Today in History – December 8, 1993 – First functional GPS (Global Positioning System) was developed. The technology initially developed for military use eventually made its way into our daily lives- most notably in cars and cell phones. Using information from a number of satellites orbiting the Earth (originally with 24, now a total of 30), a GPS receiver can pinpoint your location in real time with the help of atomic clocks, which makes this accurate to one billionth of a second. The GPS manufacturing and development industry has launched into a multi-billion dollar industry with its vast number of practical applications- from locating lost ships at sea to studying earthquakes by monitoring plate tectonics like the people at SCIGN (Southern California Integrated GPS Network). Soon enough, they will be available in credit card sizes, making it even more convenient to carry one around.
For more information, see the Engineering Pathway’s educational resources on GPS and geomatics. For related curricula, visit the Information Technology Education, Computer Engineering Education, Electrical Engineering Education , Surveying and Geomatics Engineering Education disciplinary communities.
Also on this date in 2004- After popularizing the PC in the ’80s, IBM sells its PC business to a Chinese company. The computer industry giant decided to let go of its retail computer division in order to concentrate on software development and providing services at a larger scale.