Geotate develops software-based GPS

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Geotate has developed a software-based GPS system that could overcome many of the challenges inherent in today's geo-tagging systems in cameras, personal navigation devices and mobile phones..

Geotate was spun off from semi-conductor firm NXP, following the development of the 'Capture and Process' GPS platform.

The software captures and stores a short burst of available satellite data rather than taking the time, processing power and battery life to acquire a satellite fix.

The data is then processed via web-based services, either in real time or at a later date.

Geotate claims that this method dramatically reduces the cost and power requirements of handling GPS satellite signals, removing hurdles for the use of GPS signals in resource-limited devices such as cameras and location-loggers.

The company reckons that the technology will allow mainstream camera makers to enter into the market for GPS in consumer devices, a sector analyst firm IMS Research predicts will increase five-fold by 2011.

"New advances in GPS and location based services, such as geo-tagging, are driving growth of GPS into consumer devices such as cameras and laptops," said IMS Research analyst Matia Grossi.

"We expect to see the market take off in 2008 with well over one million GPS-enabled cameras sold, and strong growth forecast for the next four years thanks to new disruptive technologies like geo-tagging coming of age.

Hans Streng, chief executive at Geotate, added: "We expect in the region of four million cameras in the next 18 months to two years to come with embedded geo-tagging functionality.

"Until now, embedding GPS in portable devices has incurred lag times of 30 seconds to a minute, resulting in a clunky customer experience. Nobody is going to say: 'Hey, hold that pose for a minute while I fire up the GPS.'"

The growing demand for GPS functionality in portable devices such as digital cameras is also being spurred by social networking.

"Photo sites and online communities need to maintain financial growth through traffic-based business, camera manufacturers need to differentiate in an increasingly competitive market and end users need new and innovative management functionalities for their photo libraries. GPS is potentially the answer," said Grossi.

Streng told www.vnunet.com that there are wide number of different applications for Geotate's 'Capture and Process' system.

The system could be used by scientists to create much smaller and longer lasting tracking systems for use in studying animal movements.

Similarly the system could be embedded into bags or clothes allowing parents to locate their children as and when required.

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