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geocaching/ GPS history

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Just by chance today I came across an article written in 2000 on GPS's

The guy who wrote the article actually went to the heads of military in their top secret bunkers to learn about this for his article.


There is some of the history on the Groundspeak website.

Here's some more.


The Global Positioning System, which was developed after the Vietnam war was not intended for civilian use from the start. It began because of all the soldiers who got lost in the jungle in that war.


The first GPS satellites were launched in 1978.

In 1983, after the Korean Air Lines Flight 007 was shot down by the Russian air force, when it passed over the Kamchatka Penninsula, President Reagan decided to make the system avaible without charge to everyone in the world. The Korean flight would not have been shot down if they had better access to better navigation systems.


GPS system got it's first large scale usage in the Persian Gulf War in 1991, when 9,000 GPS units were distributed to soldiers.

GPS guided missles began being used in 1999.


In March 1990 our government installed "selective availability" to make their access more accurate then anyone else's, so they would still have the advantage in times of war. This made civilian use not very accurate.


By Spring of 2000 US researchers and also foreign governments had become so good at correcting for the errors of selective availability, that on May 1st 2000, Pres. Clinton announced the signal would no longer be corrupted.


Then, as we know from the Groundspeak website, a man from Oregon decided to test the new capabilities and hid a 5 gal bucket in the woods for his friends to find.


The article says the very first GPS unit was five feet tall, weighted hundreds of pounds, had antenna and many cables coming off of it that led to a generator.


Back in those days, it was hard for people to believe that there would be a day when they would be handheld and owned by millions.


The stop of selective availability was one thing that lowered prices of the GPS units. It was cheaper to not have to include the methods of getting around this.


OK, so there you have it.

The full article may still be available, I don't know.

It is the Nov 27th 2000 issue of the New Yorker.

this article by Michael Specter, is called "No Place to Hide"

Little did they know this would open up millions of places to hide!!!!

Edited by Sol seaker
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