Global Positioning System (GPS) is a new satellite-based technology used to track and reveal important information about direction, speed and location of an object in question. The GPS technology is mostly used in the law enforcement operations where it is aimed at locating criminals and enforcing the fundamental traffic rules (Leick, 2004).
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Types of GPS technology
GPS tracking technology
The technology uses a GPS tracking device that has a radio receiver, which continuously update the target’s location in real time via a communication link. For this reason, it is ideal for law enforcement activities
Emergency GPS technology
GPS technology is used enormously in navigation purposes by the ships and aircrafts. The emergency GPS devices have maps and other navigational features that enable reporting in the event of emergencies.
GPS Navigation technology
Navigation technology uses a GPS receiver and internal road database, which provides the user with a clear view of the surrounding in real time (Snow, 2007). Drivers who are not conversant with a given place can benefit from the technology.
Hand-held GPS technology
This is the commonly used technology, which operates on a hand-held device. It is popular with outdoor enthusiasts and hikers who often travel to remote and terrain areas. The technology enables the users to develop a virtual flags that can be used to trace back their locations whenever they are lost.
Use in law enforcement
The use of GPS technology in law enforcement has minimized criminal activities and enhanced the law compliance. The adoption the GPS technology eliminated petty mistakes especially in the transport industry that would go unnoticed though their occurrences were fatal (Leick, 2004).
There have been cases of hate speeches and threats send through cell phones by organized gangs to intimidate their victims in order to follow their instructions though cell phone communications. These cell phones have GPS capabilities, which are helpful for the police to track and locate the gang without being noticed (Snow, 2007).
Positives and negatives of technology
Just like internet, GPS technology was a military creation but it has become a civilian approach to monitor activities. The U.S. forces were able to navigate through the desert during Gulf war with ease and at the same hitting the targets unnoticed.
With the growing business competition, most business have found it vital to use the GPS technology in collecting business and intelligent geographical data to be used in making business decisions.
Emergency rescue services
One notable advantage of GPS technology is the ability to locate a victim who is extremely far or lost. Whenever an accident happens and communication becomes a problem, the GPS device can transmit the exact location so that rescuers can identify the scene and save lives (Leipnik & Albert, 2002).
GPS technology may not be useful tool for all people. Data on the GPS devices is important to a person who can interpret them but useless for the one who has no clue about the data.
Exploitation of the technology
Often, technology always falls into the wrong people with ill intentions. Drug dealers use the GPS technology to monitor their drugs on transit and in drop off points. On the other hand, gang groups can plant GPS units on their victims’ vehicles so as to monitor their movements in order to execute all manner of crime.
Overall impacts of the GPS technology
Essentially, the use of GPS technology has revolutionized the society both negatively and positively. Movements of people and cargo have become fragile task because of the emergence of criminal gangs who obstruct to either destroy or hijack in order to steal and kidnap (Leick, 2004).
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On the negative point of view, the GPS technology has made the criminal gang and drug trafficking a lucrative opportunity because it offers a platform to closely monitor their activities without any notice. Therefore, it may be noted that the GPS technology does not subtract or add something but totally changes everything.
Leick, A. (2004). GPS satellite surveying. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Leipnik, M. R., & Albert, D. P. (2002). GIS in Law Enforcement: Implementation Issues and Case Studies. London: CRC Press.
Snow, R. L. (2007). Technology and law enforcement: From gumshoe to gamma rays. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.