April 28th, 2012 16:21 EST
GPS Monitoring System Now Being Taken to Next Level of Technology by NASA
Everyone that has a GPS monitoring system knows how handy these little devices that can sit on the dashboard of your car while you weave in and out of traffic trying to find your next destination and how most of the time they are accurate in not getting you lost has now been upgraded to the next level by NASA. GPS is also used for other things other than your five O`clock drive home from work.
Not sure if you know or not but the GPS monitoring System is also used by the military in pinpointing accuracy that has never been seen before. How do you think firing a Tomahawk Missile from a Battleship miles out at sea at a mark or say in this case a building suspected of harboring terrorists or Taliban in the early stages of the war in Iraq and that Tomahawk Missile nailing the building sending it in shambles like a grenade exploding and the whole time the school next to the building or housing complex is unscaved? By using GPS Monitoring. GPS is driven by Satellites that can see the target or the destination you are trying to get to before you see it and that is how it can map the way.
Now, NASA is testing GPS monitoring technology for trying to pinpoint the location(s) and magnitude of strong earthquakes that are so prevalent for hitting the Western United States. This is also technology that could be used for predicting and pinpointing Tsunamis. All of this research is based from the National Science Foundation, NASA, Department of Defense and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) on the premise that this can happen and this technology can prove to be accurate if developed correctly.
I know when I was a kid growing up in Los Angeles I was in the major earthquake that hit the San Fernando Valley in 1971. Living on an upper floor apartment and being woken up at 5:00 am to the feeling that I was on an out of control roller coaster would have been a benefit to me knowing it was coming that morning. I think my Pampers diapers were changed about three times in that one minute the earthquake lasted. That earthquake caused a lot of damage in the area including causing a huge crack to happen in the main dam that held back millions of gallons of water that at that time supplied the San Fernando Valley and part of Los Angeles area with our water supply.
I remember we had to evacuate the area until the crack in the dam was repaired. They didn`t know if they were going to be able to repair the crack in time before the dam let loose causing that part of Los Angeles to turn into Malibu Beach Two gladly to say living that moment the dam was repaired in time. From this experience I can say that besides hurricanes and tornadoes, earthquakes are up there as to one of the natural disasters that can also cause major damage. So, it will be great if this new project by NASA proves to be successful.
How this project by NASA is going to work is there will be over 500 GPS monitoring stations throughout California, Oregon, and Washington the three states that have the most earthquakes in this country and when a large earthquake is detected, GPS data will be used to calculate the vital characteristics of that earthquake which will include sub-data like the location of the earthquake the strength or magnitude of that earthquake and how bad the fault was damaged during that earthquake. I believe the San AndrÃ©a`s fault; the famous fault that has been responsible over the years for shaking a lot of people up (in this case causing earthquakes) is known for being the major culprit in California earthquakes also runs up through Oregon and Washington State.
Craig Dobson who is the Natural and International Hazards program Manager in the Earth Sciences Division at the Washington Headquarters of NASA stated, "With the READI Network (the READI Network being the 500 GPS Monitoring locations throughout California, Oregon, and Washington) we are enabling continued development of real-time GPS technologies to advance national and international early warning disaster systems." (Dobson, NASA, 2012)
He also went on to say, "This prototype system is a significant step towards realizing the goal of providing Pacific basin wide natural hazards capabilities around the Pacific Ring of Fire." (Dobson, NASA, 2012)
We all know the Pacific region is also well-known for Tsunamis which are normally triggered by large and strong earthquakes miles out at sea as we remember the Tsunami that hit Japan that caused so much disaster in a very short period of time. To be able to accurately calculate the strength of a Tsunami there has to be perfect variables in the calculation like the detailed knowledge of the size of the earthquake that just happened miles out at sea and the association of the ground movement from that earthquake which in turn would let researchers know to give first hand warnings that there is more than likely a Tsunami on the way which in turn would save many lives that may be in the path of the approaching Tsunami.
This advancing technology is relatively cost-savings and requires a very small investment.
Frank Webb who is another Program Manager for the Earth Advanced Mission Concepts Program at the NASA Jet-Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California said, "The relatively small investments in GPS based natural hazards systems have revolutionized the way we view the Earth and allowed us to develop this prototype system with great potential benefits for the infrastructure and population in earthquake prone states (California, Oregon, and Washington) in the Western United States." (Webb, JPL, 2012)
So, for now keep using your GPS System to find your way on our major highways and byways but who knows in the future with this new research by NASA, you may be able to program your GPS Monitoring System you use in your car to be able to accurately pinpoint the next earthquake as you drive down the road, of course if you drive down the road in one of the three earthquake prone states.
Buis, Alan, (JPL) Pasadena, California, NASA Tests, GPS Monitoring System for Big U.S. Earthquakes, (www.nasa.gov) Citing the quotes I used in my article from this article. Retrieved 2012.