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Utilization of the Global Positioning System in different areas in the

University of Santo Tomas
Honey Grace B. Pami Gisselle Mildred V. Paulo
Rey Rhymyl S. Ramirez Richard A. Raeses

Reporting: 17 February 2015/ Final Report: 24 February 2015

Abstract The Global Positioning System (GPS),

originally intended for military applications is a
satellite-based navigation system made up of a
network of 24 satellites placed into orbit by the U.S.
Department of Defense. In the 1980s, the government
made the system available for civilian use. GPS
works in any weather conditions, anywhere in the
world, 24 hours a day. GPS satellites circle the earth
twice a day in a very precise orbit and transmit signal
information to earth. GPS receivers take this
information and use triangulation to calculate the
user's exact location. To learn the utilization of a GPS
device in locating a certain object is the main
objective of this exercise. The activity involves the
use of Garmin GPSmap 76csx, in locating different
objects in the University of Santo given different

Handling Editor: Gisselle Mildred V. Paulo

H. G. B. Pami ()
Department of Biological Sciences,
University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines
G. M. V. Paulo
Department of Biological Sciences,
University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines
R. R. S. Ramirez
Department of Biological Sciences,
University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines
R. A. Raeses
Department of Biological Sciences,
University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines

In our groups case, given the coordinates, N 14

36.498 E 120 59.325, within the range of 5m, and
tree as a clue we had identified a mahogany tree near
the Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. Building, the
Thomasian Alumni Building. There are different
factors from which locating an object using a GPS
might be erroneous; provision of clues, different units
of GPS, number of satellites, the openness of the area
and others. To avoid these errors proper usage of the
device must be observed.
Keywords Global Positioning System GPS
University of Santo Tomas UST
Global positioning system is a global system of the
U.S. navigation satellites developed to provide
precise positional and velocity data and global time
synchronization for air, sea, and land travel. Most of
the time, it is used to precisely locate a threedimensional position, including the latitude,
longitude, and elevation, anywhere on the surface of
the earth. The basis of the GPS is a constellation of
satellites (Figure 3.1) that are continuously orbiting
the earth. These satellites, which are equipped with
atomic clocks, transmit radio signals that contain
their exact location, time, and other information. The
radio signals from the satellites, which are monitored
and corrected by control stations, are picked up by
the GPS receiver. The GPS has replaced traditional
survey methods and offers a cost-effective, accurate,
and rapid means of determining the locations of
points (e.g. soil sample locations and monitoring
wells), lines (e.g. streams, roads, or utility lines), and

areas (e.g. contamination plumes, wetlands, or


Figure 3.2: Garmin GPSmap 76csx

The table below shows the groups, their respective
coordinates, error and clue, and their answer/s to
what has been asked to be identified with the given
coordinates and clues.

Groups 1 &

Figure 3.1: The GPS satellite network

Materials and methods
Groups 2 & 9

This activity required the use of a GPS receiver

(Figure 3.2) to locate different objects or organisms
within the grounds of University of Santo Tomas,
using the coordinates given to each group. Garmin
GPSmap 76csx was the specific brand and model of
the GPS receiver that was used. The unit can be dashmounted, and requires energy from four AA batteries
or on a vehicles battery using included 12-volt power
adapter. There are various ways to locate certain
places using the GPS receiver. When the coordinates
are given, one must accord his movements to the GPS
receiver in such a way that the instrument would play
the desired coordinates. Some models of GPS receiver
can project a map showing the path to take to reach the
coordinates location after inputting it to the machine.
On the other hand, if one desires to know to
coordinates of a place, the GPS makes use of the
signals of multiple satellites. The satellites compute
the users current coordinates and then the receiver
displays the coordinates. The user simply has to move
according to the changes in the coordinates until the
assigned coordinates show up on the receivers screen.

