13. Global Positioning System (GPS)
Let’s face it, getting lost sucks. Do you remember those days when we had to ask people around for direction? Or when buying a local map was on our traveling’s itinerary list? Thanks to GPS, we don’t have to anymore.
Back in 1973, the US military launched GPS project to help them during wars. Then they launched the first experimental GPS satellite in 1978. But only after 1983 GPS was available freely to public after President Ronald Reagan issued a directive for it. The trigger was when Boeing 747 of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 shot down with 269 passengers on board.
Applying this technology for public usage took years of research and development as well. Finally, Qualcomm announced their successful test of GPS on mobile phones in 2004. That was the beginning of all mapping systems we have in our smartphone today. Google map and Über are fine example of GPS-based applications we use every day.
This Global Positioning System helps us more than just finding direction. Without this technology, there would have been no automated vehicle or autopilot system. And this technology helps army and law enforcements in battles. Imagine those days when enemies’ location could not be tracked down. How many soldiers and officers risked their lives by going in blind?