GPS Accuracy Improves Worldwide

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Improvements to the overall GPS navigation system are expected to be completed this spring. Average GPS users who depend on these devices for street navigation will be unaware of the changes. The improvements, however, will give American troops a drastic advantage over current systems.

 Originally, GPS or Global Positioning System was a project developed by the Air Force and intended for military use only. Safeguarded as top-secret, the GPS satellites were found to be accurate to the millionth of a second, sending time signals and radio waves back to Earth. Once the Air Force realized how effective the satellites were, they opened up the system to the public, causing the popularity of GPS to soar. Today, there are over one billion customers, many of whom access GPS through their Smartphone.
The improvements, which started back in January of 2010, will benefit troops in Afghanistan by closing the current gaps in the system. The terrain of Afghanistan is especially challenging because of canyons and gorges throughout the land. For troops in Afghanistan, the GPS signal is unable to reach them during crucial times. The Army is supplying GPS guided mortars to our soldiers in Afghanistan. The typical mortar was a simple explosive device which was dropped into a tube and was launched with it hit the bottom. The problem with it was that its accuracy depended on the angle of the tube as well as the wind conditions at the time of the launch.

The updated version, called the APMI, uses the standard high explosive, 120mm mortar body and installs a GPS computer and receiver in the front most end. This allows for greater precision and control of the mortar's directional fins, ensuring a much higher degree of target accuracy. In other words, the higher the degree of target accuracy, the lower the amount of civilian collateral damage due to their inverse proportional relationship. In addition to its improved accuracy, APMI also reduces the frequency with which the soldiers are supplied with ammunition. In the past a unit might have to carry 25 high-explosive rounds in order to take out a single target. That's because their inherent inaccuracy typically requires volleys of fire in order to destroy a target. With the improved accuracy offered by APMI, it may take only one or two rounds to eliminate the same target.

Getting back to improving GPS accuracy worldwide, in order to fix the issue of dropped signals and poor accuracy, the navigation satellites are being spread apart to cover larger areas of the Earth. To accomplish this, months of work and intricate math problems are involved to make the small, even minuscule moves in the sky. Once completed, the Global Positioning System will provide the most comprehensive coverage in its history.

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