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The new ground-based tech can pinpoint locations outdoors and indoors

While GPS struggles to find your exact location at times, a new positioning technology could step up and give a more accurate area both indoors and outdoors.

The new positioning technology is by Locata, and it uses ground-based equipment instead of satellites to send a radio signal over a certain area. This signal is reportedly a million times stronger than a GPS signal.

While GPS mainly gives outdoor locations, Locata's ground tech is tackling indoor locations such as huge shopping malls as well. Its receivers can be small enough to fit inside a cell phone, so if shoppers are lost in a large mall, they can use Locata on their smartphone to find a certain area.

When tested at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, Locata worked to within 18 centimeters along any axis. GPS typically has location resolutions of a few meters. Locata's technology could bring the resolution as far down as 5 centimeters in the future, making location pinpoints even more precise.

Locata's signal is much stronger because solid objects like GPS signals don’t block it as easily. However, Locata could still use some help in urban settings with many buildings packed so closely together.

It is suggested that Locata's tech will not replace GPS, but rather, work with it to offer both satellite locations and ground-based locations for greater accuracy in different situations. For example, the Jigsaw Positioning System uses both Locata and GPS to guide the placement of drill rigs in Western Australia.

Source: New Scientist

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how many centimeters?
By Argon18 on 1/4/2013 12:17:31 PM , Rating: 3
"Locata worked to within 18 centimeters along any axis. GPS typically has location resolutions of a few meters. Locata's technology could bring the resolution as far down as 5 centimeters in the future, making location pinpoints even more precise."

If you're lost in a shopping mall, how is 5cm accuracy any better than 18cm? A location difference of 13cm - about the length of a ball point pen - is not going to add any value.

RE: how many centimeters?
By kleinma on 1/4/2013 12:39:24 PM , Rating: 3
Why does being lost in a shopping mall have to be the only reason to increase precision? What about applications for self driving cars? Do you want it to be able to measure within 5cm when your car is driving you through a crowded city, or 18cm?

RE: how many centimeters?
By SeeManRun on 1/4/2013 1:47:24 PM , Rating: 2
While your point is valid, there will likely have to be a much larger margin of error than 18 cm for cars. For example, you will follow the car in front of you at a distance of 3 meters, where the extra 13cm of precision is very negligible.

RE: how many centimeters?
By praeses on 1/4/2013 3:42:23 PM , Rating: 2
Cars need to park.

Keys get lost and need to be found, it'ld be nice if they would report their location (instead of homing beacons).

How about automated logistics like Amazon? Forklifts could benefit from 5cm accuracy.

RE: how many centimeters?
By drycrust3 on 1/5/2013 12:45:54 PM , Rating: 3
As I understood the guy's comments on the White Sands Missile range test, they had air craft traveling at 500 mph with 6 cm of accuracy at 30 miles range from the Locata beacon.
You forget that it isn't just the space in front of a vehicle that is important, the space on each side is important as well. It won't be long before we have autonomous vehicles on the road, and some of these will be things like large trucks. Would you rather have one driving past your parked car with 6 cm accuracy or 1 meter accuracy?
Other applications will be things like warehousing, supermarket stock, phone company equipment, and courier firms, where people can need to know exactly where an item is, especially when every item looks the same but isn't.

RE: how many centimeters?
By Locata-Nunz on 1/6/2013 1:49:50 AM , Rating: 2
Spot on. I highlighted the White Sands performance here because that's what the New Scientist article was mainly about. However, if you care to look, you'll see there are already operational Locata systems in open-cut mines where we are providing better than 1.5cm (that's about 3/4 inch) across a 5km (3 mile) diameter area. Very soon we're introducing indoor warehousing systems that are delivering better than 2.5cm (1 inch) in brutal indoor radio multipath conditions where GPS is not available at all. Most folks don't seem to understand why you need this sort of accuracy, but ask anyone involved in automation or positioning machines, and they'll tell you it's absolutely essential if you want to have a useable autonomous system.

RE: how many centimeters?
By MozeeToby on 1/4/2013 5:26:19 PM , Rating: 2
Have they never heard of Augmented GPS? Do people really think planes on autoland approaches are relying on +/-10 meters of accuracy? If you really, really need insane accuracy you can get down to millimeters using specialized GPS equipment.

RE: how many centimeters?
By Locata-Nunz on 1/4/2013 10:48:14 PM , Rating: 1
Hi, MozeeToby. Yes, we have heard of augmented GPS, D-GPS, RTK and everything else that's GPS. In fact our company hires dozens of expert engineers in the field, and so do the USAF. In fact: our contract was awarded by the 746 Test Squadron, who happen to be The GPS Centre of Excellence for the US Military Tri-services , ( so I can assure your they are the best of the best. So ask yourself why THEY are almost the first to actively take up Locata technology as we exit stealth mode??

