What's the Latest Development?
The US military recently signed a contract for a large-scale test of Locata, a positioning system created by an Australian-based company, also named Locata. It works by using ground-based equipment to deliver radio signals that are a million times stronger than GPS. This strength makes it possible for Locata to work indoors as well as outdoors, though the effectiveness may vary depending on the landscape. In the open desert at New Mexico's White Sands Missile Range, Locata was able to resolve a location to within 18 centimeters.
What's the Big Idea?
Urban environments, with dense collections of buildings, may prove more of a challenge to Locata, which is why the company is testing its technology in Sydney with police and other emergency service providers. A combined Locata-GPS system called Jigsaw is helping with placement of drill rigs at a gold mine in western Australia. Company founder Nunzio Gambale says that receivers small enough to fit into smartphones should be available within the next five years. An app using Locata "could not only guide you around a mall, railway station or airport, but take you to the exact shelf in a shop for the product you want."
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