How does the global positioning system impact science todayHow does the global positioning system impact science today
Global positioning, or GPS, has been of huge benefit to many different disciplines within the sciences. GPS makes it easy to pinpoint a location and return to it accurately, which allows for accurate mapping and monitoring of ecosystem features all the way down to individual plants. GPS also allows the movements of animals with radio location collars to be mapped, and the maps analysed, combined, and shared rapidly and easily, which greatly facilitates finding patterns and interactions.
GPS has made mapping of physical features such as elevation, soil type, and bedrock geology seamless, so that the different maps can be combined and the data used in novel ways.
Along the lines of what post #4 is talking about, I actually wore a GPS tracker for a week this month. My movements were being tracked for a study about the walkability of rural towns and its connection to the amount of physical activity that is done by the inhabitants of those towns. It was a collaboration between urban planning schools and epidemiologists so I think it counts as science.
Since GPS systems have become more inexpensive, scientists can get assistance from more and more nonscientists by providing them with trackers. For example, I have heard of programs where scientists gave trackers to schoolchildren to assist them in scientific data gathering and experiments.
GPS has also made it easier to locate and predict weather patterns. Before GPS, there needed to be people on the ground to report conditions and give coordinates; now, receivers planted in weather stations can transmit accurate figures quickly at any time.