Look, I'm not having a shot at you in any way. I fully appreciate the power of GPS as a foundational technology, but I'm also acutely aware of its limitations... and YOU and many others would do well to become aware of the critical dependencies the world has now built around this extremely vulnerable technology. If you have any real interest in learning the truth (which the GPS industry has been trying to bury for some time now) you need to watch at least the first two video presentations (me and then Chris Morin, the technical director head of the 746 Test Squadron) from the Spatial@Gov Conference last month. They are here:

DON'T SHOOT THE MESSENGER. The message in those videos is real and verifiable, and the GPS industry knows it. I'm just the guy, a year before 911, suggesting it may be a good idea to reinforce cockpit cabin doors. Locata is the company that's had to spend 17 years, 98 patents and sold the farm to produce a "fix" for the mess we're creating with GPS. One day you'll be very very glad we did. Have a great day.

RE: how many centimeters?
By dnyank1 on 1/5/2013 6:17:05 PM , Rating: 2
Please, just stop right there.
I'll knock down your statements one-by-one. Your technology is very useful, but your statements here make no sense.
1. The Military will spend as much money as they get their hands on. This could be useful for tracking suspects (better ankle-bracelets anyone? Rather than finding their house, find which room they are in?)
2. CONSUMER GPS is vulnerable because it's unencrypted. Stop spreading FUD, kindly. The government has encrypted GPS technology that 1- Is more accurate 2-Is ENCRYPTED.
is the government's site on it. They use this page as a propaganda outlet, stating it's the same accuracy, but then uncovering the truth that government GPS is more accurate because the signal is encrypted and contains more information per packet.
3. You are NOT the "guy, a year before 911, suggesting it may be a good idea to reinforce cockpit cabin doors." for a number of reasons.
A - 9-11 was a tragedy, and I recommend that you stop using it to advertise your company. I lost loved ones in 9-11, as did thousands of others, and it's uncouth to use it to relate your company to something.
B- The aircraft industry and government have access to a better GPS signal with more satellites orbiting the earth (You see, GPS works on the "time lag" from satellites in orbit broadcasting the same time, GPS triangulates [or more] itself based on the lag, you're further away from a satellite if the time is older, hence, lag) than civilians do.

Like I said- your company's tech is good, but it's not a security thing, that's just FUD FUD FUD.

By the way - I AM SHOOTING THE MESSENGER - because the messenger is WRONG.

RE: how many centimeters?
By Locata-Nunz on 1/6/2013 3:27:48 AM , Rating: 2
Dear dnyank1.
I'm sorry for your loss, and I share your pain. If you care to look you'll find I lost family in NY in 911 too... and it will always hurt.

With respect, we do NOT spread FUD, but tell the unadulterated truth. Please take the time to either watch the video referenced elsewhere here, or do your own research within GPS industry publications. EVERY reference I made in the video is from someone that is a respected, independent authority. I just collated and presented the information, starting with the US Government's own Volpe Report of 2001 and ending with UK's Royal Academy of Engineers Report from 2011 ( There are dozens of other authoritative reports if you do the research. Alternatively, just browse the front covers of GPS World Magazine over the past few years ( and see how many articles highlight the massive jamming and spoofing problems now faced by GPS-type systems. If this is FUD, then most of the professional industry is responsible. As I said, I'm just a messenger for the information the industry has been trying to report for YEARS.

Your other points:
(1) The truth today is the military are trying to save money wherever they can, so there is no largesse here. Our technology is important because warfighters operate in an environment where the enemy is nowadays EASILY jamming GPS signals in operational areas, and they need something else for development purposes that works when GPS is jammed (which is VERY often).
(2) Locata can be encrypted , which gives you another reason why it's valuable. Civilian GPS is not encrypted, and to change that will take many years of effort, completely new satellites, and leave a huge number of current GPS devices inoperable or needing upgrades. That would be great for the GPS industry, but presents a nightmare for handling encryption keys for civilian use. Just check out what the military have to do for their encryption keys and you'll see how difficult it would be for general use.

