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GPS misguided? Google Maps VPS is here

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For the past few months, the buzzword has been visual positioning system, or VPS. VPS is a Google Maps feature that helps to overcome the difficulties of the Global Positioning System (GPS) and provides more precise locations.

Since 2018-19, Google has been working with a technology dubbed global localization to overcome the GPS problem, which uses VPS, Street View, and machine learning to better correctly determine position and orientation. In addition, in December 2022, the business implemented immersive, location-based AR experiences using the ARCore Geospatial API.

What is Visual Positioning System (VPS)?

VPS is a technology that allows a device, such as a smartphone or a drone, to detect its physical location and orientation by using visual signals. VPS systems examine images from a camera or other optical sensor and compare them to a database of known locations or characteristics using computer vision algorithms.

Google’s VPS

Google Maps makes use of VPS to give location and navigation services to users of its augmented reality ‘Live View’ feature. The camera on a user’s smartphone is used to deliver real-time, AR-enhanced navigation instructions and position information.

The VPS system analyses photos collected by the smartphone camera to establish the user’s location and orientation before superimposing AR features such as virtual signs and arrows over the camera view to provide directions and other information.

Overall, VPS technology is critical to many of Google Maps’ location and navigation functions, allowing for precise and accurate location information in a variety of contexts.

How does VPS work?

VPS uses images rather than GPS signals to detect a device’s location. VPS first constructs a map by evaluating a sequence of photos with known locations for key visual features such as the contour of buildings or bridges in order to develop a large-scale and rapid searchable index of those visual features. VPS matches the features in the phone’s images to those in the VPS index to localise the device. However, the quality of both the imagery and the location linked with it has a significant impact on the accuracy of localization utilizing VPS.

Google has linked it to Street View photos, which have been captured around the world for more than 15 years and form the basis of VPS. Deep neural networks recognise and describe image components that are likely to be recognisable over time. These components are then integrated over tens of billions of photos to generate a three-dimensional point cloud of the worldwide environment. This localization model has trillions of points and covers practically all countries in the future.

When the user’s device requests the Geospatial API, a neural network processes the pixels to identify recognised elements of the user’s environment and compares them to the VPS localization model. Computer vision algorithms then compute the device’s position and orientation, providing a significantly more accurate location than was previously feasible with GPS alone.

What is the role of Geospatial API?

The ARCore Geospatial API allows you to remotely attach content to any location covered by Google Street View and create global AR experiences. It detects the device’s environment using a sensor and GPS data, then compares the identifiable aspects of that environment to a localization model given by Google’s Visual Positioning System (VPS) to determine the precise location of a user’s device. In addition, the API combines the user’s local coordinates with the geographic coordinates from VPS, allowing the user to work inside a single coordinate system.

What are the advantages?

The new visual system is intended to provide adequate assistance in resolving navigation issues. Here are a few features of Google VPS that set it apart in this technologically advanced era:

  • VPS can assist you in gaining better business insights and assisting clients on the ground.
  • Gives the user the benefits of local marketing.
  • It is adaptable to all kinds of transportation. It is a transportation industry icon.
  • Very helpful in cities where GPS services are frequently diverted or obstructed by skyscrapers.
  • Usability in indoor and outdoor settings, as well as in GPS-denied conditions, with guaranteed accuracy regardless of area size.
  • The close-up visual assistance provided by VPS can help the vision handicapped navigate.

Info source – Geospatial World

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