Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

2024-25 Catalog coming August 5th!

This site is currently under construction. If you are an incoming frosh, rising sophomore or new transfer student, please check back August 5th, when you can browse next year's IntroSems and start applying for priority enrollment in up to 3 seminars per quarter.

Main content start

AA 115Q: The Global Positioning System: Where on Earth are We, and What Time is It?

General Education Requirements


Course Description

How do we determine where we are? We will discuss the many kinds of navigation technology, from dead reckoning to sextants to satellite navigation using the Global Positioning System (GPS). Plenty of hands-on experience will be available with sextants and GPS receivers. We will use the GPS receivers to play geo-caching, which is an elaborate GPS/Internet-enabled treasure hunt. Along the way, we will learn how GPS works. More important, we will discover that GPS does not always work, and we will speculate about why, and what could be done to improve its performance.

Meet the Instructor: Sherman Lo

Sherman Lo

Sherman Lo is a senior research engineer at the Stanford GPS Laboratory. His work focuses on navigation safety, security and robustness.  At Stanford, he was Associate Investigator for the FAA evaluation of enhanced Loran and alternative position navigation and timing (APNT) systems for aviation. He has over 100 conference, 20 journal, 14 magazine publications and 8 issued US patents. He has presented at many invited seminars. He has been a Program Chair for Institute of Navigation (ION) GNSS, and the International Loran Association (ILA) Symposium. For his work and efforts, he has received the Institute of Navigation (ION) Early Achievement Award (2005), the International Loran Association (ILA) President’s Award (2003) and Medal of Merit (2009), the Royal Institute of Navigation Michael Richey Medal best paper winner (2011), and the GPSWorld Leadership Award (2014). He completed his Ph.D in 2002 in Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University.