Can GPS Be Replaced?


La Paz Group

A new geolocation system is helping people get around in places where the streets have no name. PHOTO: Mapcode A new geolocation system is helping people get around in places where the streets have no name. PHOTO: Mapcode

Rely on numbers to get around the neighbourhood? Then this one’s for you. A nonprofit called the Mapcode Foundation, has designed a system that assigns a unique and easily remembered address to any spot on the planet, without reference to landmarks or street names. Mapcodes consist of between four and nine digits and letters, which correspond to a five-square-metre patch on land or sea. Vowels have been eliminated from the system—so that mapcodes would not look like words, and because “O”s and “I”s cause confusion—but the remaining Latin consonants can be replaced with characters from the alphabets of most major languages. And the addresses are largely sequential: take a few steps in any direction and you’re in another square with a similar mapcode.

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