There is always a part of you that loves exploring, which can be anything, from concepts to places. The internet has made it possible for you to learn about nearly everything, while the Global Positioning System (GPS) had made exploring places feasible. Now you no longer have to go in blind or ask locals when you can simply use GPS. It shows you the exact position on Earth 24×7, irrespective of weather conditions. The system consists of space technology, i.e., satellites orbiting Earth. It is used for finding locations, surveying, disaster management, emergency cases, and many other purposes. With the overview of GPS done, let’s take a look at its advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of GPS
The applications of GPS are endless, right from determining locations to tracking objects. Here are some of the advantages of GPS.
GPS allows the monitoring of vehicles and other devices in real-time. What happens here is that the GPS is placed in the object you want to track. That way, you can know the exact location of that object. What’s more, this can be used for fixed and portable things alike. The direct use of this system is in tracking the movement or progress of delivery vehicles. Additionally, if you want to move high-value assets, you can securely do so using a GPS.
In recent years, we have seen an increase in developments of software and applications integrating GPS. The undeniable advantage of this is that things and places became more accessible than they ever were. You no longer have to carry maps or pamphlets with directions to reach your destination. You have a GPS that covers all your location needs. Along with this, it allows you to search for nearby places in a few steps. In fact, technology has advanced so quickly that people with disabilities can now benefit from GPS daily.
3. Saves time
GPS provides real-time data, allowing you to check for traffic updates. Waiting long hours in traffic wastes a lot of time. From a business perspective, the lost hours are equal to liability that can cost them in the long run. GPS acts as a time-saver in this case. It provides traffic updates so that drivers can choose the route accordingly. This way, it allows them to reach the destination using the critical path, saving on fuel, man-hours, and time.
We have seen a significant reduction in the pricing of GPS devices since their launch. Now businesses can invest in GPS and cut down on operational costs. This way, they can generate more profit, which was otherwise impacted by a list of unnecessary expenditures. This is especially true for businesses where tracking is at the core. In other words, these businesses can improve their efficiency while simultaneously reducing costs.
Most of you have used GPS for communication, whether at some point in your life or regularly. The thing is — you might not have realized it. When you book a cab using mobile applications, you don’t have to call the driver to ask their location. You can simply check it through the applications using GPS. The same goes for orders of just about anything, as you get the option to track the driver’s locations. For that reason, this positioning technology has applications in fleet management. To summarize, GPS allows you to communicate effectively, eventually saving your time and efforts otherwise wasted on waiting for location updates.
6. GPS Helps with Navigation
GPS helps people with navigation. It is a technology that gets used in the commercial sector and for personal use. Our article, how GPS works, will guide you through its process. Even the defense sector of a country relies on GPS for navigation. With the improvement of technology, even our smartphones can access this technology, which is the basis of many ride-sharing companies. The power of GPS allows people to explore new regions with confidence and reduces the risk of confusion.
Disadvantages of GPS
GPS comes with some downsides, like any other technology. Here are some drawbacks of GPS.
1. Privacy concerns
Not everyone uses this tool for what it is designed for. The purpose plays an important role, meaning that wrongdoers use GPS as well. You don’t have to mention why you want GPS while making a purchase. Some people take advantage of this and use it for tracking people and objects without their knowledge. This puts people’s privacy at risk, forcing them to become more careful. Not only that; some organizations want to integrate GPS tracking to increase the productivity of their employees. Unsurprisingly, this led to privacy concerns.
You can undoubtedly find the exact location of places using GPS, but you cannot rely on it blindly. The reason is, some obstacles might block the satellite signal, resulting in inaccuracy. These obstacles can be anything from trees to snowfields to structures. Other errors can occur when the satellite signal is traveling from space toward Earth, especially through the ionosphere. To sum up, a combination of errors with a satellite and a receiver can give incorrect results.
3. Battery dependent
The most talked-about issue we face with technology over traditional means is that the former is mostly battery dependent. Take the example of finding locations. The traditional method is using a paper map, which doesn’t require a power source. In contrast, GPS depends on the battery — if you do not supply power, your GPS device won’t function. Furthermore, even though you can use GPS without the internet, it is better to establish a connection to get real-time information. Otherwise, you can only access preloaded maps, which may not be relevant every time.
4. Reliance on the US Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense developed GPS, so they have control over it. That is to say, GPS is dependent on them. If they want to restrict its usage, they can do so at any time. Moreover, they designed the system for military and navigation purposes before it was made available to the public. Since then, we have been using it for tracking. To reemphasize, its reliance on the US Department of Defense means denial of access shouldn’t surprise you.
Most social networking platforms use GPS for sharing locations. This way, you can easily monitor the location of others through their posts. This feature can also be used for commercial exploitation. Businesses can see users’ precise locations and show them advertisements accordingly. Various information such as habits, preferences, and buying behaviors of target customers are collected based on their locations, too. This data is compiled and used for selling products in intrusive ways afterward.
6. Different from Ground Reality
No matter how powerful GPS is, it isn’t a fail-safe technology. And the fact remains that the ground reality can always differ from what a GPS predicts. For example, you are traveling, and the GPS shows the ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) half an hour later. But this doesn’t take into account the actual happenings on the road. There can be a traffic issue, road blockage, a rally, flooding, or any accidents which can delay your travel. Hence, GPS, while necessary, shouldn’t be trusted blindly. There are even cases when people following the GPS to the T have found themselves lost.