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Key Attributes of an alternative GPS Technology

The following 10 points define the key attributes required from a “GPS-style technology” that aims to meet the demands of modern applications.  A terrestrial contender to GPS must be compared against this list to gauge its suitability as a GPS alternative. Locata can clearly show it addresses all 10 attributes. It’s a game-changer for the PNT industry.



PNT: Position, Navigation and Time are the three elements delivered by GPS. An alternative positioning technology must replicate all three services in order to deliver the equivalent functionality and value provided by the GPS satellite constellation.



Accuracy: GPS is capable of cm-level survey-grade accuracy in clear, open areas. This level of precision is now a fundamental input to numerous modern applications and as the world demands more automation, the need for reliable accuracy will only increase. Solutions that cannot supply this level of accuracy are inherently limited in application.



Scalability: a viable terrestrial solution must be able to readily scale from a single room to a very large area, and be able to service an unlimited number of users in the coverage area – just like GPS.



Deploy-ability: a solution must be capable of quick and cost-effective deployment in a defined area. It will preferably be self-configuring, requiring minimal external assistance for setup. Operation in a global, license-free frequency band is also extremely desirable.



Embeddability: the growth in GPS over the last 20 years has been largely due to its ability to be embedded at the chip level. Any similar solution must be able to be easily embedded, integrated and operated alongside the GPS components on a chip.



Complementary yet independent: GPS is entrenched as “the Gold Standard”. Any alternative solution must be able to integrate seamlessly with it. Conversely, any viable alternative must be completely independent and autonomous of GPS in order to provide true redundancy.



Technology compatibility: there are already a large number of companies with the skills required to build GPS-style receivers. An alternative should have “the same look and feel as GPS” to allow easy integration into “combined receivers” by those companies.



Positioning reliability: a key weakness of the space-based GPS is that the extremely weak signals can be erratic, jammed, blocked or completely unavailable (e.g. indoors). A practical terrestrial system must be able to transmit signals that are powerful and configurable enough to overcome these issues, and ensure unwavering reliability.



Rapid evolution: recent history shows it takes 20+ years to establish a new positioning satellite constellation and another 20 years to “modernize it”. Many now see this as GPS’ Achilles Heel. Any technology that wants to be considered a GPS alternative must be capable of rapid evolutionary development to ensure it can keep pace with the hyper-fast development of today’s professional applications and personal mobile devices.



Indoors or out: GPS is very unreliable (and generally unavailable) indoors. A functional alternative must overcome this limitation, because that is where almost every modern personal or mobile application needs it the most. A true solution must seamlessly link inside and outside positioning, making an end user believe that “GPS is everywhere”.