Guiding Profits

Eight Ways the Global Positioning System Drives Billions in Economic Activity

Guiding Profits

Guiding Profits

What do online dating and the construction industry have in common? Both see significant economic benefits from using the Global Positioning System (GPS.)

A new report from the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Advisory Board shows that annually, commercial applications of GPS are responsible for approximately $68.7 billion of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a measure of the size of our nation's economy. Here are some highlights from the estimates:


Precison Farming

The seeds of farming's future are being planted by GPS. Auto-steering farm machinery that applies seed and fertilizer relies on GPS for guidance. The technology helps farmers realize higher yields at lower costs.


Location-Based Services

Location-based services use GPS signals to give mobile apps the ability to precisely pinpoint the location of whomever is using them. Without GPS, your Uber driver couldn't locate you so quickly, Google Maps would still be on paper, Tindr would never know your soul mate is only a few blocks away -- and the companies selling those services wouldn't be worth a combined $451 billion



In construction, the “dig once” concept means using precision equipment and data to prevent expensive re-work caused when crews find surprises underground. Modern construction methods depend on GPS-guided equipment and location information to ensure efficiency and safety at construction sites around the world.


Land Surveying

The days of measuring distance and elevation with chains and ropes are over. GPS-enabled devices are used for almost all modern surveying work, delivering 45-55 percent cost savings and huge advances in accuracy and precision when compared to traditional methods.


Air Transportation

Fewer carbon emissions, fewer flight delays, and fewer passengers with frayed nerves. GPS is helping the aviation industry achieve all these goals while adding an estimated $1.3 trillion in annual economic activity and generating more than 10 million jobs. When fully implemented, the Federal Aviation Administration's GPS-enabled NextGen air traffic control system will route flights more efficiently, saving the industry an estimated $145 million per year through increases in fuel and scheduling efficiency


Rail Transportation

The rail system plays a large role in keeping shelves in your neighborhood store stocked, and GPS plays a large role in reducing the cost of transporting products across the country. Train Control is a family of capabilities that use GPS positioning to prevent train collisions. The technology — which is installed on about 8,200 miles of track — maximizes performance and efficiency by minimizing accidents and shipping delays


Maritime Transportation

The fastest and safest way from point A to point B isn't always a straight line, especially on the high seas. Shipping companies depend on accurate maps and navigation to keep their ships and crews safe, and their deliveries on time. GPS-enabled electronic nautical charts provide vastly improved routing efficiency over paper maps, saving time, fuel and money.


Fleet Vehicles

According to the study, GPS-enabled fleet tracking and coordination systems are installed in 12.9 percent of all commercial vehicles on American roads. These systems deliver an estimated 15 percent increase in vehicle utilization and $540-per-vehicle in annual fuel savings.


The Future of GPS

Raytheon is a lead contractor in modernizing GPS and is dedicated to delivering the GPS Next-Generation Operational Control System (GPS OCX). OCX modernizes the ground control system, allowing it to take advantage of the new capabilities of GPS III satellites, and giving the system flexibility to evolve as future needs emerge. We're working hard to improve the availability, accuracy, security and integrity of GPS for all of its myriad uses and the countless applications that have yet to be imagined.

Published On: 10/28/2015
Last Updated: 12/13/2017