What is GPS?
What is GPS?

What is GPS?

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a navigation and precise-positioning tool. Developed by the United States Department of Defense in 1973, GPS was originally designed to assist soldiers and military vehicles, planes, and ships in accurately determining their locations world-wide. Today, the uses of GPS have extended to include both the commercial and scientific worlds. Commercially, GPS is used as a navigation and positioning tool in airplanes, boats, cars, and for almost all outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, fishing, and kayaking. In the scientific community, GPS plays an important role in the earth sciences. Meteorologists use it for weather forecasting and global climate studies; and geologists can use it as a highly accurate method of surveying and in earthquake studies to measure tectonic motions during and in between earthquakes.

What are the part of a GPS Device?

The GPS set consists of five principal components: antenna, receiver, processor, input/output (I/O) device such as a control display unit (CDU), and a power supply.

Types of GPS Devices

  • Handheld Devices which include your smartphone, industrial grade smartphones and handheld functional devices that are GPS loggers and resemble a smartphone but do not have calling facility.
  • Portable GPS Devices – These devices usually come with a magnetic mount, work on powerful batteries with some battery operated devices having 20000 mAh battery. Mostly used in logistics and to monitor vehicles covertly, without the knowledge of the driver
  • Wired GPS Devices – These devices are fitted onto vehicles and have wires that connect to parts of the vehicle engine including ignition, battery and in some cases to the odometer of the vehicle.
  • Wearables – These devices comes in wearable form like GPS watches, GPS tags and GPS belts and are used to track children and pets.

What are the uses / applications where GPS is used?

Some civilian applications are:

  • Astronomy: Used in Astrometry and celestial mechanics calculations.
  • Automated vehicles: It is also used in automated vehicles (driverless vehicles) to apply locations for cars and trucks.
  • Cellular telephony: Modern mobile phones come equipped with GPS tracking software. It is present because one can know one’s position and can also track nearby utilities such as ATMs, coffee shops, restraints, etc. The first cell phone enabled GPS was launched in 1990s. In cellular telephony it is also used in detection for emergency calls and many other applications.
  • Disaster relief and other emergency services: In case of any natural disaster, a GPS is a best tool to identify the location. Even prior to the disasters like cyclones, GPS helps in calculating the estimated time.
  • Fleet tracking: GPS is a developer tool known for its potential to track military ships during the war time.
  • Car location: A GPS enabled car makes it easier to track its location.
  • Geo fencing: In geo fencing, we use GPS to track a human, an animal or a car. The devise is attached to the vehicle, person or on animal’s collar. It provides continuous tracking and updating.
  • Geo tagging: one of the major applications is geotagging meaning applying local coordinates to digital objects.
  • GPS for mining: Uses centimetre-level positioning accuracy.
  • GPS tours: helps in determining location of nearby point of interests.
  • Surveying: Surveyors make use of Global Positioning System to plot maps.

Why GPS In School Bus

The Government of Kerala has mandated GPS devices in School buses for the following reasons

  • To control and monitor the movement of school buses that transport our most valuable assets, our own children!
  • To ensure that school buses stay within speed limits, do not engage in dangerous driving and follow traffic guidelines strictly. The local police station monitoring a school bus can stop the bus sitting in the station itself if the police are alerted to any dangerous diving or emergency situation.
  • To provide for children inside the bus security from any physical harm for which panic buttons can be pressed by children to notify the police about any emergency situation inside the bus

Who Monitors School Bus?

  • The local police station will be able to monitor all school buses in its jurisdiction.
  • The Government at Trivandrum at its Command and Control Centre will be able to monitor all school buses in Kerala State.
  • The school will be able to monitor its buses moving to pick up and drop its students from the school itself.

Can Parents Monitor / View Their Sschool Bus?

Parents can view their child’s bus provided the school uses an application created for the particular purpose. Most schools have found it a meaningful service to provide to parents.