New research will make the smartphone GPS more precise and accurate

By Vishal Kawadkar

    University of Otago, New Zealand, in collaboration with Curtin University, Australia have managed to improve the accuracy of the GPS significantly. You might have noticed that your smartphone's GPS isn't all that accurate. Well, that's about to change.

    New research will make the smartphone GPS more precise and accurate

    By bringing together the signals from four different Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSSs), Otago's Dr. Robert Odolinski and Curtin University colleague Prof Peter Teunissen, showed how to achieve (cm)-level precise positioning on a smartphone.

    "It's all down to the mathematics we applied to make the most of the relatively low-cost technology smartphones use to receive GNSS signals, combining data from American, Chinese, Japanese, and European GNSS. We believe this new capability will revolutionize applications that require cm-level positioning," Dr. Odolinski says.
    He believes that in order to understand the latest technology, a look back at the historical scientific context is needed.

    "For decades, construction, engineering, cadastral surveying and earthquake monitoring have relied on high-cost, 'dual-frequency', GPS positioning to obtain centimeter-level location information. The challenge is that GPS signals, traveling from Earth-orbiting satellites to receivers on the ground, are disrupted along the way, and this generates errors and limited precision. The traditional solution is to combine GPS signals sent at two different frequencies to improve the positions, but the antennas and receivers required have been expensive, far beyond the reach of many who would benefit from the technology," says Dr. Odolinski.

    The new technology uses one of the two frequencies but collects data from more satellites for what is called a "multi-constellation" GNSS solution. The extra data comes in handy for improving the positions without extra cost. The technology can be used for smartphones too. 

    "This significant reduction in costs when using smartphones can increase the number of receivers that can be deployed, which will revolutionize a range of disciplines requiring centimeter-level positioning, including precise car navigation, surveying, and geophysics (deformation monitoring), to name a few."

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