BAE Systems, a major worldwide Defense and Security Firm is working on a GPS alternative NAVSOP, which will use a totally different methodology for getting a position fix. The new system uses the ether of transmission waves from Wi Fi, mobile phones, televisions, radio and alike, to get position details just about anybody. This is a considerable improvement over current positioning systems like GPS and GLONASS, which use satellites to get data on latitude and longitude. The new positioning system is dubbed NAVSOP, which stands for Navigation via Signals of Opportunity.
Check out the infographic in its full glory here.
The most promising thing about NAVSOP is that it does not require a multi-billion dollar satellite cluster hovering over the sky. All the infrastructure required to run NAVSOP is already present in the form of various household and hand-held equipment that emit identifiable waves. We have already seen Android phones using A-GPS to retrieve approximate location, with help from a data network. Not only does NAVSOP use all this existing infrastructure, the model of operation makes it possible for NAVSOP work in areas with poor reception of GPS (think indoors or the subway).
Another advantage of NAVSOP is put up on their official blog, saying,
NAVSOP is resistant to hostile interference such as jamming (a particular weakness of GPS) and spoofing, where a bogus signal tricks a device into misidentifying its location. The new system can learn from signals that are initially unidentified to build an ever more accurate and reliable fix on its location.
From the way I see it, this technology relies heavily on other people who will be used as a constant source of location information. This might alert privacy watchdogs and wreak havoc about wireless footprints of device and their traceability.