Global positioning systems (GPS) technology can be seen in today's smartphone maps, GPS devices and location-based services.
This complex technology took decades to perfect and underwent several steps in its eventual invention. Ivan Getting, Roger Easton and Bradford Parkinson are generally credited for inventing the first global positioning systems (GPS), as we know it.
Getting filed patent number 2,709,773 on October 19, 1945 for a "remote control system with potion indicating means." The invention was meant to "provide means for utilizing a radar set to transmit information to an aircraft as well as simultaneously to indicate the position thereof," Getting wrote in his patent application."
On October 8, 1970, Easton filed for a patent that "allows the navigator to passively determine his position by measuring the distance, or range, to one or more satellites."
Parkinson, who was the first program director of NAVSTAR, moved the technology forward and developed a navigational system that could determine a user's location with great precision. According to Parkinson's June 7, 1995 patent application, "the position receiver generates precision determinations to within centimeters of the exact location."
Sources: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, National Inventors Hall of Fame