What is the Global Positioning SystemEditorial
There are several GPS satellite arrays although the one we connect to is owned and operated by the United States Government.
This fantastic ability we have to pinpoint an exact location, is the result of your device listening to any available GPS satellites, each of which pulses a time signal. Your device compares the difference in microseconds between receiving each radio signal from ideally four satellites, and with this data it can triangulate a position with incredible accuracy.
Behind the scenes, there is huge team of scientists working tirelessly 24/7 to maintain the accuracy of this whole system. Each of the satellites requires constantly adjustment to compensate for weather and atmospheric conditions. The scientists also rely on data from GPS Ground Stations which are based all around the world at fixed GPS coordinates. These stations monitor the time signals from any satellites in range.
Scientists have also been able to accurately measure and monitor the movement of each of our tectonic plates. Whilst some move very little, maybe 6cm a year, others move up 11cm. So if someone buried treasure at a given coordinates, these could well be a few meters further away after enough time.
GPS was initially intended for military use, and it was thanks to President Reagan who made a directive for GPS to be available to everyone worldwide. This was following the fatal shooting of a Boeing 747 carrying 269 people after a navigational error had caused the 747 to unintentionally stray into a restricted airspace.