Individuals who are interested in GPS can find training programs through educational institutions, government agencies and employers. The knowledge they gain can prepare them for a variety of careers in many different sectors.
Definition and Function of GPS
GPS is an acronym for ''global positioning system''. It is a satellite-based system that was developed by the U.S. Department of Defense to locate positions on Earth, at any time and in all kinds of weather. GPS is used for mapping, timing, surveying, military activities and navigation. In order to complete these tasks, a ground-based GPS receiver tracks radio signals from satellites orbiting Earth. The device calculates a location based on the time it takes for the signal to reach the receiver antenna.
GPS Training Programs
There are a variety of educational options for individuals who are interested in learning more about global positioning systems. Some of these include:
- Workshops and certificate programs at colleges and universities
- Training programs offered by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Park Service
- Courses within broader geographic information systems (GIS) degree or certificate programs
- On-site, employer-sponsored learning programs offered by professional organizations
Common course topics in GPS training programs include:
- Creating routes
- Fundamentals of geodesy
- GPS receiver functions
- Map projections
- Accuracy issues
- Survey data adjustments
Professions Using GPS Technology
The advent of GPS technology has changed the mapping, navigation and surveying professions. According to PayScale.com in April 2017, some of the jobs held by individuals with GPS skills included GIS analyst, GIS specialist, land surveyor and survey technician. The median salary for these positions ranged from $49,163-$65,890 annually. These professionals may find work in a variety of industries in which GPS technology is used, including the following:
- Urban planning
- Landscape architecture
- Natural resource management
- Public works
Land Surveyor Career
Of the careers that PayScale.com listed, the most common job for GPS experts was land surveyor. These professionals use GPS and other technology to determine property boundaries. Using their GPS expertise, surveyors travel to sites and evaluate land records to locate boundary lines and measure distances. Based on their findings, they may prepare plots, maps and reports. This information is often used for legal purposes, such as for deeds, leases and even court testimony. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for surveyors are expected to decline by 2% from 2014-2024, but prospects are expected to be best for individuals who have completed training programs, especially at the bachelor's degree level.
GPS training programs are available in a variety of formats, including non-degree training and degree-granting academic programs. They can help prepare GPS experts for a wide range of careers in many different sectors; one possible job is land surveyor.