GPS gets some competition with this terrestrial-based tech

Locatacorp

From trying to find that perfect restaurant to just trying to find your way around a city, GPS changed the way we live and connect with our world. Now that might be about to change.

New Scientists reports that a company in Australia already has a working device that can pinpoint your location down to a matter of 18 centimeters. The team of engineers thinks that they can shave that figure down to just five. The new system, Locata, allows for far more precise location tracking than GPS does, and it has a signal strong enough to penetrate walls and other solid objects.

Instead of relying on a system of satellites to help you find the nearest burger joint, Locata relies on towers set on the ground to bounce signals back and forth. The signal moving between towers triangulates your position and how close you might be to your destination.

The advantage over GPS technology comes from the signal strength. Without having to move information through a great distance of space, you get an accurate readout of where you are in the world. A strong signal also means that you down have to wander down a couple of blocks or even move outside your house just to find out where the local theater is.

Unlike satellite-based GPS, however, you’ll need to be around the “GPS Hotspot” in order for you to find your way around. Given a couple of years, you’ll be able to make your way through New York with ease. Getting around the backwoods of North Carolina might take a little more time, depending on how quickly the technology catches on.

Already, Google and Nokia are scrambling to get their hands on the new technology to help people around the mall or around the city. Even the US military, the people behind GPS technology, look to get their hands on the new global tech as soon as they can to help guide troops to victory. Robotics may get a boost as well from the new technology since the signal allows for moving around objects inside a building. That Roomba you have sitting in the corner just got an upgrade.

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