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GPS Machine Control: 5 Amazing Facts About GPS

In general, the Global Positioning System, or GPS, has greatly improved our world, improving navigation for individuals and the transportation industry. Within the construction industry, GPS machine control has made excavation and embankment easier and more efficient, but navigation and machine control aren’t the only uses for GPS. Here are a few fun facts about GPS in general, as well as some helpful information about our machine control files.

1. GPS Was Developed By The U.S. Government
The Russians, or rather the USSR, launched the world’s first man-made satellite (Sputnik) in 1957. The launch of Sputnik pushed our government into high gear in the space race and the idea of using satellites for military operations and intelligence gathering had obvious appeal, especially during the Cold War. Additionally, the government could see the advantages of having an accurate global navigation system in general, and by 1973, the Global Positioning System had been created. This system was built upon previous navigation systems, but was far more accurate.

2. Four Is The Magic Number
Our GPS satellites form what is known as a satellite constellation, and this constellation includes anywhere from 24 to about 30 satellites. However, in order to receive accurate location services, you need only four satellites to determine your location. Technically, you can find your position with just three satellites, but this is not as accurate. So whether you are using GPS machine control files, navigating a cargo ship or out and about on a geocaching adventure, four satellites is your magic number for accuracy.

3. There Are Thousands Of Satellites In Orbit
While 24 to 30 satellites form a constellation, there are actually more than 3,000 satellites orbiting Earth. Some are owned by governments and some are owned by private companies. Obviously, not all of these are used for GPS-related purposes, such as GPS machine control files. As a side note, some of these satellites are no longer working and just orbiting around the planet with no function.

4. A Tragedy Inspired Public Use Of GPS
GPS was owned and used exclusively by the government for many years. However, in 1983, the Soviet Union shot down a Korean Air Lines jet that accidentally had ventured into its airspace. Because this incident partially was caused by a navigation issue, President Regan decided that the U.S.-owned GPS should be accessible to everyone worldwide. From there, the GPS industry began to boom and in less than 20 years; GPS machine control for heavy equipment became available.

5. Worried About Sharks? GPS Can Help.
If you are tasked with moving earth, you might not think about sharks often, but after those Sharknado movies appeared, it has become very clear that sharks are a global threat. In reality, though, we love sharks and recognize their place in the world. However, GPS can help lifeguards spot sharks more easily, providing them with ample time to move beachgoers out of the water and back to the shore. Sharks are tagged on their fins and then tracked. Not only could this be helpful for safety reasons, it also helps us learn more about these animals in general, which can help with both conservation and safety efforts. GPS is used to track other wildlife to make it easier for scientists to study all types of animals in their natural habitats, and GPS also can be used to track livestock.

Of course, at EarthCalc, we aren’t tracking sharks or worried about espionage. Our focus is on providing our clients with quality GPS machine control files. Our team has more than 30 years of experience in the industry, and you can move dirt with confidence using our quality 3D files. We can work with just about any type of information you send us include hard copy plans, PDG and TIFF to name a few. It takes us about five days to complete a machine control project and our pricing starts as low as $500. To learn more, give us a call at (800) 765-1717 or email us at