Out in Front: Addiction on the Rise

September 1, 2015  - By
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How accurate is good enough for the majority of your market sector? This chart show the answers from those who identified themselves as members of the survey and high-precision community. For more results from this and other sectors, see the 2015 State of the GNSS Industry Report.

How accurate is good enough for the majority of your market sector? This chart show the answers from those who identified themselves as members of the survey and high-precision community. For more results from this and other sectors, see the 2015 State of the GNSS Industry Report.

Memory fails as to who first said “Accuracy is addictive.” Or perhaps it’s my knowledge base that is deficient. At any rate, I’ll gladly publish documented evidence from anyone who can show the earliest — print or audio — expression of that dictum. It continues to hold as true for this industry as Moore’s Law does for computer technology as a whole.

We have seen the gradual tightening of accuracy requirements across all sectors of the positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) community with each successive iteration of our State of the GNSS Industry Survey, now in its fourth year. This is the first time we have seen it cross the 1-centimeter line. Not in capability; sub-centimeter capability has been available for some time. But now that level of performance is the minimum acceptable “good enough” for more respondents in the survey and high-precision sector than any lesser degree of accuracy; in fact, greater than all other ranges combined. These addicts form the new majority. Their preferences and their behaviors will rule our world.

Other sectors will presumably answer likewise in coming years, following the trail blazed by the high-precision pioneers.

We have crossed the Rubicon. Unlike other obsessive behaviors, there is no going back in our case. This path is a one-way road to  — well, not to the various hells entailed by other addictions — but to the promised land of always-on, always-true, near-perfect provision of positioning.

Let’s not kid ourselves, however. The perfect world does not exist. The closer we get to millimetric accuracy, the more obstacles we find in our way. Indoor continuity aka ubiquity, jamming, spoofing, hacking, budget cutbacks, slides to the right — this list will surely grow.

The more acute our addiction, the lower our tolerance for less-than-total fulfillment.

About the Author:


Alan Cameron is the former editor-at-large of GPS World magazine.

1 Comment on "Out in Front: Addiction on the Rise"

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  1. William K. says:

    For keeping track of fork-lifts in a plant 1 meter is sufficient accuracy, likewise for tracking pallets of cartons. So the need for accuracy depends entirely on the application. And,of course, as in many systems, increased accuracy comes with an increased price.

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