Finally, some inaccuracies in your understanding (sorry) of GPS technology:
- Military GPS is NOT more accurate because it is encrypted. It's secure because of that. The military signal at L2 is more accurate than the civilian signal because their CDMA code is chipped at 10Mhz instead of the 1MHz civilian chipping rate. This gives the military system a higher code resolution of ~15 meters vs the ~30 meters in civilian code solutions.
- I think I've addressed #3, #3A above, but as for B... (i) the aviation industry uses exactly the same signals as the civilians do; (ii) The FAA is strongly working towards APNT (Alternate Position, Navigation and Time) because, like the military, they know they have SERIOUS problems emerging with GPS jamming. Please read a recent important article on the problem from the April 2012 issue of GPS World Magazine ( and (iii) mate... with your apparent level of GPS technical knowledge I would honestly avoid trying to explain GPS time to the co-founder and CEO of a company that has 98 granted patents on synchronization technology and daily runs wide-area Locata networks that synchronize to better than a billionth of a second without using atomic clocks. And which is technology the GPS industry is adopting all over the place. Just sayin'...

The most important point in any of this is there is no FUD. Just facts. And even if I wasn't here, the authorities quoted above would not have gone away. Go read the info from someone that is NOT me. You can't shoot all of them.

Some comments from Locata
By Locata-Nunz on 1/4/2013 9:53:46 PM , Rating: 2
Hi, folks. I'm Locata's co-founder and CEO and I appreciate the interest now being generated about our developments. I’d like to help the community by ensuring some *real* information is available to those of you who truly want to understand the revolution we are beginning to roll out now. Very few people actually understand how GPS works, how it’s now seriously failing many professional applications …. or appreciate the enormity of the technical achievement which Locata has invented. This is not the place to go deep into technical aspects, so I offer the following simple video taken of a keynote speech I made late 2011 as we came out of “stealth mode”. It was given to a bunch of start-up entrepreneurs at an Aussie Government conference, but it will nevertheless help you get a very high-level overview of why Locata is essential for the types of apps that are coming for mobile, robotic and automation apps. I like simple pictures. So you need only grasp “the Swiss cheese analogy” in this video to understand why the world needs Locata (and pardon the video quality but Locata did not take it – the government did!).

There’s a lot more info on our website if anyone wants to dig deeper, including several important videos uploaded from a major positioning conference last month. They give the really BIG picture of how Locata is now changing the world of positioning forever.

Several other comments:
(1) The New Scientist article is wrong in some details about the major USAF contract just awarded to Locata ( New Scientist reported that “Even the US military, which invented GPS technology, signed a contract last month agreeing to a large-scale test of Locata at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.” Fail!! They convey an unfortunate impression that the contract is only for “a test”. This is absolutely not the case. The USAF “tests” were carried out exhaustively over the many years leading up to this contract award. This contract is actually for the operational deployment of Locata as the core component of the new “USAF truth reference system” (i.e. the new yardstick!) for the development of US military positioning in the complete absence of GPS. The USAF knows we have already exceeded all their expectations. This should be a VERY strong signal to the consumer and commercial markets because these guys invented GPS, and they don't hand out "sole-source" contracts lightly to companies our size for completely new technology! Consumers, take note.... Remember that the technology the military used years ago is now the tech in your iPhone. Locata will be the same. The USAF has reported on Locata performance in a public article which is a little technical but still “accessible” to non-engineers ( ). The headline performance is this: In the complete absence of GPS Locata delivered better than 6cm (2.5 inch) positioning to aircraft 50km (30 miles) away flying at over 500 km/hr (310 mph). That’s about the width of a business card at 30 miles! I think anyone that’s involved in positioning should understand this is a staggering level of performance not available from any other technology on earth. This is NOT a simulation, an experiment or a prototype. It’s real-word, measured, DELIVERED performance for the most demanding customer on earth. Did I say “industry take note”? :0)

(2) Nevertheless… We are NOT trying to replace GPS. We’re going to FIX GPS so that stuff like Google Glass or real robotics can actually work in the future! You can place any number of satellites in the sky but that will still not enable the types of apps that Apple, Google, and myriad others want to develop for you. GPS must now have a local enhancement, and Locata is the invention that will enable this to happen (watch the video above, please!). The future is what we call GPS 2.0 – a tight integration of satellite+terrestrial technologies which give the same results, are complimentary, but are mutually independent. THAT”S the way to give the world a robust, dependable positioning system.

(3) Finally, centimeters or inches ARE critical for future apps. Again, this is not the place to teach everyone our real-world experience or that of other engineers trying to deliver functioning position-based technology. Honestly – hardly anyone using their phone understands how much YOU are doing to fix the problems underlying GPS in modern apps. If you want the REAL test of GPS on its own, close your eyes. In fact, here are the Top Gear guys showing you what will happen without “inches”. Reality bites starting at about 3:40 into the video. Enjoy.

I’ll get off my soapbox now! ;0) Thanks for your attention.

RE: Some comments from Locata
By futrtrubl on 1/4/2013 10:14:40 PM , Rating: 5
If you are really the CEO and I had Locata stock I would be selling as fast I could right now. Not professional at all.

