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A Seminar Report on


Submitted by:


ECS 612 (6th Semester Examination) Department of Electronics & Comm. Engg. Faculty of Engineering & Technology Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi



I extend my sincere gratitude towards Prof. M.T.Beg, Head of Department for giving us his invaluable knowledge and wonderful technical guidance. I express my thanks to all the other faculty members of Electronics & Communication Engineering Department, Jamia Millia Islamia for their kind cooperation and guidance for preparing and presenting this seminar. I also thank all my family members and friends for their help and support.


Where am I? Where am I going? Where are you? What is the best way to get there? When will I get there? GPS technology can answer all these questions. GPS satellite can show you exact position on the earth any time, in any weather, no matter where you are! GPS technology has made an impact on navigation and positioning needs with the use of satellites and ground stations the ability to track aircrafts, cars, cell phones, boats and even individuals has become a reality. A system of satellites, computers, and receivers that is able to determine the latitude and longitude of a receiver on Earth by calculating the time difference for signals from The Global Positioning different satellites to reach the receiver. System (GPS) is a worldwide radio-navigation system formed from a constellation of 24 satellites and their ground stations. GPS uses these "Manmade stars" as reference points to calculate positions accurate to a matter of meters. In fact, with advanced forms of GPS you can make measurements to better than a centimetre! In a sense it's like giving every square meter on the planet a unique address. GPS receivers have been miniaturized to just a few integrated circuits and so are becoming very economical. And that makes the technology accessible to virtually everyone. Navigation in three dimensions is the primary function of GPS. Navigation receivers are made for aircraft, ships, ground vehicles, and for hand carrying by individuals. Precise positioning is possible using GPS receivers at reference locations providing corrections and relative positioning data for remote receivers. Surveying, geodetic control, and plate tectonic studies are examples. Time and frequency dissemination, based on the precise clocks on board the SVs and controlled by the monitor stations, is another use for GPS. Astronomical observatories, telecommunications facilities, and laboratory standards can be set to precise time signals or controlled to accurate frequencies by special purpose GPS receivers.

The technology evolved from, Mr. Marconis transmission of radio waves. This was applied for society during the 1920's by the establishment of radio stations, for which you only needed a receiver. The same applies for GPS- you only need a rather special radio receiver. Significant advances in radio were bolstered by large sums of money during and after the Second World War, and were even more advanced by the need for communications with early satellites and rockets, and general space exploration. The technology to receive radio signals in a small hand-held, from 20,000kms away, is indeed amazing. Throughout the 1960s the U.S. Navy and Air Force worked on a number of systems that would provide navigation capability for a variety of applications In 1973 finally, the U.S. Department of Defense decided that the military had to have a super precise form of worldwide positioning. And fortunately they had the kind of money ($12 billion!) it took to build something really good. In short, development of the GPS satellite navigation system was begun in the 1970s by the US Department of Defense. The basis for the new system was atomic clocks carried on satellites, a concept successfully tested in an earlier Navy program called TIMATION. The Air Force operated the new system, which it called the Navstar Global Positioning System. It has since come to be known simply as GPS. The first GPS satellite was launched in 1978 and a second-generation set of satellites ("Block II") was launched beginning in 1989. Today's GPS constellation consists of at least 24 Block II satellites. A full constellation of 24 satellites was achieved in 1994. GPS was originally intended for military applications, but in the 1980s, the government made the system available for civilian use. After the downing of Korean Flight 007 in 1983 -a tragedy that might have been prevented if its crew had access to better navigational toolsPresident Ronald Reagan issued a directive that guaranteed that GPS signals would be available at no charge to the world. That directive helped open up a commercial market. Deployment of GPS continued at a steady pace through the 1990s, with growing numbers of civilian and military users. GPS burst into public awareness during the Persian Gulf War in 1991. GPS was used extensively during that conflict, so much so that not enough military-equipped GPS receivers were available.

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based navigation system made up of a network of 24 satellites placed into orbit by the U.S. Department of Defence that continuously transmit coded information, which makes it possible to precisely identify locations on earth by measuring the distance from the satellites. The satellites transmit very low power specially coded radio signals that can be processed in a GPS receiver, enabling the receiver to compute position, velocity and time thus allowing anyone one with a GPS receiver to determine their location on earth. Four GPS satellite signals are used to compute positions in three dimensions and the time offset in the receiver clock. The system was designed so that receivers did not require atomic clocks, and so could be made small and inexpensively. The gps system consists of three pieces. There are the satellites that transmit the position information, there are the ground stations that are used to control the satellites and update the information, and finally there is the receiver that you purchased. It is the receiver that collects data from the satellites and computes its location anywhere in the world based on information it gets from the satellites. There is a popular misconception that a gps receiver somehow sends information to the satellites but this is not true, it only receives data.

TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION (PRINCIPLE OF OPERATION OF GPS) The principle behind GPS is the measurement of distance (or "range") between the receiver and the satellites. The satellites also tell us exactly where they are in their orbits above the Earth. It works something like this-If we know our exact distance from a satellite in space, we know we are somewhere on the surface of an imaginary sphere with radius equal to the distance to the satellite radius. By measuring its distance from a second satellite, the receiver knows it is also somewhere on the surface of a second sphere with radius equal to its distance from the second satellite. Therefore, the receiver must be somewhere along a circle which is formed from the intersection of the two spheres. Measurement from a third satellite introduces a third sphere. Now there are only two points which are consistent with being at the intersection of all three spheres. One of these is usually impossible, and the GPS receivers have mathematical methods of eliminating the impossible location. Measurement from a fourth satellite now resolves the ambiguity as to which of the two points is the location of the receiver. The fourth satellite point also helps eliminate certain errors in the measured distance due to uncertainties in the GPS receiver's timing as well.

Here's how GPS works in five logical steps:

The basis of GPS is "triangulation" from satellites. To "triangulate," a GPS receiver measures distance using the travel time of radio signals. To measure travel time, GPS needs very accurate timing, which it achieves with some tricks. Along with distance, you need to know exactly where the satellites are in space. High orbits and careful monitoring are the secret. Finally you must correct for any delays the signal experiences as it travels through the atmosphere.


The GPS signal contains ephemeris and almanac data. Ephemeris data is constantly transmitted by each satellite and contains important information such as status of the satellite (healthy or unhealthy), current date, and time. Without this part of the message, your GPS receiver would have no idea what the current time and date are. This part of the signal is essential to determining a position, as well see in a moment. The almanac data tells the GPS receiver where each GPS satellite should be at any time throughout the day. Each satellite transmits almanac data showing the orbital information for that satellite and for every other satellite in the system.


Space Segment:
The GPS technology is based on the NAVSTAR (NAVigation Satellite Timing And Ranging) constellation composed of 24 satellites in space, the space segment of the GPS system. There are often more than 24 operational satellites as new ones are launched to replace older satellites. The satellite orbits repeat almost the same ground track (as the earth turns beneath them) once each day. These 24 satellites (21 navigational satellites and 3 active spares) are in 6 circular orbits (with nominally four SVs in each), equally spaced (60 degrees apart), at an inclination angle of 55 degrees. These satellites weigh 1900 lbs in orbit, travel at speeds of about 14,000 kilometres per hour or 8700 miles per hour with a 12hr period (precisely 11hr 58 min).

Control Segment:
It consists of a system of tracking stations located around the world. The control segment is composed of all the ground-based facilities that are used to monitor and control the satellites. This segment is usually unseen by the user, but is a vital part of the system. The NAVSTAR control segment, called the operational control system (OCS) consists of 5 monitor stations, a master control station (MCS) and 3 uplink antennas. The satellites send down subsets of the orbital ephemeris data. The monitor stations track GPS satellites in view, collect and send information from the satellites back to the master control station that computes the precise orbits. The master station uploads the data which is necessary for proper operation of the satellite, like ephemeris and clock data to the satellites. Then the information is formatted into updated navigation messages that are transmitted through ground antennas.

User Segment:
The user segment is composed of GPS receivers composed of processors and antennas that allow for sea, land and airborne operators to receive the broadcast. The receivers convert space vehicle signals into position, velocity and time. A total of 4 satellites are required to compute these calculations. In order to make this simple calculation, then, the GPS receiver has to know two things: The location of at least three satellites above you The distance between you and each of those satellites. The GPS receiver figures both of these things out by analyzing highfrequency, low-power radio signals from the GPS satellites. Better units have multiple receivers, so they can pick up signals from several satellites simultaneously. Most modern receivers are parallel multichannel design. Parallel receivers typically have five to twelve receiver circuits, each devoted to GPS 72 handheld rxr one particular satellite at all times. Parallel channels are quick to lock onto satellites when first turned on and they are able to receive the satellite signals even in difficult conditions such as dense foliage or urban settings. If you want to have continuous real-time position measurements, then the receiver has to have at least four channels. If it does, then it can devote one channel to each of the four satellites at the same time.

GPS tracking means to trace something or someone with the Global Positioning System. The below diagram illustrates the basic AVL system. It shows the GPS signal arriving from satellite to vehicle. The vehicle location is communicated to the PC (Control Center) via wireless network. But for thousands of years Homosapiens has had the opportunity to observe the movement and general habits of members of his own species as well as of wildlife, particularly by following their tracks. It was a hard and particular unsafe affair. Hence the development of satellite tracking by the Argos consortium was a quantum leap in the human Tracking business. Since 1994 the Global Positioning System has been available for civilian use at no cost. Nowadays GPS makes it available to everyone to track nearly everything. Objects as well as persons can be

tracked if they are fitted out with a GPS receiver estimating the respective location. The GPS location data is stored on board of the GPS receiver. Modern GPS tracking systems are able to send such GPS position data from the object directly to a receiving station. A receiving station can be a stationary receiver of a tracking service company (in case of car tracking f. ex.) or provider of a mobile phone company, or just a PC. Nowadays the GPS location data can be also received by small mobile gadgets like laptops, handsets etc. The AVL tracking system consists of a GPS receiver inside the vehicle and a communications link between the vehicle and the control Center as well as pc-based tracking software for dispatch. The communication system is usually a cellular network similar to the one used by your cell phone.


