People depend more and more on global positioning systems for many useful location-based services that they use every day. However, current GPS services are only accurate to within about 10 meters, which can often mean the difference between finding or not finding the person, place or thing that your are looking for.
The accuracy of GPS devices and services is about to increase from meters to centimeters. New GPS technology has been invented that can find people and places to within just a few centimeters of accuracy.
Before the year 2000, when the United States government opened up access to GPS satellite signals, the accuracy of GPS location tracking was only about 100 meters ( approximately 328 feet ).
Current GPS technology estimates a person’s location by recording the time it takes to send and receive signals between the GPS system and multiple satellites. This GPS system is accurate to within about 10 meters ( approximately 33 feet ).
Differential GPS (DGPS) improves on this system by using land-based towers to communicate with GPS devices. DGPS improves the accuracy of satellite-based GPS to about 1 meter ( approximately 3.3 feet ).
However, researchers at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering have found a way to improve the accuracy of GPS technology to within a few centimeters. The research team uses a combination of sensors that calculate a person’s velocity along with improved algorithms for faster communication with GPS satellites to improve location accuracy down to the centimeter level.
This new GPS system is so efficient and economical that it could be used in consumer electronics in the near future.
This increase in GPS accuracy will improve everything from airline travel and drone deliveries to smart phones and location-based services like Uber. This better location accuracy will likely find all sorts of uses in networked objects that are part of the “internet of things” also. Of course this new GPS technology will also be used by our modern surveillance state. This improved location accuracy will also make it easier for spy agencies, law enforcement and corporations to track and find people more precisely than ever before.
Last summer, researchers at the University of Texas, Austin developed a GPS system with centimeter level accuracy also. However, it uses a different system for doing so – New GPS Can Find People With Centimeter Accuracy.