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Operation Kosovo: KRISYS NET
The Kosovo Refugee Information System

Global Postitioning Satelitte (GPS)

Introduction and Summary

          A Global Positioning System ("GPS") receiver permits users to determine their positions with an accuracy within 100 feet.  Relying on positioning signals from as many as 12 satellites, small vehicle-mounted or handheld GPS receivers are available for slightly more than $100. Even if they are not connected electronically to any other device, GPS receivers can be useful to personnel engaged in field operations in Kosovo. With the devices, operational teams can pinpoint their locations thus allowing them to know what villages they are in for purposes of following orders for distribution of humanitarian relief supplies, for gathering data or for reporting threats to their security.

          Low cost GPS receivers also can provide data output to laptop computers, and most have displays that show the path travelled since the device was turned on. Also, most of the lost-cost models have a "waypoint" feature permitting a user to capture his position at a particular time by pressing a particular button and assigning a waypoint number. Using the waypoint feature, a user could capture the location of a minefield, a destroyed house, a checkpoint, or a village, for later (or simultaneous if the GPS receiver is connected to a PC) downloading as data or manual recording. Most GPS receivers provide location information in the form of latitude and longitude, which can be converted through an appropriate database table into WGS-84 coordinates.