RE: Some comments from Locata
By Lord 666 on 1/5/2013 6:16:08 PM , Rating: 2
It reads very legit based on his other writings. However, also reminds me of Lazaridis... very open and confident because he knows the technology is solid. Hopefully Nunzio does not let Locata rest on its laurels like RIM.

RE: Some comments from Locata
By Locata-Nunz on 1/6/2013 1:39:31 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry to offend, futrtrubl.

This is the first time I've posted here. I'm not sure why being very open about providing more information and trying to point out inaccuracies in published articles would be called out as "not professional". If I'm transgressing some protocol of this site, please let me know. Thank you.

RE: Some comments from Locata
By cyberguyz on 1/6/2013 12:03:27 PM , Rating: 3
You aren't transgressing protocols, but (some friendly free advice) you really should let your company's PR staff deal with this kind of thing rather than getting trolled. After all, that is what you are paying them for.

I can understand your excitement about your technology, the desire to spread that excitement and rebuff inaccuracies, but posting here personally won't really help that.

This site has a lot of trolls and you will get sucked into some pretty unprofessional-looking comments if you let them prompt you into defending your technology. I am sure you don't want that.

Let your contracts and and accomplishments speak for themselves. I for one am looking forward a more accurate public-level locator technology that will provide me with more accuracy and faster response than GPS currently gives me. I'll keep my eyes open and when you get closer to widespread deployment I'll keep an eye on your shares.

RE: Some comments from Locata
By chrnochime on 1/5/2013 11:44:40 AM , Rating: 2
tl:dr. What I want to know is, how strong is the EMF emanating from your boxes. More than 10 mG? more than 50mG?

RE: Some comments from Locata
By Locata-Nunz on 1/6/2013 3:46:12 AM , Rating: 2
General answers are on our website FAQ's ( Basically, it's the same power as your home wi-fi router, but more specifically...
The maximum signal power for devices in the ISM band is restricted by international regulation to +8 dBm within a 3 kHz bandwidth and to a maximum of 1 Watt. The generally accepted global guidelines for the ISM band are laid out in the United States’ FCC Part 15B regulations, and Locata devices comply with this ordinance.

DT News Flash: GPS Signals are Solid Objects!!!
By seeker353 on 1/4/2013 12:10:51 PM , Rating: 5
"Locata's signal is much stronger because solid objects like GPS signals don’t block it as easily."

DT's lack of editorial review is getting out of hand. We need to preview our comments before they're posted, shouldn't DT writers need to do the same?

RE: DT News Flash: GPS Signals are Solid Objects!!!
By gmyx on 1/4/2013 12:14:32 PM , Rating: 3
Watch out for that GPS Signal... it's going to hurt you!

By Schadenfroh on 1/4/2013 2:51:33 PM , Rating: 3
We need gamma ray communication to blast through these pesky solids.

By Motoman on 1/4/2013 12:33:09 PM , Rating: 3
Expecting people, especially "professional writers," to be able to successfully use the English language is silly?

You must be a very ineffectual individual.

By Iketh on 1/5/2013 7:06:30 PM , Rating: 2
what's worse is this error still exists (among others) hours later

ground-based location
By Argon18 on 1/4/2013 12:21:07 PM , Rating: 4
This technology seems useful in the same way that cell phones are useful - but also has the same limitations. Clearly this Locata stuff is fine for cities and shopping malls, but it isn't going to replace GPS any time soon.

GPS is a great technology because you can locate yourself in the middle of nowhere, the middle of the sea even, 1000 miles from anything, with no dependencies other than a clear view of the sky.

By matt0401 on 1/4/2013 1:32:02 PM , Rating: 3
I think using these two technologies together would be great. Cell phones with support for GPS and Locata would be able to quickly grab a Locata signal in a packed city on a cloudy day but by the time you head out to the country you've locked in a GPS signal to continue guiding you.

I keep my phone's GPS turned off except when I need it to save battery, but having to wait a few moments for it to get a signal when I need it can be a hassle. This would speed that up a lot.

By BifurcatedBoat on 1/4/2013 4:32:27 PM , Rating: 2
of the "wired house" vision of the future. All of your electronic devices have WiFi and a form of GPS integrated, and connect to a server-type computer in the home.

Buying something new and hooking it up is as simple as plugging it in and telling it to connect to the correct WiFi. From there, software on the server identifies what it is, where it is, and what its capabilities are. Then users can name and configure the device from the server.

Getting various devices to work together is all handled by the server, so if you want your new speaker for example to become part of your home theater setup, you'd simply tell the computer to include it in that setup. Based on where it is and how it's oriented, the audio software would figure out what channel(s) it corresponds to and direct the audio there appropriately during playback.

"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs
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