That's why my mobile phone knows where I am

When it comes to mobile phone navigation, the abbreviation "GPS" has now established itself as a catchword for determining the exact location. The phone knows exactly where we are and uses this function for navigation or to determine our exact speed. But how does...

What does the abbreviation "GPS" stand for?

The abbreviation "GPS" stands for "Global Positioning System".

Why does the mobile phone know how fast I am?

This is relatively simple. GPS location data is determined at very short intervals and displayed in the navigation app. The system calculates the time needed between two location determinations, recognises the distance travelled and can thus calculate how fast you are travelling.

How does the system work technically?

A large number of GPS satellites circle around the globe. They constantly transmit their position and the current time to the earth. For a smartphone to be able to determine its own position, it must be in contact with at least four GPS satellites. Of course, the position is determined even more precisely if there is contact with more than four satellites. The smartphone calculates its own position from the positions sent by the satellites. The decisive factor is how long the signal takes to reach the phone from the satellites.

Where else is GPS used?

Smartphones are not the only devices that use GPS to determine location. The system is also used in tablets, stand-alone navigation devices, smartwatches and even hiking and cycling computers to determine the exact location. In addition, GPS is used in seafaring, air travel and even in investigations of suspected criminals.