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What are the precedents of GPS?

The GPS determines a specific geographical position in seconds, but is not able to establish a precise indoor location.

We have already described the indoor positioning technologies (IPS), their services and solutions and we have also made a glossary of basic concepts. But… where do these technologies come from?

We can say that the history of IPSs begins with the birth of the first universal positioning systems, the predecessor of the current the Global Positioning System (GPS). As the name indicates, these technologies allow us to know the position of a device anywhere in the world, with a high precision and in a matter of seconds.

The first positioning system was released in 1965 with the name of “TRANSIT system”. It was an strategic technology created to allow american military forces to know their position anywhere in the world. This initial system, developed by NASA and the Department of Defense, relied only on six satellites to determine geographic locations. Therefore, despite being a great advance and being useful, this first solution was unable to offer constant availability and needed a few hours to provide a correct position. We would like to mention that weather conditions did not affect this first GPS predecessor, which was able to provide global coverage despite its low infrastructure. Meanwhile, Russia developed its own positioning system, called “TSICADA”, with more or less the same features as the USA version.

The need to overcome their enemies led the Department of Defense to order 28 twin satellites to Rockwell, the first of which was launched in 1978. Finally, in December 1983  the GPS  was released, a new technology able to determine geographic locations with a one meter accuracy. This new technology could also be incorporated into missiles, bombs and vehicles. Obviously, the use of the first GPS was limited to the military sector.

However, in 1984 the destruction of an american passenger plane that entered the Soviet Union Territory lead President Ronald Reagan to allow the use of the use of GPS technology in non-millitary applications. Slowly, more and more sophisticated and accurate GPS devices were introduced in the market, until the GPS we know nowadays.

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