“What is GPS?” is the first question when we tell people what we do. To make it easier for us, we give the answer here.

To know the answer on the question: ``What is GPS?`` you need to know the definition of GPS

GPS is an simple abbreviation. It stands for Global Positioning System. This does not say it completely. When we look into the dictionary we see several definitions. When we look at the first definition according the dictionary we see what GPS means. It means a global system of U.S. navigational satellites developed to provide precise positional and velocity data and global time synchronization for air, sea and land travel.

Explanation of this first definition

We like things simple. That is also the reason why we developed Apglos Survey Wizard. You can download this land survey app from the Google Play Store. It is the easiest land survey app based on global positioning in the field. To make the first definition more simple we will explain it.

The USA put many satellites in space. Those satellites fly circles around the earth. They send some signals to earth. When you receive those signals you can determine your exact position on earth.

Other definitions that tell more about: What is GPS?

The dictionary gives two more definitions:

  • an electronic system that uses navigational satellites to determine the position of a vehicle, person, etc.;
  • a receiver that determines its position by analyzing the satellite signals it receives.

These definitions are both related to the first definition. They just tell that the systems that use these navigational satellites are also called GPS.

So is that everything?

The definition mentioned in the dictionary does not cover the whole story. Of course the USA launched their global positioning satellites. That was the first navigational satellite constellation. After the USA other countries also launched navigational satellites. For example, Russia has their GLONASS satellite constellation. Besides that Europe has GLONASS and China has Beidou.

At the moment most global positioning receivers can use the signals of all those navigational satellite constellations to determine an exact position. That is also the reason why they are called GNSS receivers now.

Since GPS was the first navigational satellite constellation the whole system of determining an exact position with satellite signals is called GPS.

The things to do with GPS

One of the common things that are done with global positioning is navigation. Almost every mobile phone has an inbuilt GPS receiver. This is how you can navigate with your phone.


Apglos is a specialist in land surveyment software based on GPS. With global positioning you can also do accurate land surveying. The easiest land survey software is called Apglos Survey Wizard.


You can download Apglos Survey Wizard from the Google Play Store and try it for free for 30 days. Just click on the button above.