GPS: Global Positioning System

Satellite-assisted system for worldwide position determination

GPS technology has advanced significantly in recent decades and our everyday lives are now inconceivable without it.
GPS helps us to determine our location exactly, to find our way in unfamiliar places, to plan our routes precisely. However, GPS is not only used increasingly in the private area, it has also found its place in industry.
It is increasingly used in the drone-assisted industrial inspection of wind turbine generators, photovoltaic installations and complex infrastructure. We at TOPseven have specialised in the development of high-tech software solutions based on just this technology.

The history surrounding the global positioning system

GPS has a long and fascinating history. It is a satellite navigation system operated by the US government and was originally developed by the US military in the 1970s; it was made available for civilian purposes in the 1980s. It is now used in many ways, from navigation in cars, aircraft and in smartphones, to agriculture and outdoor sports.
Along with the US-American GPS, there are other satellite navigation systems such as GLONASS from Russia, Galileo from the European Union and Beidou from China. They all offer similar functions and can be combined to make it possible to determine the position even more precisely. The American system is the oldest and still one of the most precise systems, for this reason TOPseven relies on it for its positioning requirements with centimetre accuracy.

The GPS system is based on a fleet of satellites that orbit the Earth and emit signals to receivers on the ground to synchronise position, speed and time data.


While GPS on its own is not always precise enough for many high-precision applications such as surveying or inspecting complex infrastructure, RTK technology has proved to be more precise.

RTK stands for Real Time Kinematic and is a method for highly precise position determination using GPS. Unlike standard GPS technology with an accuracy of around 5-10 metres, RTK technology can achieve accuracies of a few centimetres.


In this way it is possible for our customers to fly and position, to the centimetre, drones equipped with software from TOPseven. The position data make it possible for them to prepare detailed reports and analyses that help with the assessment of the condition of infrastructure and the detection of potential deficiencies. This information is imperative for making predictions and identifying potential problems before they cause more damage.


GPS and RTK make a powerful combination and will become increasingly important in future. Precise position determination will be important in areas such as autonomous driving or smart cities. We at TOPseven are proud to use this technology in our navigation, inspection and surveying projects and to form part of this process: MAKING DRONES SMARTER.

Oliver Neubauer
Head of Software Development

publication: 27.11.2023