Since 1991, when GPS really proved its utility in the First Gulf War, it has become the Gold Standard for positioning. Notwithstanding this obvious success, GPS is now beginning to reveal significant limitations when it is relied upon by modern-day applications.
GPS signals are usually badly degraded or completely unavailable in environments such as cities, urban canyons and especially indoors – essentially all of the places where most people live, work and play. Locata Corporation has invented a new technology that has “fixed” this problem.
Locata Technology (LocataTech) is not designed necessarily to replace GPS; LocataTech should be considered an extension and expansion of GPS that can either work with GPS or operate independently when GPS is not sufficient. Instead of orbiting satellites, Locata utilizes a network of small, ground-based transmitters that blanket a chosen area with strong radio-positioning signals. Because it is terrestrially based and provides strong signals, Locata can work in both indoor and outdoor environments.
A combined GPS-Locata receiver, almost identical to a standard, low cost GPS receiver, will acquire and track both GPS and Locata signals. This functionality provides an optimal positioning solution by providing a seamless transition between operating environments where a user can utilise Locata signals, GPS signals, or both. The combined GPS-Locata receiver exploits the strong heritage and design of GPS and then takes the technology to a higher level of accuracy and reliability through the integration of Locata’s terrestrial positioning technology.
Locata provides precise range measurements and accurate position solutions, while maintaining the elements of simplicity and low cost that has made GPS so successful.
Conceptually, the implementation of Locata’s solution is quite straightforward. Just place LocataLites (our equivalent of GPS satellites) in an area where GPS signals are unreliable and the LocataLites “fill in the holes” in the GPS coverage. This seems like a logical and intelligent thing to do given the evident demand for an improvement to GPS.
However, before Locata, no-one could overcome the immense technical hurdles required to achieve this flexible and elegant solution.