The first and most obvious application of GPS
is the simple determination of a "position" or location. GPS is the first
positioning system to offer highly precise location data for any point on the planet, in
any weather. That alone would be enough to qualify it as a major utility, but the accuracy
of GPS and the creativity of its users is pushing it into some surprising realms.
Knowing the precise location of something, or someone, is especially critical when the
consequences of inaccurate data are measured in human terms. For example, when a stranded
motorist was lost in a South Dakota blizzard for 2 days, GPS helped rescuers find her.
GPS is also being applied in Italy to create exact location points for their nationwide
geodetic network which will be used for surveying projects. Once in place it will support
the first implementation of a nationally created location survey linked to the WGS-84
Sometimes an exact reference locator is needed for extremely precise scientific work.
Just getting to the world's tallest mountain was tricky, but GPS made measuring the growth
of Mt. Everest easy. The data collected strengthened past work, but also revealed that as
the Khumbu glacier moves toward Everest's Base Camp, the mountain itself is getting
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