GPS in marine system:

Marine GPS receivers feature waterproof casings, marine chart plotter maps, and even fishing tables and celestial schedules. Most can also store highway map information, so you can use your marine GPS to get you to the marina and then out to the fish.

GPS for Private and commercial Use:

The GPS system is free for everyone to use, all that is needed is a GPS receiver, which costs about $90 and up (March 2005). This has led to widespread private and commercial use. An example of private use is the popular activity Geocaching where a GPS unit is used to search for objects hidden in nature by traveling to the GPS coordinates. Commercial use can be land measurement, navigation and road construction.

GPS on Air Planes

Most airline companies allow private use of ordinary GPS units on their flights, except during landing and take-off, like all other electronic devices. The unit does not transmit radio signals like mobile phones, it can only receive. Note, however, that some airline companies might disallow it for security reasons, such as unwillingness to let ordinary passengers track the flight route.

GPS For Visually Impaired

The projects of the navigation system using GPS for the visually impaired have been conducted quite a few times. GPS was introduced in the late 80s and since then there have been several research projects such as MoBIC, Drishti, and Brunel Navigation System for the Blind, NOPPA, Braille Note GPS and Trekker. MoBIC MoBIC means Mobility of Blind and Elderly people interacting with Computers, which was carried out from 1994 to 1996 supported by the Commission of the European Union. It was developing a route planning system, which is designed to allow a blind person access to information from many sources such as bus and train timetables as well as electronic maps of the locality. The planning system helps blind people to study and plan their routes in advance, indoors.

GPS for Horticulture

In orchards, GPS is used mainly for orchard mapping or electrical mapping. The GPS system allows orchardist's to accurately keep records of chemical applications, which is extremely important where the government is concerned. It can keep track of orchard costs, record and track yields. GPS also allows for the fine-tuning of orchard management techniques for the grower.


This remarkable system was not heap to build. Development of the $10 billion GPS satellite navigation system was begun in the 1970s by the US Department of Defense, which continues to manage the system, to provide continuous, worldwide positioning and navigation data to US military forces around the globe. Ongoing maintenance, including the launch of replacement satellites, adds to the cost of the system. Amazingly ,GPS actually predates the introduction of the personal computer. Its designers may not have foreseen a day when we would be carrying small portable receivers, weighing less than a pound, at a price as less as $300, that would not only tell us where we are in position coordinates (latitude/longitude), but would even display our location on an electronic map along with cities, streets and more. A commercial receiver used for navigation purposes will be able to measure only the coarse pseudo range distances coded on one of the two frequencies. Such receivers are available from 1500 FF or 300 USD. On the opposite, dual frequency receivers able to measure both pseudo-range and phase data on both carrier waves cost up to 150,000 FF or 30,000 USD. There is an intermediate category of receivers which allow relatively precise positioning without being excessively costly. Those are the single frequency receivers, which measure pseudo-range and phase data on only one of the two wavelength. Acquiring data only on the frequency with the higher signal/noise ratio, those receivers are built with relatively cheap electronic.


Imagine being an archaeologist on an expedition to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. After preparing for your trip for months, you are certain that somewhere close by are the ruins of villages once populated by Mayan Indians. The forest is dense, the sun is hot, and the air is humid. The only way you can record where you have been, or find your way back to civilization, is by using the almost magic power of your GPS receiver. Or let's suppose you are an oceanographer for the International Ice Patrol. You may be responsible for finding icebergs that form in the cold waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. Some of these icebergs are 50 miles long. They are a major threat to the ships that travel those waters, and more than 300 of them form every winter. Using a GPS receiver, you are able to help ships avoid disaster by zeroing in on the position of the icebergs and notifying ship captains of their locations, perhaps averting disaster. There will probably be a time soon when every car on the road can be equipped with a GPS receiver, including a video screen installed in the dashboard. The indash monitor will be a full-color display showing your location and a map of the roads around you. It will probably monitor your car's performance and your car phone as well. Systems as amazing as this one are already being tested on highways in the United States. GPS is rapidly changing the way people are finding their way around the earth. Whether it is for fun, saving lives, getting there faster or whatever use you can dream of, GPS navigation is becoming more common every day. GPS will figure in history alongside the development of the sea-going chronometer. This device enabled seafarers to plot their course to an accuracy that greatly encouraged maritime activity, and led to the migration explosion of the nineteenth century. GPS will affect mankind in the same way. There are myriad applications that will benefit us individually and collectively.


Books: Outdoor Navigation with GPS by Stephen W. Hinch The GPS Handbook by Robert I. Egbert