The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a constellation of navigation satellites called Navigation Satellite Timing And Ranging (NAVSTAR), maintained by the U.S. Department of Defense. Many outdoor enthusiasts recognize that a handheld GPS receiver can be an accurate tool for determining their location on the terrain. The GPS receiver helps determine locations on the Earth's surface by collecting signals from three or more satellites through a process called triangulation. Identifying a location on the Earth is more useful if you also know about the surrounding topographic conditions. Using a topographic map with the GPS receiver provides important information about features of the surrounding terrain and can help you plot an effective route from one location to another.