Global Positioning System (GPS).
The US government operates a global network of orbiting satellites which broadcasts positional data down to the Earth below; the Global Positioning System.
Small portable GPS receivers can be used to pick up these satellite broadcasts for the purpose of determining the users current position on the planet. GPS devices operate by triangulating the satellite signals and are capable of reporting latitude and longitude to a very precise level. The US government also has the ability to alter the precision of the results by programming the satellites to encrypt or not encrypt portions of the data stream.
While this may seem rather esoteric, some high-end professional digital cameras are capable of interfacing with GPS receivers. These cameras are, therefore, able to record the precise latitude and longitude of each photograph taken; a very useful feature for photojournalists, researchers, nature photographers, etc. The GPS data is saved with the photograph using EXIF tags.
Entry last updated 2002-04-05. Term 560 of 1487.
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