GPS technology from the 70s that worked with a cassette

Before the current geolocation systems that we know as GPS and that in modern times are found in almost all the portable devices that we use, from smartphones and tablets to consoles, there was a GPS cassette system.


GPS systems have become so widely introduced in our society today that we can find them in almost any portable device that we carry around, such as vehicles, smartphones, tablets, or even portable video game consoles . Maps have become more accurate and precise, taking into account more and more streets and roads to drive on. In summary, GPS technology has evolved a lot since its inception, but did you know that this technology has been in operation for several years and by the 1970s, there was already a GPS system that worked with cassettes? 

Before we get to know this old cassette GPS system, let’s go over what this technology is all about and remember exactly what a GPS is and how it works. In this way, you will be more attentive when choosing the best car GPS ( Here you can find some options to buy ) .


What is a GPS?

The abbreviation GPS stands for Global Positioning System, which is a radio frequency navigation system based on a group of satellites developed and created in the United States by the Department of Defense. This system allows anyone who has a GPS to know their location, direction, travel speed and height. Thanks to this navigation system, you will be able to know all this data at any time of the day.

The history of this geolocation system has its origin approximately after World War II thanks to the United States Department of Defense, who used all their knowledge and strength to create a global positioning system and with absolute precision, which is why they created and they experimented with various models and systems like the Transit and Loran, before inventing GPS.




To understand the basic principle of this system, it is important to take into account that all GPS systems are made up of points or components that are involved in the operation of these devices, which are the spatial element, the control element and the control element. user. 

As for the element related to space, this component is made up of a whole fleet of satellites that orbit the earth, approximately 20,200 km away, which are distributed in 6 orbital planes, so that there is always a minimum of 4 satellites above the horizon, from any point you are on the planet’s surface and at any height.

As for the component related to control, it is made up of a system of tracking stations that works with 5 points distributed throughout the globe, in addition to a main control station or point. The control component is in charge of tracking the satellites and updating the orbital position, proceeding to calibrate and synchronize all the GPS. Furthermore, at this point the orbits of the satellites are determined and the trajectory can be forecast for a whole day in advance.

Finally, the component determined by the user is directly related to the receivers and GPS devices that receive and transform the signal into data and information on positioning, time and speed. In short, the GPS system is made up of a strategic communication network that allows us to be located at all times. However, although it sounds like science fiction technology, geolocation has been in operation since the 70s thanks to an invention that is thought to be the origin of the system we know today.


GPS by cassette?

In 1971, the BBC television program, Tomorrow’s World, dedicated to teaching all the modern technological advances of that time, allowing viewers to dream of a future that was increasingly closer, dedicated a program complete to this novel invention for that time.

Taking into account that the most basic function of a GPS is to place the user on the map, while simply guiding him and helping him to carry out a certain route, it can be ensured that, even, no satellite element involved is necessary. Based on this premise, the 70s GPS system was created. To better understand how it works, you have to consider the following situation: if you need to move from a point A, towards any point B, you could use a cassette that has the directions recorded to follow that route or path.




The recording would skip the cassette track just at the right time, so you can detour or turn just at the right time, not before or after. However, it is important to consider that you should not leave the established route at any time, since, then, the indications on the cassette would no longer be entirely correct. In other words, if for some reason the route forced you to leave or deviate slightly from the path, the system went out of its way and did not allow you to guide you again, unless you returned to the starting point.

For this ancient type of GPS navigation to function properly, the car was required to have a main control unit installed below the dashboard connected to the odometer. In addition to the fact that a series of calibrations was required to avoid falling into any type of error, so the system had to be programmed according to the model of car you were driving and, even, to the size of the tire you were riding.

In short, although it may seem like a completely modern invention, we must know that the GPS system has a much more archaic origin than we thought, performing, essentially, the same function as the models with a color screen that exist in the current market .


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