Digitalization and the GPS
by Dania Jafar
Information about It
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based navigation system made up of a network of 24 satellites placed into orbit by the U.S. Department of Defense. GPS was originally intended for military applications, but in the 1980s, the government made the system available for civilian use. GPS works in any weather conditions, anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day. There are no subscription fees or setup charges to use it.
By using the GPS, as with any digital device, we leave a digital footprint. For example, as discussed in lecture, Google’s location history, which is enabled through the GPS, gives us a history of where we were on different days.
Death of Distance
That distance between the satellite and receiver doesn’t matter as the radio signals, which have a frequency of 1575.42 MHz, travel at virtually the speed of light.
Economies of Scale
Although it cost billions of dollars to create and put the 24 satellites into orbit to create the GPS system (as well as to maintain them), there is no cost to utilize the service. Anyone around the world with a GPS or access to a service such as Google Maps, can use it for free. This is similar to the “copy and paste” concept discussed in class where although it may be very costly to create media such as movies and music, they can be duplicated and used for free. In this case, there is no need to even reproduce it, as the signals are ever-present in the sky.
This is the automation of information communication processes guided through algorithms. We see this in the GPS when we have an A.I. guider such as Google’s Siri. As a result of the programmed algorithms, the guider not only directs us, but also informs us of delays, faster routes, redirects us if we miss a turn, etc.
Effects of Digitalization
All of the mentioned effects are related and a result of the inherent outcomes of digitization
The advent of the GPS for commercial use sparked a revolution where people began using this technology instead of the traditional maps. This has provided great convenience and has of course made it a lot easier getting to places! I am certainly thankful for it!
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Public - 7/10/16, 11:48 PM