GPS started with Sputnik. This was covered really well by Steven Johnson in his book on “Where Good Ideas Come From“. Here is a summary.
The basic plot is easy to understand. Smart people work out how to use existing stuff to do extraordinary things with it. While he starts with English coffee houses, he also shows how trying to work out where Sputnik is leads to working out how a GPS system can be made to work.
The initial motivation is quite dark. How can I accurately drop bombs on Russian cities? But we have come through that to find GPS really useful. Like “how can I get from where I am to my next appointment”.
Improving GPS accuracy
So some new work has looked at how we can make GPS even more accurate. Modern GPS receivers can get us to within 1.5m of our current location most of the time. With commercial correction services (accounting for satellite actual positions) we can get to 0.5m of the actual position 95% of the time.
That has been OK for a while now.
Some recent advances allow the accuracy to be improved to 10cm. A recent IEEE article on Centimeter Level GPS shows how.
And the upside? Your car can now use your GPS to navigate and stay within its lane.
Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In Australia. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2016 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.