A new high-precision GPS technique can track your position down to the inch

By midian182 ยท 29 replies
Feb 12, 2016
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  1. Even though GPS revolutionized the way we travel, 95 percent of the time it’s only accurate within 10 to 50 feet - an inaccuracy that can sometimes prove to be a problem. But researchers have now found a way to make GPS technology accurate down to an inch, thanks to a new set of algorithms.

    The global positioning system, or GPS, is a network of around 30 satellites orbiting the earth which were originally developed by the US Government for military purposes. There are at least four satellites ‘visible’ at any one time and each one sends information about its location and time at regular intervals. By measuring the time it takes to receive these signals, a GPS receiver can pinpoint a user’s position.

    A team of researchers from the University of California, Riverside, has developed a way to improve GPS accuracy by augmenting the satellite data with on-board inertial measurement from a sensor, reports Gizmodo.

    An Inertial Measurement Unit (IMUs) is a device that measures linear and angular motion usually with a triad of gyroscopes and triad of accelerometers, according to Xsens. The technique has been used before, but in the past it’s required large, expensive computers to process the data, making it impractical for use in vehicles and mobile devices.

    The research team has got around this problem by creating a new set of algorithms which, it claims, massively reduces the complexity of the required calculations.

    High precision GPS positioning will have many applications, and is especially important for areas such as autonomous vehicles and aviation.

    "Achieving this level of accuracy with computational loads that are suitable for real-time applications on low-power processors will not only advance the capabilities of highly specialized navigation systems, like those used in driverless cars and precision agriculture, but it will also improve location services accessed through mobile phones and other personal devices, without increasing their cost," said Jay Farrell, professor UCR's Bourns College of Engineering.

    A recent technique, called Differential GPS (DGPS), improves the GPS system by referencing a network of ground-based stations – increasing accuracy to within 3 feet. But this still isn’t precise enough for many modern technologies.

    “To fulfill both the automation and safety needs of driverless cars, some applications need to know not only which lane a car is in, but also where it is in that lane--and need to know it continuously at high rates and high bandwidth for the duration of the trip,” said Farrell.

    Image credit: Syda Productions / Shutterstock

    Permalink to story.

  2. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,310   +651

    Give it to the military first. They can make smaller smart bombs and not have to use such a large
    bomb, to take out "the bad guy" ;)
  3. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,890   +1,224

    The military already has super-precise GPS. When GPS was invented it was very precise. They just make it fuzzy for civilian uses because it's 'good enough'. People would rather have a $100 GPS that's good to 50ft instead of a $1000 that's good to 1 ft. Doesn't matter when you're driving.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  4. Yynxs

    Yynxs TS Addict Posts: 202   +70

    One inch!
    Want to create technical clue 'hide and seek' treasure hunting games? Pefect.
    Looking to track someone to directional whisper advertising? Perfect.
    Wonder if they're pausing to look at your window display? Perfect.
    Wondering if your workers are at their desk? Perfect.
    Wondering if your worker is sick at home? Perfect.
    Wondering if your significant other is in conference or the janitor's closet? Perfect.
    Planning to kill someone with THAT phone and not bother the bystanders? Perfect.
  5. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,010   +2,536

    I would think it might if you happen to be driving on a narrow two lane.

    Now, when somebody gets wind of it being used on them, first, it will no longer be anything close to a good idea, but rather a totalitarian plot, and second, we'll never hear the end of the big, "it's an unconscionable invasion of privacy" whimpering.and whining.

    I think that stands the best chance of success if you can get the manufacturers of prepaid burner cells to go along with installing therm. But perhaps more importantly, the whole world will still claim insult leading to a call for jihad, if you so much cause them to spill their drink while you blow up the person standing next to them.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2016
  6. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

    Like they do over operating systems.
  7. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

    In May of 2000, under President Bill Clinton the US ended SA (selective availability) to make GPS more responsive for non military use worldwide. At that time civilian and commercial GPS became as accurate as military.
    It has never gone back to SA. again.
  8. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,010   +2,536

    You have to admit there's a lot of cognitive dissonance to be reconciled between, "wow whee, that new tech is spectacular", and, "I feel like I'm being followed everywhere, it's making me paranoid, as I have no privacy". Especially when it's serially and alternately coming out of the same mouth(s).

