2D operating mode – A GPS position that requires a minimum of three visible satellites and that has only horizontal coordinates.
3D operating mode – A GPS position that requires a minimum of three visible satellites and that has horizontal coordinates and elevation.
absolute positioning – The mode whereby using a single receiver a position is determined, respecting a well-defined coordinate system.
accuracy – A type of measurement used to determine how close the GPS position to the true location is.
acquisition time – see TTFF
active antenna – An amplified antenna
active leg – The segment of the route currently being traveled.
aerial map – The type of map that uses photographs taken from a plane to show what an area looks like.
agonic line – An imaginary line on the earth’s surface connecting points where the magnetic declination is zero.
AGPS – Assisted Global Positioning System – A land station assists GPS in acquiring position.
alidade – Instrument used to determine direction horizontally or vertically.
almanac data – Orbital position data for each GPS satellite. Considered not to be very accurate as the data are valid for over one month.
altimeter – An instrument that measures altitude or elevation with respect to a reference level, usually mean sea level, by means of air pressure.
altitude – A distance measurement that is made in a vertical direction, using as a reference point the sea level.
analog signal – Continuous signal that is sent to the GPS receiver
anywhere fix – That ability that some GPS receivers have, to calculate a position without knowing the time and an approximate location.
antenna splitter – A piece of hardware which can be used to fed two GPS receivers, by splitting the antenna signal into two.
anti-spoofing – A method used to encrypt the P-code in order to prevent the jamming of the satellite signal.
APRS – Automatic Position Reporting System – An amateur radio based automatic position reporting system for tracking and digital communications.
arcGIS – A family of software products that form a complete GIS (Geographic Information System).
archipelago – A large group of islands.
arcInfo – Comprehensive software in the arcGIS family that has advanced geoprocessing and data conversion capabilities.
arete – A sharp, narrow mountain ridge or spur.
ARGOS – Advanced Research and Global Observation Satellite – An advanced research and development satellite launched by the United States Air Force. Carries various space and atmospheric experiments.
atlas – A collection of maps that have been traditionally been kept in a book or loose-leaf format, but that can now be found in multimedia formats.
atoll – A ringlike coral island and reef that nearly or entirely encloses a lagoon.
atomic clock – A precise clock that is used by GPS satellites and that works using elements cesium or rubidium. Such a clock has an error of only one second per million years.
automatic vehicle location – A system of providing real-time location information for emergency vehicles, delivery trucks, service vehicles, etc.
availability – The number of hours per day in which a GPS position determination is possible, by having sufficient satellites.
AVL – See automatic vehicle location.
axis – The imaginary line around which the Earth rotates.
azimuth – The horizontal angle (0 – 360 degrees) from a reference point, usually true north or true south. Also known as a bearing.
azimuth ring – The dial on a compass, marked with zero to 360 degree markings.