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What Happens When GPS Doesn’t Work?

Worker with level, surveyor builder with geodesy equipment close to highway, with mobile phone.

Whether it is the GPS in our phones or the RTK GPS in our surveying equipment, it is hard to deny that satellite constellations are a part of our daily lives in a rather significant way. Since the first satellites launched back in the late 70s, the applications for positioning satellites have only grown, as has the number of satellites in orbit. As a result, it can be hard to think of a world without this technology. 

So, what would happen if we lost this “invisible utility?” One of the first considerations with this question is understanding the full breadth of RTK GPS applications, so let’s take a look at how widespread this technology really is. 

RTK GPS Applications Around the World


Most consumers use GPS-enabled devices like smartphones, tablets and navigation systems. These devices themselves have endless GPS applications, from tracking user data to generating an augmented reality viewpoint and beyond. Plus, drone hobbyists and others would no longer be able to use their equipment effectively without the help of satellite systems. 


In just about every industry, there is some use for RTK GPS or an equivalent. Dock cranes use GPS to position themselves. Delivery and transport businesses use GPS to determine vehicle locations and scheduling constraints. 

Topographical survey engineer in a building project


Infrastructure also relies on GPS equipment, from surveying to vehicle movement on active build sites and far more. Without GPS support, many of our infrastructure programs would take significantly longer to implement.

How Necessary is RTK GPS?

Looking at this long list of applications makes it evident that GPS has become an integral part of our daily lives, and without it, we would likely suffer significant consequences. Luckily, there are professionals who help maintain the elaborate system that helps RTK GPS exist in the first place. 

Bench Mark Equipment & Supplies is your team to trust with all your surveying equipment. We have been providing high-quality surveying equipment to land surveyors, engineers, construction, airborne and resource professionals since 2002. This helps establish ourselves as the go-to team in Calgary, Canada, and the USA. Plus, we provide a wide selection of equipment, including global navigation satellite systems, RTK GPS equipment, GNSS receivers, and more. We strive to provide the highest level of customer care and service for everyone. To speak to one of our team today, call us at 403-286-0333 or email us at [email protected]

About the Author

Nolan has been working in the surveying field since 2017, starting as a part-time student at Bench-Mark while attending the University of Calgary. He now works in technical support and sales helping customers find the right product for them.

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