Global Positioning System (GPS)
Have you ever wondered how your TomTom or OnStar works? How can GPS calculate your exact position on Earth in the city of Burbank, California? How does the navigational company know what your house looks like in Ontario? How is it possible to look up a street address on the Internet and use your computer to take a “sightseeing” stroll down the street in San Francisco, tilting and rotating your view as if you were really there on a magic carpet ride?
Satellite technology provides us the capability to locate an address from afar. There are currently 24 satellites that circle the earth twice a day at a very precise orbit. These satellites transmit their current positions and data to Earth, where GPS systems read the information and uses triangulation to determine the users’ location within 6 to 20 feet. These satellites can also calculate other data such as speed, bearing, distance to destination, and sunrise and sunset time. 3D rendering and high-resolution pixels allow us to see real time images of any longitude and latitude coordinate on Earth, whether in Long Beach or in Hollywood.
For example, California is a state of various terrains, including mountains, beaches, deserts, countryside and populated cities. Those interested in viewing the state can easily enter any of the following cities into a Google Earth search: Alameda, Bakersfield, Berkeley, Brea, Coalinga, Covina, El Cajon, El Monte, Encino, El Toro, Irvine, Oceanside/Carlsbad, Santa Barbara, San Diego/Lindavista, San Rafael, Stockton, and Valencia.
However, if you are a resident of a fairly new construction area in the outskirts of Anaheim or Sacramento, your exact address may “not be found”. Unfortunately, we have to rely on local map suppliers to update their information before your new address in Campbell appears in GPS software.
TomTom, the world’s leading navigation solutions provider, takes the data a step further. TomTom provides its employees a company car fully equipped with a video recorder. Employees are assigned to drive down every single street, capturing video footage to help ensure an accurate travel time and updated images. TomTom employees do their best to avoid cities such as Fresno, Beverly Hills, and Los Angeles during rush hour traffic due to congested areas on intersecting streets.
In a recent study, TomTom identified the best and worst places for commute, ranking New Zealand the worst city in the world. The company says they are on a mission to reduce traffic congestion and make the best possible use of the existing road network.