Guides / GPS Tracking for Fleets / Frequently Asked Questions / How long has GPS been around?

How long has GPS been around?

According to, GPS technology can be dated back to the mid-1960s, or the “Sputnik” era once scientists could track the satellite with shifts in its radio signal. This became known as the “Doppler Effect.” 

By the early 1970s, the Department of Defense (DoD) worked to ensure a stable navigation system and decided to use satellites. By 1978, the DOD launched its first Navigation System with Timing and Ranging (NAVSTAR) satellite. 

By February of 2010, the U.S. Air Force was awarded the contract to develop the GPS Next Generation Operational Control System (OCX) to improve accuracy and availability of GPS technology and modernization.

What is GPS used for?

Throughout its history, GPS tracking technology has been used by the US Government and armed forces for national defense and homeland security. GPS has also been used for personal use for navigation and route planning. 

GPS tracking also has many commercial uses, like:

1. Tracking vehicles

Tracking for passenger or commercial vehicles helps increase driver satisfaction with their vehicles while reducing fuel expenses as individuals can take more efficient routes to their destinations.

2. Tracking commercial fleets

Commercial fleet companies use GPS to track, monitor and dispatch large fleets of vehicles, assets, and trailers. 

3. Heavy machinery operations

Heavy machinery companies in industries like mining and construction use GPS tracking to: 

  • Create pre-programmed site plans for drivers
  • Achieve close tolerance for position, gradient, and level
  • Avoid delays that can slow a project and cause unforeseen expenses

4. Agricultural industry uses

Farmers use GPS tracking technology to track assets and for precision farming, field mapping, soil sampling, crop scouting, and yield mapping. Through a more precise application of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, farmers can also reduce expenses and see a higher crop yield while being more environmentally friendly.

5. Planning efficient routes

GPS tracking technology provides real-time asset positioning to help find the best available route and the expected arrival time. Drivers are also aided by turn-by-turn directions and warnings about weather, traffic, and other hazards.