TED Conversations

Wan Qi Kim

Entrepreneur, March First

This conversation is closed.

To make gps truly useful, it needs z axis data... altitude. When will altitude be mm accurate? What technology will make it happen?

For a real world holodeck-like experience, whether it's for remote surgery, military training, un-manned robot expeditions, gaming, etc we're going to need spacial mapping, not just GPS which is planar... what will it take to make this real?

some of the implications are mind boggling... even at just the surface level: http://journik.com/convergence/crowdsourced-gps-health-data-gps-enabled-inhaler-can-it-warn-you-of-impending-asthma-attacks/

  • Jul 31 2012: GPS is only planar in its current software incarnation. The only thing stopping people from implementing the "z-axis" is that there hasn't been a need so far since most people aren't flying their cars, bikes, or boots. GPS "triangulation" is really "quadrangulation" with the earth as the 4th sphere. Remove that constraint and 4 satellites will give you your position in space.

    I think the problem that would need to be solved is one of relative positioning. Once you know your position in space relative to the satellites, what is your position relative to the earth given that the earth isn't precisely spherical? Not knowing that cold cause you to fly into the side of a mountain. I don't imagine it will be difficult to overcome. Perhaps pre-programming of ground altitudes for given earth coordinates. See, now there is no problem implementing a z-axis using current GPS technology. 4-channel receiver and earth altitude map and you're gold.
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    Jul 26 2012: This is where crowd sourcing will make all the difference and bring forth things like virtual reality.