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What is GPS?

The U.S. Goverment's Global Positioning System, or GPS, provides accurate location and time information virtually anywhere in the world to anyone with a receiver. GPS satellites orbiting the earth send signals that can be picked up and used by GPS receivers. Software in the receiver translates the data into a particular "three-dimensional" location (plus the precise time.)

For most people that means they can purchase a portable navigational aid, or possibly have one installed more permanently in their vehicle. Commercial vendors add software features such as point-to-point map displays showing a good route to take advantage of this data, but there are many other applications as well in aviation, agriculture, public safety, military, and naturally, surveying and mapping.  

GPS is much more than that hand-held device.

Surveyors require a different sort of equipment, of course.  People are very concerned with the boundaries of their property, and so "survey-grade" GPS-enabled equipment relies on multiple receivers to further improve accuracy, reliability, and precision well beyond what's necessary to help a driver locate a street address.

Using GPS-capable survey equipment it's possible for one or two surveyors to efficiently accomplish in days what might have taken weeks with an entire team using older techniques and tools. GPS surveying is unaffected by weather or lighting, and is not constrained to line-of-sight visibility between reference stations (unfortunately, the satellite signals can be blocked by forest canopy, so more traditional tools and techniques are still necessary in certain settings.) Older methods were prone to errors, particularly when one survey built off the work of another - now precise positional data paired with special recievers and protocols for surveying has improved the accuracy of surveys and mapmaking dramatically.

We use several different GPS enhanced tools that take advantage of the highly accurate data to provide you with quick, precise, reliable surveys and maps. If you want a more detailed explanation of the satellites and signals, and other ways they're being used, visit: www.gps.gov

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