Dec 19



You're ten to one familiar with GPS tracking, it is so ubiquitous that it's hard to imagine a world without it.

But several newer technologies are vying for a piece of the navigation pie, and the Visual Positioning System (VPS) is one of the front runners.

A technology that uses images taken from your phone's camera to determine your location, doesn't require a line of sight to satellites, works indoors and in dense urban areas- Makes a lot of sense why big players – including Apple, Google, and Uber – are betting big on VPS.

So does that mean that an average consumer should be keeping an eye on this game-changer? Probably.

Your smartphone is the most important tool you need to use the VPS. To calculate location, the app uses your device's sensors (gyroscope, accelerometer, and magnetometer) to track movement. This combination of data—along with mapping coordinates from the server—tells your phone where you are concerning the landmark or object you're capturing in your photo.

The good news is that VPS works in pretty much any situation- indoors or out, in an open field or a city street; as long as there's a clear view of the sky, VPS can pinpoint your location.

Another thing that sets VPS apart from GPS is its accuracy which is down to a few meters, but VPS is typically accurate to within a couple of centimeters. That level of precision can be really helpful when you're trying to find something specific or want to make sure you're positioned exactly where you want to be.

Companies like Google, Alibaba, Tencent, Apple Maps, and HERE Technologies have developed their own VPS projects, that range from providing indoor navigation services to providing 3D models of indoor and outdoor spaces.

In addition to these existing players, start-ups such as NextNav LLC, Mapillary and Seevale are leading the charge in developing new VPS technology. They are working on improving accuracy and reliability through better cameras, sensors, and other technology to make it a more viable alternative to GPS.

Research and development continue to push the limits of VPS technology. Some teams are working on combining context awareness with VPS to get better positioning results in difficult places like underground car parks or tunnels where GPS reception is lacking. Other teams are exploring ways of adding augmented reality or virtual reality elements into navigation systems so that users have a better sense of direction when navigating unfamiliar places or routes. All these initiatives prove that the Visual Positioning System is quickly catching up with Global Positioning System in terms of accuracy, reliability, and application potential.

So far, it looks like VPS has a lot to offer to businesses and consumers and might soon be ready to knock GPS off its perch.

future technology
virtual reality