Have you observed that these days people, especially the youth, hardly ask for directions to places in the urban centres?
Thanks to technology, today with your Global Positioning System (GPS) app on your mobile phone or digital watches, you don't need the ‘Koko’ or ‘Waakye’ seller to give you directions.
Unfortunately, many a time some of these oral directions had often led people to the dead end of some gutter or public toilet instead of the place they desired to go.
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Unlike our traditional taxi drivers who mostly have to depend on people for directions, Uber drivers who have become the game-changer in the transportation business are the highest users of the GPS, which makes it very easy to manoeuvre through the city with ease with their passengers.
If you make a wrong turn, the GPS is able to provide an updated route based on your new location.
In fact, they can save you a considerable amount of time navigating foreign areas, finding a local restaurant or locating an emergency service facility such as a hospital.
Well as a lover of technology, software or apps, has it ever crossed your mind who could have been the brain behind this global navigation satellite system?
Dr Gladys West, a black woman from Virginia, was instrumental in creating the GPS which most of us are hooked on to every time and day.
In 1956, she was hired as a mathematician at the U.S. Naval Weapons Laboratory
Dr West gets honoured by US Air Force
Dr West, who is currently 87 years old, was recently inducted into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame at a ceremony which took place at the Pentagon.
In 1956, Dr West began to work at Naval Surface Warfare Centre Dahlgren Division, where she was the second black woman ever to be employed.
There, she collected data from satellites and that job is what eventually led to the development of the GPS.
In 1986, Dr West published "Data Processing System Specifications for the Geosat Satellite Radar Altimeter", a 60-page illustrated guide which was based off data created from the radio altimeter on the Geosat satellite, which went into orbit on March 12, 1984.
She worked at Dahlgren for 42 years and went on retirement in 1998.
Her contributions to GPS were only uncovered when a member of Dr West's sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, read a short biography she had submitted for an alumni function.
Consequently, she was selected by the BBC as part of their 100 women for 2018.
She was described as one of the pioneering hidden figures who did essential mathematical computing for the United States Armed Forces before electronic systems.
Despite her age, she was able to complete a PhD via a distance learning programme with the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, commonly known as Virginia Tech.