/7/2010

Have you ever wondered who invented the GPS and how genius they are? There are three people who are acknowledged for their concepts, development, and creation of this widely used advanced technology. Learn more about who invented the GPS in this article.

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    GPS Overview

    To put it in simple terms, GPS (Global Positioning System) is an advanced, multi-dimensional tracking process that covers almost everything, everywhere, and at any time. Originally it is used by the U.S. Navy and Air Force or the military to detect the sea, land, and air vehicles.

    It uses multiple satellites, which by most recent count there are about 21 that are active. These are scattered in calculated distances over the globe. So that anybody who wants to look for anything can just use a tracking device which can contact these satellites. In turn, it will receive the information needed such as time, speed, or location.

    For a more detailed discussion, you may want to read How Does GPS Work?

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    Who Invented the GPS? The Minds Behind GPS

    At least three names have been clearly associated to the invention of GPS. They are Dr. Ivan Getting, Professor Bradford Parkinson, and Roger L. Easton. It would be bias to not mention any one of them for the conception, development, and creation of this one of a kind evolution.

    Dr. Ivan Getting – A Ph. D of Astrophysics, Getting has worked on several projects including the microwave tracking fire control radar. His veritable contribution to GPS idea is due to the fact that he led and directed teams that worked on three-dimensional, time-difference-of-arrival position-finding system and also on making use of satellites for navigating vehicles.

    Professor Bradford Parkinson- Affiliated first with Navy, Parkinson moved under the Air Force where he managed and directed NAVSTAR GPS program. This made him get the title Father of the Global Positioning System. The project has 5 years from 1973 to 1978 under his supervision.

    At present time, he is Professor Emeritus at Stanford handling research concentrated on processes like GPS.

    Roger L. Easton- His name is added to the National Inventors Hall of Fame for spacecraft tracking and timing and navigation technology as of April 1, 2010.

    Prior to the NAVSTAR project, Easton is among the first people that saw the potential of using satellites to get accurate time-based position of vehicles or other things within the premise of earth to play vital part on military usage. The first satellite launched to use GPS has been created base on the theories and calculations of Easton.

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    GPS at Large

    From the initial goal of giving the military an effective tool to track or as a hunting tool, GPS has gone public where it became beneficial for corporate or personal use.

    Tracking devices are now portable such as mobile phones with online tracking tool that parents can use to track the whereabouts of their children and they can even find their friends via GPS.

    Securing properties like car, luggage, and other equipments can now be done remotely by the owner.

    Businesses are investing into their own GPS tracking tools to enhance the efficiency of deliveries, shipping, and other transactions that require mobility and time.

    If you are interested to own a GPS device, make sure to read the GPS Buying Guide.