Global Positioning Systems

Archaeologists use satellite global positioning systems (GPS) to quickly and accurately map the locations of sites on the landscape.

GPS map

A GPS device receives signals from multiple satellites orbiting the earth and measures the distance from each satellite on the basis of how quickly the signals travel. Then, using the geometric principle of trilateration, the device calculates one's location on the ground.

Learn more:

Learn how global positioning systems work on the physics.org website (the video on this website is geared to high school students, but adults may find it useful as well).

 

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