GPS and Geocaching

Learning Objectives

  • to understand how GPS is used in society by organisations, groups and individuals.

Learning Outcomes

Must – be able to explain what GPS is and how it is used in the world.

Should -be able to explain the different types of organisations who use GPS and the purposes they use this for.

Could – confidently explain the issues surrounding the use of GPS on individuals and societies.

GPS (Global Positioning System)

GPS is a satellite based system that allows you to know your position anywhere on Earth.  GPS was developed by the US military to allow soldiers to locate their exact position anywhere on earth such as the desert or out in the wild.  Europe and Russia have their own GPS systems, the European one is called Galileo and the Russian one called Glonass.

GPS is used in many aspects of everyday life including the following:

  • Cars and Motor Vehicles – Satellite Navigation Systems to give routes and directions to locations.
  • Trucks and Lorries – To monitor the location of a driver and vehicle.
  • Military  -Its original purpose, to locate Soldiers in the field.
  • Shipping – Navigation overseas.
  • Criminals/Offenders – Used in offender tags to track the location of an offender and report if a person is not in a location at a certain time.
  • Farming – Crop growth and fertilisation purposes.
  • Leisure – Mountaineering, Hiking and Walking

In terms of the exam, you will be expected to know and be able to explain with examples how GPS can be used to improve businesses productivity.  You will be also expected to know and explain the positive and negative impacts it can have on both individuals and organisations.

Exam Tip! – lots of students talk about the fact that GPS can be used by people to stalk one another and to track people down.  This is a common mistake that is made in the exam paper and will be awarded zero marks as this is not what the exam board is looking for!

Task 1 – Exam Paper Question Practice

Paolo’s Perfect Pizza Company is a small chain of Pizza Restaurants based around the East Midlands and Yorkshire.  The company head office, and also the main delivery warehouse is located just on the edge of Loughborough in Leicestershire.  All the restaurants are within 90 minutes travelling time of Loughborough.  The management of Paolo’s is looking into installing GPS tracking devices into the delivery vehicles as they believe it will improve productivity.

Discuss the positive and negative impacts that this could have on both the management and also the employees who work for Paolo’s.

(6 Marks)

Answer this in your exercise book.


Geocaching is a relatively recent activity which has caught on through the increased use of mobile phones and tablets.  Geocaching uses Geocaches which are small gifts/rewards which are hidden in discrete locations by the players using a series of GPS coordinates.  The GPS coordinates are posted to online Geocaching websites and the player who is looking to take part in Geocaching has to use their device and its GPS facility to locate them.

A popular GPS site is below.

As with any activity. Geocaching has a set of etiquette (or rules) which players are expected to abide by.  These are the most common ones.

Task 2 – Exam Paper Question Practice

Geocaching is a popular activity in the UK.  Discuss the impact on society that Geocaching can have on young peoples health and safety.

(6 marks)