The technology of the Global Positioning System is allowing for huge changes in society. The applications using GPS are constantly growing. The cost of the receivers is dropping while at the same time the accuracy of the system is improving. This affects everyone with things such as faster Internet speed and safer plane landings.
Even though the system was originally developed for military purposes, civil sales now exceed military sales (See Figure 1 below).
On May 1, 2000 President Clinton announced that the government will no longer scramble signals from the GPS satellites. This means that civilians will be able to enjoy the high accuracy that the military has had for years. The DGPS techniques and the equipment needed to use them will no longer be necessary to get the same effects on accuracy. The affects on society will be:
more reliable and accurate measurements
less costly to corporations - since the error removing equipment will no longer be needed
more affordable and accessible to consumers
greater incentive for the development of new uses
The accuracy should increase ten-fold, from 100 meter to 10 meter accuracy. The $8 billion dollar a year GPS industry should also see a much larger than expected increase in sales.
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