Go to Settings>Accounts & sync, and you can see what app is synching.
And when you are saying "satellite symbol", do you mean the notification icon that looks like a radar dish? If so, that is the GPS icon. If its popping up when synching, it might be Maps or Location that is the culprit, or other app that uses GPS location. If GPS is on, that icon will usually pop up whenever an app that uses GPS is started up.
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Phone: AT&T HTC One (M8)
Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 (WiFi only)