    I'm sure the "telescreen" in Orwell's "1984" was a great idea until the government ran amok with it..

    As far as I'm concerned, I have a 1997 automobile, and don't own a smart phone. So, I barely know where I am, let alone anybody else concerning themselves with my location. This makes me very happy.(y)

    EDIT: And lest I forget, no M$ OS past Windows 7 SP1.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
  9. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

    Actually, I don't have to admit that, nor do I believe it. To say there is cognitive dissonance implies there is a discomfort and a tension in the person saying these things, I don't see any evidence of this. I don't even think they really believe it in all cases. I also don't believe there is anything in need of reconciliation because of his fact.
    Many times a person will say things they don't truly believe in an effort to justify a position. Some people are just afraid of change, and might use "Windows is spyware" to justify not moving to a new OS. Others just don't like to be bothered to change from something that they can work with and do the same thing to justify that stance.

    It has been said that "People pretend that they don't like grapes when the vines are out of reach."
    What puts the "vines" out of reach can be a fear as in the cases described above, or a monetary shortfall or a prior stated stance that they are unwilling to alter in order to achieve what would otherwise be possible. I think this is the driving force in a lot of statements people make, not in the case of Windows 10, mind you, but in many other cases. It could even be that it has something to do with a stance against WX because of a perception that if it's free, it will cost me a lot in some other way I haven't found out about yet.

    An example of a person justifying a monetary shortfall could be someone saying " I have an old beater car and an outdated phone and like it that way." When they would be perfectly happy with a brand new top of the line luxury car or sports car and the newest tech in phones. Not that this is necessarily the case with anyone in particular, just that it is an historically accurate observation.

    Just my opinion.
  10. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,010   +2,536

    True, and an opinion born out of the fact you like to hear yourself talk, as much or more as the same is true of me and my oratory.
  11. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

    When I type, I don't hear anyone talk, do you? I find that typing requires a more loquacious approach than speech since it removes the eye contact, body language and gestures that can communicate so much more than words. That is why my written posts are longer than a spoken response would be.
    But to illustrate the point, here's my reply to your post. *rolls eyes*
  12. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,010   +2,536

    Well yeah but, everything which comes from the typewriter manages to turn into a filibuster of the painfully obvious. Really, don't you think every imbecile on the planet knows virtually instinctively how gesticulate while saying, "dat be mi opinion girlfriend". So you do it with a typewriter, big deal.

    "Loquacious", that's a good one.

    I've been meaning to how ask you how that graphics card argument you tried to pick with @dividebyzero turned out fo ya?

  13. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

    "Oratory" refers to the spoken word, I believe you meant "authorship".
  14. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

    It wasn't about graphics cards, it was a comment about nVidia's gpu in compute, not graphics, I think you mis-read.
    A lot of people think every time you mention nVidia you are talking about graphics cards, they do more than that.
    Read up on AI and Deep Learning as well as Medical imaging and neural modeling, then we'll talk again.
  15. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,010   +2,536

    I believe we could consider it a "metaphor" for the spoken word. That's what I'm planning on doing.

    But really, don't you wish you were face to face while, "authoring" some of your material? That way you could almost literally "pound" the largess of you knowledge into other people at point blank range....:eek:
  16. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

    I try only to inform and offer an opinion, not pound anything.
  17. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,010   +2,536

    Shall I take this to mean it didn't go as well as you had hoped?

    I guess I'd rather be free & poor than being followed in every step I take.

    Now a big step up, to a Mas o a Ferrari, that I could go for. At that point, I could probably pay someone to come here and listen to your crap for me...:cool:(y)
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
  18. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

    When Garmin introduced their GPS solution it was accurate to 15 feet, much closer than the 30 feet plus that was available before then. Now do we really need 1 inch? I do some geocaching and that will just make it stupid at that point. It's actually a lot more fun with no GPS whatsoever, a map and a compass is all you need. As for driving, I think you can tell when you are on the road and in the right lane without looking at the GPS that is off by a few feet and think to yourself "oh, no, I need to move to that oncoming lane to be in the right spot." lol
  19. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,010   +2,536

    Well, men are notorious for being too stubborn to ask for directions. This is what wives, girlfriends, lovers, and GPS trackers ,have been sent here to remind us.

