Researchers develop system to improve GPS accuracy in cities up to 90%

Updated Feb 26, 2013

GPSIn the bustle of a city full of traffic, narrow streets, tall buildings, trees and other obstacle, GPS can have a hard time accurately locating a vehicle whether its your family sedan, or your dozer.

In an open field, the margin of error of GPS location is 50 feet. But urban settings increase that mark to 164 feet — unacceptable if your jobsite depends on an accurate reading.

But Spanish researchers at Charles III University of Madrid say they’ve developed a new system that has improved GPS location in urban settings between 50 and 90 percent, according to Science Daily.

The researchers have been able to locate vehicles in their with an accuracy between 3 and 6 1/2 feet. Their system achieves this accuracy by incorporating sensors you can find in your phone or tablet. Three accelerometers and three gyroscopes measure the movement and speed of the vehicle being tracked.

The readings taken by the sensor are merged with the location data and used to correct any deviation from an accurate location reading.

The researchers’ testing and findings have focused primarily on automobiles, but the new system could also assist applications in construction too, especially telematics.

And because your smartphone and tablet already have these sensors, the researchers believe they can improve location accuracy within GPS apps such as Google Maps as well.