It hasn’t been around long, but it’s still difficult to imagine a time without global positioning systems (GPS). Most people know the story of Thomas Edison and the lightbulb or Alexander Graham Bell and the telephone. However, the history of GPS is not as widely known.

A GPS history lesson

Like many of our modern day gadgets, the development of GPS can largely be attributed to defense spending by the United States. The invention of the microwave came from WWII radar technology. In the case of GPS, its development occurred during the Cold War (1947-1991). The first GPS -satellite was launched into orbit in February 1978. While it took a large team of scientists to bring the vision of an orbiting satellite-based communications network to life, the invention is largely credited to three individuals: Roger L. Easton, Ivan A. Getting and Bradford Parkinson.

The world’s first commercial handheld GPS receiver was introduced in 1989. As the service became more widely used in cars and mobile devices, the rest, as they say, is history. Today the GPS system is currently owned and operated by the U.S. government as a national resource, and it’s freely accessible to anyone in the world equipped with a GPS receiver. There is a good chance you have one with you right now.

Growth of GPS leads to the birth of the telematics industry

As GPS technology became more widely available, the capabilities of the service advanced as well, ushering in the age of the telematics industry. Telematics is the integrated use of computers and mobile telecommunications technologies to better manage vehicles and other assets. Businesses quickly realized that GPS devices offered the ability to provide automated reports detailing routing, speed, idling and vehicle diagnostics. It wasn’t long before the practice of installing GPS-based tracking became a telematics industry standard.

GPS helps keep America moving

The use of telematics within commercial- and government-class fleets has made an impact for more than just trucking services. Telogis began supplying GPS tracking solutions to the U.S. military in 2005 and has since provided the service to municipal governments and commercial enterprises who want to improve resource tracking and reduce emissions.

Read more about some of those case studies on the Telogis case studies page. Find out more about the uses for Telogis’s technology that can benefit your business by asking for a demo of our GPS-tracking solutions.