The Global Positioning System or GPS has transformed the way we view the world. Originally GPS was used for military purposes. Later it became an essential lifesaving tool for adventurers, yachts people or anyone who might need rescuing and was extremely expensive.
Now we have GPS just about everywhere. It is on our phones free of charge, tracking our movements and informing us if there is a pizza restaurant nearby. It helps us avoid getting lost, route finding and a thousand and one other applications which have crept in over time.
So who invented GPS Technology? Can this momentous invention ever have been created by just one person? Let’s take a look.
The truth is that it can be hard to pin down the true inventor so if you want to know who invented GPS Technology it can be difficult to find out. The technology was developed by the US Military; However GPS was also being worked on in the UK from the Cold War onwards. Did the two nations share their research and technology? Were other countries like Russia also developing their own GPS technology elsewhere?
There is no record that they did however, we do know that in the UK, scientists and engineers were working on global positioning as far back as the 1960s although there is no record of this now and the research was protected by the Official Secrets Act.
Who invented GPS technology according to the USA?
A cold war scientist called Robert Easton worked on many inventions of the time. He invented a time based navigational aid called TIMATION which used passive ranging, circular orbits, and space-borne high precision clocks synchronized to a master clock. These features are vital in any modern GPS.
Robert Easton was credited with this invention in 2004 when he was awarded the United States National Medal of Technology and Innovation. This honor was awarded in recognition of “extensive pioneering achievements in spacecraft tracking, navigation, and timing technology that led to the development of the NAVSTAR-Global Positioning System.”
Two other US scientists were also credited with inventing GPS. So it seems that who invented GPS technology depends on whom you ask.
These were Dr Ivan Getting and Bradford Parkinson who both were instrumental in inventing the NAVESTAr Global positioning system. There have been some disputes about this led by the son of Robert Easton who has always attested that the invention came from his father alone.