Advantages and Disadvantages of GPS

GPS stands for Global Positioning System which was initially created for military usage. The first fully functional GPS was in 1995 in the US and was then included in vehicles in 1996. It is nothing but a group of satellites that revolves around the earth and recursively send messages to the earth's surface which are received by various devices to calculate the optimized location of the receiving device, this calculation requires information from at least 4 satellites which includes the coordinate positions and clock deviations. This is known as space technology.

It is implemented everywhere on the earth without 100% need for an internet connection but it surely works better with the internet. It uses a method called trilateration for its functioning. Several kinds of systems manage navigation, the most popular being Navstar which is an America-based system.

There are various uses of GPS, which are as follows −

  • Navigation − in military purposes it can be used to locate soldiers even in an unknown land.

  • Security − if a device gets lost, it can be tracked down with the help of GPS location results coming from the lost device.

  • Target tracking − tracking various targets can be done with the help of GPS.

  • Search and rescue − vehicles or people lost in any landscape can be located and rescued from anywhere.

  • Telephone lines − while we contact any emergency service from our cellular devices, they use the satellite information for our devices to know our location.

  • Remote sensing and GIS − by incorporating GPS with RS-GIS it can be applied to various fields like crop production, disaster management, military services, etc.


There are several advantages of GPS, which are as follows −

  • Navigation procedure − GPS assists users through a seamless navigation process to reach a destination.

  • Accuracy in surveys − It provides maximum accuracy while conducting any survey process.

  • Minimum error − In GPS, Errors occurring are very less as any kind of manual operation is also easy.

  • Dependency − There is no dependency on the weather.

  • Path direction − It provides direction to the boats even in the middle of big water bodies.

  • Locate nearest places − It helps to find nearby hotels or petrol pumps.

  • Highly developed technology − Technically advanced methods and also updated with every new technology in the market.

  • Cost-effective − It is a very cost-effective application and can be used by normal students or professionals also.

  • Track and monitor vehicles − It can monitor any specific device or vehicle by placing a tracker in the object.

  • Remote access − Remote places are much more accessible due to the seamless integration of the software.

  • Real-time results − It always updates with real-time results thus saving time in checking every critical path.

  • Communication − It can also be used for communication to know the real-time location of any device.

  • Weather forecasting − It can be used as a weather forecast as it also checks the humidity in the atmosphere for a particular location.

  • Natural disasters − It can also detect any movements in the tectonic plates and hence can produce a forecast about natural disasters.

  • Track malicious activities − It can be used to detect criminals by appending it to the devices they are using and tracking down all of their moves.


The disadvantages of GPS are as follows −

  • Proper hardware or software − A specific type of hardware and software should be used for its implementation

  • Hamper GPS results − If any kind of atmospheric disruptions occur in the earth's orbits, it can hamper the results of the GPS

  • Correct placement of satellite − If the placement or the satellite system is not correct it may lead to poor results

  • Security leaks − There may be risks to the privacy of some people or devices as the location details are open to the internet

  • Blockage in the path of the image − Any structural obstacle in the path of the satellite image or information gathering can be given results to inaccurate results

  • Need for power − It needs constant support from power sources.

  • Dependency − The US defense department has full control over its working and hence dependency occurs for other functional countries

  • Not completely accurate − Though it is very much advanced, it fails to predict the exact reality of the ground

  • Threats − As the input solely depends on radio signals, it is very prone to nuclear weapons or radio interference

  • Not completely reliable − It is not correct to completely follow the GPS results as it may lead to accidents as a mirror image of the ground reality is not produced by GPS

  • Requires adequate satellites − If there is a restriction on the current number of satellites, the results produced can also be hampered

  • Results not accurate in extensive locations − At extensive locations, it may not work properly where a physical map comes into play

  • Cost for features − If the number of features increases, the cost also increases

  • Does not pierce solid objects − The GPS signals are not able to penetrate any solid structure like walls or buildings

  • Requires advanced devices − The devices it will be installed upon should be technically smart and advanced


Hence, the working process of GPS mainly consists of 3 things: satellite, receiver, and ground stations. For the correct working state of GPS, 32 satellites operate over the earth's surface every time. The receiver accepts the radio signals from the satellite and does calculations upon them to mainly understand two things: the clock timing and the coordinate locations. From the various advantages and disadvantages discussed above, it can be inferred that GPS has a huge range of applications if used correctly without any illegal or corrupted aim.

Updated on: 05-May-2023


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