How GPS Maps Are Made

Sat Nav Mapping Van

GPS maps are produced using specially equipped vans which drive over the entire road system to capture the information necessary for this operation. Each van is fitted with

  • high resolution Digital cameras
  • laser equipment to measure distance
  • a GPS system to accurately log the map co-ordinates

As the van is driven along the road, images from the cameras and the differential GPS system are stored on local hard disks. At the end of each day, this information is transmitted back to the office, where it is used to produce new maps or update any changes to existing maps.

This is an ongoing process as the road network is constantly changing.

Stijn Ulenaers and Gudrun Vanlaar are a Belgian couple employed by Tele Atlas as surveyors, to produce digital maps for satellite navigation devices. The video clip shown below is a BBC News item showing them capturing the information to be processed into maps.

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See the original news item at

Further Information

Navstar Satellite

How GPS works


Install SatNav on your carputer

Galileo Logo

Alternative GPS Systems

How Trilateration Works

Trilateration. The principle behind the calculation of GPS map co-ordinates.

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