Fixing Position with GPS

If the distance to the satellite is calculated by the receiver, it can be plotted as a position line, where any place on the Earth's surface is the same distance from the satellite. The receiver must lie somewhere on that position line.

If the distances from two more satellites are calculated and plotted, the receiver must lie on all three lines. Normally, this can occur at only one point on the Earth's surface and so that must indicate the position of the receiver.

Because of small inaccuracies in the receiver's clock, there will be an error in its position. The position lines will not intersect at the same point and will form what is known as a cocked hat.

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