Groups 3 & 7

Groups 4 & 6

Groups 5 & 8

N 14 36.543
E 120 59.392
5m colony of
arboreal green
N 14 36.533
E 120 59.444
4m large, dead
N 14 36.498
E 120 59.325
5m tree
N 14 36.560
E 120 59.328
N 14 36.583
E 120 59.376

1: birds nest fern
10: unnamed tree

2: log bench
9: log bench
3: mahogany tree
7: 2 mahogany
trees, 1 sampaloc
4: tree
6: tree, college

5: stage
8: manhole

The table below shows the groups, their respective
coordinates, error and clue, and the correct answer to
what has been asked to be identified with the given
coordinates and clues.
Groups Answer
Groups 1 & 10 1: birds nest fern
10: unnamed tree
Groups 2 & 9
Groups 3 & 7

Groups 4 & 6

2: log bench
9: log bench
3: mahogany tree
7: 2 mahogany
trees, 1 sampaloc
4: tree
6: tree, college

Correct Answer/
Asplenium nidus
(birds nest fern/
pakpak lawin)
log bench
(mahogany tree)

Groups 5 & 8

5: stage
8: manhole


not really certain that this was the correct answer as

the affirmation of the answer was also equivocal.

* uncertain


Group 1 had correctly answered what was being

asked to be identified. Given the clue colony of 5
arboreal green, the members of the group were
probably certain in identifying the fern, Asplenium
nidus, because of the specificity and uniqueness of
the characteristic that there are no other
organism/thing which possesses such characteristic.
Given the same coordinates, error and clue, group 10
wasnt able to give the right answer. They had taken a
photo of a tree, not the fern, as their answer. We
believe that the cause of this error might have
possibly stemmed from the unfamiliarity of the term,
arboreal which means living in trees. They may be
confused also with the addition of the clue colony
of 5. This is vague as it can be interpreted that the
leaves are of colony of 5 leading to confusion.

With these results and uncertainties of the answers,

we had observed a number of factors which may
affect the reading. The first is the provision of clues.
The more clues given to the group, the easier for the
search. In groups 1 who had 3 clues and 2 and 9, who
had 2 clues, they were certain that the ferns and the
log bench, respectively, were the answer. Although in
our case, we might have been overanalyzed the clue
given, that it had made us doubt in our accurate
reading. Next factor is the GPS units used. We are
given 2 different units of GPS and we are not sure
which was used by the one who got the coordinates.
Like any other instruments, different GPS units may
give different data. Thus, it will be advisable if same
GPS unit will be used to locate. As a reminder before
using the GPS, if the transmitter is covered, errors
might happen. It was also advised to refrain from
moving, especially running, as it is not fast to update
your location and make it prone to inaccuracies.
Lastly, the number of satellites is a factor. Even
though the standard is 5 satellites, the more satellites,
the sharper the triangulation (and vice versa).

The groups 2 and 9 accurately identified the log

bench being asked to be located. Again, due to the
clue given beforehand large, dead, it may have
been an easy search for the two groups as there might
probably no other large and dead at the vicinity of the
area. As what Mr. Pavia said, if there was a dead cow
near the location, it will be harder to know precisely
which was being asked to be identified.
The groups 3 and 7 has identified the specific tree to
be identified. Given the clue tree, Group 7, our
group, had some uncertainties in finding the right
tree. Although it has been pointed an exact
coordinates in the mahogany tree which was being
asked to locate, the vicinity has a lot of mahogany
trees surrounding it and one sampaloc tree had made
its significance, thus we had added the Tamarindus
indica in one of our guessed answers.
Given no clues at all this time, groups 4 and 6 had not
located the sign which has been asked to be
identified. Answers of the groups were trees and
college letters near the chapel. If there was a clue, it
may have been easier to identify, however if the clue
was a sign, it would be also tricky, as there were 2
signs adjacent to each other in that location, thus it
has to be more specific.
As the previous groups, groups 5 and 8 were not
given a clue but both had given the same guesses
which are the stage and the manhole near it. It was

GPSMAP 76CSx: Mapping GPS with Sensors
Owners Manual. Taiwan: Garmin, 2005. Web.
TL Education Solutions Limited. Introduction to
Education, 2005. Print.