Did You Know? Dr. Gladys Mae West laid the foundation for GPS Technology...

Dr. Gladys Mae West a mathematician and computer programmer for the U.S. Navy. She developed the GPS model which now is engrained in everyday technology. Here are some more facts about Dr. Gladys Mae West:


She grew up working on her family's farm, and was determined to do more.

She was valedictorian of high school and earned a full scholarship to study Mathematics at Virginia State College.

After graduating, she found a job working for U.S. Naval Weapons Laboratory in Dahlgren, Virginia in 1956. At the time the Navy began bringing in computers, and Mae was hired to learn computer programming.


She worked on a project that determined the motion of the planet Pluto, and another that determined the depth of oceans. Her team won merit awards for their work. She then decided she wanted to focus on satellites.

Dr. West gained her respect and eventually was promoted to manage a project to make a mathematical model of the shape of the Earth and satellite orbit. This will later be known as GPS.

She retired at 68 and completed her PHD at 70 years old

Currently she's in her 90's and prefers paper maps over GPS Technology.