The Global Positioning System (GPS), originally Navstar GPS,[1] is a satellite-based radionavigation system owned by the United States government and operated by the United States Air Force.[2] It is a global navigation satellite system that provides geolocation and time information to a GPS receiver anywhere on or near the Earth where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites.[3] Obstacles such as mountains and buildings block the relatively weak GPS signals.
The GPS does not require the user to transmit any data, and it operates independently of any telephonic or internet reception, though these technologies can enhance the usefulness of the GPS positioning information. The GPS provides critical positioning capabilities to military, civil, and commercial users around the world. The United States government created the system, maintains it, and makes it freely accessible to anyone with a GPS receiver.

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GPS device review

A good way to get involved in the OpenStreetMap project is to upload GNSS (GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, BeiDou/COMPASS, etc.) traces. Recorded by your satellite receiver or mobile phone, the typical trace is a record of your location every second, or every meter (“tracelog”). Convert it to GPX format if it wasn’t done for you automatically. The collected data can be displayed as a background of thin lines or little dots within the map editor. These lines and dots can then be used to help you add map features (such as roads and footpaths), similar to tracing from aerial imagery.

Thinking of getting a GPS receiver to add data to OSM? These reviews are here to help. If you think about other mapping related hardware too, look at the Hardware Guide.

If you buy a GPS unit via any of our retail partners then up to 10% of the purchase price will be donated to OpenStreetMap. This helps to help keep our servers running. See the Shop for details.

The correct term is GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System), though the most common system GPS have become the name most people use (if you go to your local shop and ask for a GNSS, the clerk will probably not know what you mean).

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