Sky-Tech: The Latest GPS Upgrade & Why You Should Care

Lockheed Martin is about to start ground-testing the next generation of GPS Satellites. When the new birds launch in a couple of years, they’re likely to bring much joy to millions of users who’ve become increasingly dependent on their GPS tracking devices and vehicle navigation systems.  The $5.5 billion project is poised to upgrade every aspect of the Global Positioning System, promising improved accuracy, reliability and resistance to signal-jamming.

Currently, most GPS trackers are accurate within approximately 10 feet in optimal conditions. After the upgrade, it’s said that devices receiving signals from the new “Block III Satellites” will be able to pinpoint a target’s position within three feet. That might not seem like a world-changing boost, but it should translate into more precise driving directions on the ground — and better tracking of slower-moving assets (like people on foot).

Block III GPS technology is also expected to make for significantly more reliable performance in heavily wooded and urban areas — and theoretically, indoors.

According to the Associated Press, the Block III signal will be higher-powered and “harder for enemies to jam.” Consumer GPS jammers are illegal to sell or use in the U.S., but the devices have become popular among truckers and other commercial drivers who don’t want their employers monitoring them while they’re on the road.

Exciting as this news may be to gadget heads and industry insiders, there’s no need to bombard retailers with requests for the new GPS tech — at least not yet. The Block III birds aren’t scheduled to hit the satellite belt until approximately May of 2014. Until then, keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel. We’ll watch the sky for you.

(Via PC World)

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