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Global Positioning System Activities

The Global Positioning System (GPS) provides accurate, continuous, worldwide, three-dimensional positioning, velocity, and precise timing measurements to a user located on the ground, in the air, or on, but not under, the water. The GPS handheld receiver is frequently used by a variety of people including military personnel, surveyors, boaters, pilots, hunters, hikers, and others.

Determining Coordinate Positions and Distances With a GPS Handheld Receiver

In this activity, students investigate the minimal number of satellite signals needed to determine a 2-dimensional position (latitude and longitude) on the earth. Students will also determine their position and calculate differences between positions.


Using a GPS Handheld Receiver to Determine the Perimeters of Polygons, Distance, and Speed

In this activity students use the Global Positioning System (GPS) handheld receiver to determine their track as they walk the perimeter of several polygons. Students will also calculate their average speed after walking a specified distance.


Using a GPS Handheld Receiver to Determine Distance and Area of Polygonal Plots

This activity explores how distances and areas of convex polygonal plots of land (and concave plots with modification) can be determined using a GPS, the Geometer's Sketchpad, and Excel.


Send comments or questions to Beth Cory at blc4j@virginia.edu.

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Last modified on January 2, 2002.