Can blockchains replace GPS mapping?


Blockchain technology offers many advantages over traditional centralized systems. It offers higher levels of transparency, is less susceptible to hacking, and allows for faster data processing. As such, several industries have already started to leverage the power of blockchain or are in the process of doing so.

Global Positioning Systems are the latest addition to the list of industries considering the application of blockchain systems. And the benefits of merging the two verticals look pretty promising, especially for end users.

Let’s see how blockchain technology can augment GPS mapping.

Blockchain based mapping

The use of GPS-based navigation systems has become the norm these days. Most of us have used Google Maps or Apple Maps while traveling or commuting. It became an essential technology for the time.

When you use mapping services, the Global Positioning System locates your location, maps it in conjunction with your surroundings, and then displays it on your mobile device in a real-time interface.

Although it’s been working for over a decade now, the system has its share of problems and inefficiencies. For example, data provided by these systems may at times be inaccurate and may take a long time to load onto your device. Moreover, since these systems track your location in real time, it may lead to violation of users’ privacy. Additionally, from a business perspective, traditional GPS systems can also be expensive to build and maintain.

Many traditional centralized mapping entities such as Google and Apple have proprietary data that may be outdated. They may not reflect the current geographical conditions of an area, especially with the rapid development of roads, highways and related infrastructure.

GPS also has a problem when it comes to mapping dense urban environments. Forming interactive maps in localities with tiny alleys and alleys requires people from the mapping company to carefully map each street. This can be time consuming and expensive. The power of decentralized blockchain technology can be harnessed to solve many of these problems.

GPS mapping requires the processing and storage of large amounts of data, and this data is usually stored in a centralized server. This could cause latency issues when accessing and sharing data. On the other hand, blockchain-based decentralized applications distribute data between devices (nodes) in the network. This will reduce latency and ensure transparent access to data.

Additionally, with a network of nodes constantly approving actions and data changes instead of a centralized entity, the app will have up-to-date and accurate location information. And due to the consensus mechanism in blockchains which requires verification from multiple nodes in the network, the data cannot be tampered with.

The biggest advantage of using blockchain-based mapping will be privacy. In GPS-based mapping, users have to send their location data to multifaceted, billion-dollar organizations that can use location-based information for whatever purpose they see fit. They could sell your data to advertisers, and there’s not much you can do about it. However, no centralized entity oversees operations in a blockchain. Instead, your data is simply stored across multiple network nodes.

FOAM and the Proof-of-Location Protocol

An exciting blockchain-based protocol has emerged that is being used to solve the problems of the traditional GPS-based mapping system. This is called the Proof-of-Location (PoL) protocol.

PoL allows coordinates of mobile devices to be sent to a blockchain network so that other devices can easily rely on the location data. This protocol offers secure location verification using time synchronization in an autonomous network without permission.

One of the most prominent blockchain projects trying to create a decentralized mapping network is the FOAM network. FOAM is built on the Ethereum network and uses a service known as geohash to create network addresses that correspond to actual locations.

The PoL protocol uses radio transmitters, called anchors, as network nodes that participate in the location verification process. They are basically like nodes used in the bitcoin network that participate in transaction security and verification.

People in the network can mine these nodes by staking FOAM’s native token. Nodes in the FOAM network connect to each other to form zones that define a specific area of ​​the earth. This helps provide accurate, fast and cost-effective mapping services.

(Edited by : Jomy Jos Pullokaran)


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