Based in Sunnyvale, CA, Trimble Navigation, Ltd. is an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of positioning, surveying and machine control products. The product portfolio is centered on the integration of global positioning system (GPS) technologies into these products, although the company also includes optical and laser technologies. Currently, management estimates revenue by ultimate end applications, which are information tools for field operators (approximately 81% of revenue), components in other systems (15%) and service-enabled solutions (4%). Management's focus has been on the commercial, and to a lesser degree, government end markets, while the consumer market has been avoided.
The GPS system consists of a constellation of 24 orbiting satellites and ground monitoring stations that are controlled and maintained by the United States Department of Defense (DoD). A GPS receiver can calculate accurately any worldwide position within 10 meters or less. The accuracy may be enhanced via a new supplemental system developed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and designated the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), which incorporates additional satellites and ground reference stations. This increases the overall positional accuracy to within three meters in any place throughout the U.S. and portions of Canada and Mexico, for properly equipped gear. Each satellite transmits low-power encoded radio frequency (RF) signals at two different frequencies one for military use and the other for civilian use. A GPS receiver must be in the line-of-sight of at least three different satellites to get a two-dimensional location (latitude and longitude) reading, or four satellites for three-dimensional positioning (which includes altitude data). The GPS receiver uses each of the satellites' relative positions and triangulation algorithms to determine the precise location of the receiver. Specifically, atomic clocks onboard the satellites supply key time-tag information required for calculating the time taken by the transmitted signal to reach the GPS receiver. The relative distance between the satellite and receiver can be computed, given this timing information and the known transmission velocity of the electromagnetic energy. Like wireless handsets, RF signals can penetrate (with some signal attenuation) clouds, glass and plastic, but not solid objects like buildings or hills.(Read more at Wikinvest )