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Introduction to the Global Positioning System


Approximately 23 minutes

Course Description:

The course "Introduction to the Global Positioning System" is designed to provide you with a basic understanding of the Global Positioning System, its components, and how they work together to provide users with a navigation, mapping, and timing tool that can determine and record 3-dimensional positions anywhere on or near the Earth's surface. Topics include overview of system and general applications, GPS satellites and receivers, satellite ranging and position measurement, sources of error in position measurements, ways to improve accuracy of position measurements, and advances in GPS technology.

This course was created by Pacific EMPRINTS at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Anthropology. Creation of the course was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Grant No. T01HP6427-0100.


The material covered in this course is related, in part, to the following capabilities from the Homeland Security Target Capabilities List:
  1. Common: Communications
  2. Common: Planning
  3. Prevent: Information Gathering and Recognition of Indicators & Warnings
  4. Prevent: Information Sharing and Dissemination
  5. Prevent: Intelligence Analysis and Production
  6. Protect: Epidemiologic Surveillance and Investigation
  7. Respond: Critical Resource Logistics & Distribution
  8. Respond: Emergency Operations Center Management
  9. Respond: Emergency Public Information and Warning
  10. Respond: Environmental Health
  11. Respond: Mass Care (Sheltering, Feeding, Related services)
  12. Respond: On-site Incident Management
  13. Respond: Responder Health and Safety
  14. Respond: Urban Search and Rescue
  15. Respond: WMD/Hazardous Materials Response and Decontamination

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this course, participants will be able to:
  1. List and describe the basic components of the Global Positioning System
  2. Understand and describe how the Global Positioning System calculates positions
  3. List and describe the common sources of error in GPS position measurements
  4. List and describe techniques for improving GPS position accuracy
  5. Describe recent and forthcoming advances in GPS technology

Target Audiences:

First Responders, Practicing Health Professionals, Administrators, Emergency/Disaster Planners, Emergency Medical Services personnel, Other Public Health personnel

Certificate of Completion:

A Certificate of Completion is available to be printed for this course upon completion of the post-test with a score of 80% or higher.

Cost: FREE*

*subject to change without notice.