Jan 5, 2013

Move Over GPS, a New Positioning System Has You in Its Sights

GPS is now so widespread that we take it for granted. But it's not always perfect—so what if a new technology could achieve more than those triangulated military satellites in the sky?

In fact, a team of researchers has been mulling exactly that, and come up with a new positioning technology called Locata. New Scientist explains:
Instead of satellites, Locata uses ground-based equipment to project a radio signal over a localized area that is a million times stronger on arrival than GPS. It can work indoors as well as out, and the makers claim the receivers can be shrunk to fit inside a regular cellphone. Even the US military, which invented GPS technology, signed a contract last month agreeing to a large-scale test of Locata at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
You see, GPS often struggles with indoor environments and big cities: towering concrete buildings make it hard to get a signal, and tight road and pedestrian networks mean inaccuracy is problematic. By contrast, Locata already has accuracy of 18 centimeters along any axis, and claims to be able to get that number down to 5. Crazy.

The technology is, however, still in its early days, and it would take some impressive performance and marketing if it's ever to supersede GPS. Chances are, then, that it would work alongside GPS, creating a hybrid system which combines the best features of both technologies. In fact, such a thing already exists: Leica is trialling a briefcase-size Jigsaw Positioning Systemwhich is being used to guide drilling in the gold mines in Western Australia. How quickly that can translate into a consumer product, though, remains to be seen. More here.


YeamieWaffles said...

This is definitely interesting and sounds to me like it's more efficient and effective than GPS which would be good for everybody really, can't wait to hear more about this over the upcoming while.

Watt Mann said...


systemAdmin said...

This means they would have to put up towers, or something similar like cell phone towers...and coverage isn't always great for cell phones, can't imagine it being that great or useful for the new system for at least a few years anyway...

Binary Soul said...

Well that's exciting