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Where would we be without GPS? Most of us use it every day and don’t even think about it; for navigation, for location services, for internet calling…but how does it really work?

GPS Explained

GPS (aka Global Positioning System) uses satellites to position and map users 24/7, 365 days a year. It works in all weathers and is free to use, giving a real time, instant position to within approx. 10m to one single receiver.

If that went over your head, the longer explanation is that GPS satellites are positioned around the world. There are a number of different systems, including the EU’s Galileo Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), the GPS system operated by the US Government, BeiDou (China) and GLONASS (Russia).

GPS receivers collect signals from satellites in view, giving user position, velocity and time. The receiver measures the time delay for the signal to reach it, and collects measurements from 4 satellites at the same time to give latitude, longitude and altitude data, as well as time. These then give users a way to track their location in real time, making the mobile aspect of mapping and navigation work in real time.

GPS Outage Risks

GPS satellites are open to outages and we have seen this recently in the UK, with Galileo becoming unavailable in July 2019 and is, at this moment in time, still unavailable (Aug-2019). As it stands, all EU GPS users are now relying on the US GPS system, which the EU system was originally built to replace.

Nobody knows as yet what the outcome of Brexit will be, but it was announced by then-PM Theresa May in Nov 2018 that the UK would look to explore a “homegrown alternative” and build it’s own GNSS.

Same Day Delivery Relies on GPS

In terms of Same Day Delivery services, we’re always reliant on GPS, as this enables us to find the destinations we need to get to quickly and with (relative) ease (traffic conditions depending)! We would be lost without a sat nav, as well as standalone apps such as Google Maps which also use GPS to offer pedestrian mapping; invaluable in an area with limited parking! It’s safe to say that if we couldn’t use GPS services, we would find it really difficult to fulfil deliveries in our guaranteed same day delivery timescales, so from our perspective, all hail GPS!