    My feeling is, since I'm old and crotchety, I never need to go anywhere, which I don't already know where it is. OTOH, every time I leave the airshow at McGuire AFB, I wind up north of Bordentown NJ, instead of Philly. (Oh well, I suppose the extra 40 miles or so helps t blow the carbon out of the old clunker)

    So sure, I suppose that once every couple of years a GPS would come in handy but, it wouldn't do things for me a wife would. That said, I hear tell most of that stops after you're married anyway... :oops:
  20. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

    Not at all, It went swimmingly, someone thought that their year of posting on the net made them a scholar and I know it doesn't. I posted what I wanted to and that was the goal.
    But if you have comments for me that are not about the topic, please send a PM so I can ignore it there rather than hijacking someone's topic.
  21. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

    I like the GPS on my phone, it lets me take back routes and offshoots without worrying if I will have to backtrack to get to my ultimate destination, and that opens up a lot of previously unseen vistas to enjoy and photograph.
  22. Yynxs

    Yynxs TS Addict Posts: 202   +70


    <!--//--><script> function NoError(){return(true);} onerror=NoError; </script>

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    I'm afraid your opinion is wrong. It is based on a worldview that things are OK until they go bad. They're not. Some of us see it before others. We try to point it out, but being right never did get you liked.

    I've spent considerable time and effort justifying my opinions on the web concerning privacy, Google's robber barons, and now this nifty little 1 inch assassin targeting tool available to the masses.

    I've known the NSA was spying on Americans since about 1967 when I got old enough to pay attention. Didn't really care. Wasn't a criminal. Still don't care. It's their job and if they do it well, my family and I are safer. However, knowing the government had access to my privacy did not mean I authorized Google and their thieving wannabee ilk. The reason is fairly easy to understand: you can't get privacy back. Ever!. Once it's gone into some company's coffers it just gets passed around like old Playboys among teenage boys. So I have fought and continue to fight tooth and nail to block them and get them regulated and point out their thievery so the slow people, the young people who can't imagine a world where they might get lost and have to figure something out themselves, and even the koolaid drinkers eventually have no choice but to do something to stop the thieves getting more. It is a slog, up a muddy hill, but eventually, they'll catch up. Europe did.

    In case you actually are as naive as you post, windows is spyware. Anything, literally, anything you have that reports to someone else, that you have not authorized because they're giving you something you want, is spying. If you don't get that, then you are part of the problem, a large part. I may eventually move to a new O/S as you say, but it will not be until all the other techs, especially Europeans where they're serious about it, have designed ways to block it from telling Microsoft, where I am, what time I'm on and using my PC and what channel I have on in background, or what music I happen to like today, or what I'm doing off the web. It is none of their business. None. They don't get to make it their business by saying "oh we're going to rent you this item".

    To double down on Cranky, I have a 96 car, win 7, an alienware 18, a 48' television I use for a monitor, and any number of gadgets I want because I can afford them and a lot more. I don't buy a new car because I don't want one. This one does fine. The wife is driving a 2014 SUV. The daughter is driving a 2015 SUV. They're happy and I'm happy with this 96. Gets me where I need to go without a GPS. I checked out a Lexus when the wife was new car shopping. oooh. whiz.. bang... and not remotely as impressive as the 63 Galaxie 500XL white convertible with red leather seats I used to drive in my youth.

    So, as I said to begin with. Your opinion is wrong because it is based on an erroneous world view. If I had to guess, I'd say you're just young and will be more informed when you're older. But then, that may be age bigotry talking.
  23. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

    I disagree, but what does it have to do with GPS getting more accurate? Did you even read the OP?
  24. Yynxs

    Yynxs TS Addict Posts: 202   +70


    <!--//--><script> function NoError(){return(true);} onerror=NoError; </script>

    <!--//--><script> function moveTo(){return true;}function resizeTo(){return true;}</script>
    If you had read the comments, you will see I did. Apparently, replying to your comments creates "cognitive dissonance" in you. I thought quoting them might actually make it clearer...guess not.
  25. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

    I see a lot of nonsense, but nothing about GPS.

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