Global Positioning Systems and Air Cargo

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This paper describes the concept of the Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and how they improve the Air Cargo industry. In this paper we will discuss how GPS came to be and how it is used in every day air travel. The paper will also explain how the GPS systems improve the Air Cargo industry in tracking the shipment from one hub to another.

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a system of navigation based on the integration of 24 satellites, 21 working systems and 3 backups, that relay information regarding craft position and velocity to users (Colborn, 1992). First initiated as a program by the US Department of Defense through their Navstar system, GPS was deployed and fully operational in 1994 and speculations of the utility of this system immediately came into view in a number of industries. At the time of its deployment, one third of the $100 million contracts for GPS were set aside for civilian applications. It is not surprising, then, that GPS has become a prevalent process in the development of air and land and sea based operations requiring the tracking of civilian air, land and sea craft. As a result GPS has increased the reliability of mapping systems (Colborn,1992). As a result, this system has become an invaluable tool for the air cargo industry, based in their heavy reliance on effective aircraft control systems.

A number of air cargo companies, including UPS and FedEx, have determined a focus on the use of GPS systems to support a number of operational components, including tracking of aircraft, precision landing and support for problems like terrain evaluation and hijacking issues. In order to understand how GPS has been incorporated into the air cargo system, it is necessary to consider the progression of the GPS process in air cargo and air passenger systems in general and then evaluate the emerging use of GPS specifically for the development of support systems and corresponding protocols in the air cargo industry. As early as 1992,...
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