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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 20, 2023

For Immediate Release

GPSIA Celebrates the First 50 Years of GPS
with Government and Industry Lead

WASHINGTON, November 14, 2023 – The GPS Innovation Alliance (GPSIA) hosted an event attended by government and industry leaders to celebrate the achievements of the first 50 years of the Global Positioning System (GPS). 


Executive Director of GPSIA, Lisa Dyer, issued the following remarks: 


“What brings us together today – and what we all have in common - is this system called the Global Positioning System, or GPS. In 1973, the Department of Defense made the fateful decision to select a design and fund its development. And that fateful decision led to one of the most innovative and transformative systems ever designed, funded, and operated by the U.S. government. The U.S. taxpayer got double the benefits – industry’s creativity delivered new, GPS-driven technologies that have transformed our world – to the tune of $1.7 trillion dollars and counting in economic benefits to our economy,” said Dyer. 


During the event, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), co-chair of the Senate GPS Caucus, announced that she is co-sponsoring a resolution to commend the federal agencies that keep GPS operational. Sen. Duckworth spoke about her own experience with GPS technology as an Army National Guard helicopter pilot, and highlighted the role GPS plays in national security and defense, transportation, and precision agriculture. 

“From military readiness to ATM withdrawals, precision farming to carpool pickup, GPS technology makes life smoother for everyone, whether we’re talking about our troops in the Middle East, farmers in Southern Illinois or stressed-out parents here in DC,” Duckworth said. “Nearly every federal agency has a role to play in advancing GPS and using it to support the people we serve—that’s one reason why I’m working to pass a Senate resolution that commends the departments, agencies and advisory boards that work together to make GPS the best it can be.”

        - Senator Tammy Duckworth, D-IL

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), co-chair of the Senate GPS Caucus, also shared her GPS experiences with the audience. Sen. Ernst emphasized the advances that GPS has brought to precision agriculture, addressing issues of food security, crop yields, and consumer costs – all of which have changed the game for Iowa’s farmers, including her family. She also spoke about the myriad ways GPS helped her Army National Guard unit while they were deployed to Kuwait and Iraq.


Mr. Vint Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist, Google, outlined in a video presentation the importance of position and timing to knowing where you are, whether navigating on Earth or in space. Today’s GPS is in need of improved resilience and reliability, he noted. Mr. Cerf challenged the audience to think expansively about building improved position, navigation, and timing capabilities to serve as the foundation for an Interplanetary Internet that can support manned and robotic space exploration. 


“GPS offers yet another example of the spinoff consequences of research and development sponsored by the US Defense Department much as the Internet also benefited from this effect. Multi-use technologies function like stimulants to the private sector's imagination. More work is needed to improve the third-dimension measurement (altitude) so that placement in three-space becomes feasible and accurate. Many new applications would benefit from such a capability.”

 - Mr. Vint Cerf, Internet Pioneer


Other event participants included Brigadier General “Bobby” Hutt, Director, Plans and Programs, Headquarters, U.S. Space Force; Dr. Robert Hampshire, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology and Chief Science Officer, U.S. Department of Transportation; Dr. Brad Parkinson, Professor Emeritus, Stanford University; and Dr. Scott Pace, Director, Space Policy Institute, George Washington University. 



About the GPS Innovation Alliance

Based in Washington, D.C., the GPS Innovation Alliance serves as the voice of the GPS industry, representing GPS equipment and technology manufacturers, and critical industries that rely on GPS. The Alliance recognizes the ever-increasing importance of Global Positioning System (GPS) and other Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) technologies to advancing innovation in public safety, critical infrastructure, and the economy. The GPS Innovation Alliance seeks to protect, promote, and enhance the use of GPS and is firmly committed to furthering GPS innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. For more information, please visit

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