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Apple’s latest acquisition could be its most important buy in years

Apple Maps GPS

A recent Apple acquisition may soon make Apple Maps the most accurate mobile mapping software on the market. Originally spotted by MacRumors, and subsequently confirmed via The New York Times, Apple recently acquired Coherent Navigation, a mapping company founded in 2008 that specializes in incredibly accurate and precise GPS software and systems.

The report notes that Coherent Navigation uniquely focuses on a technology it calls High Integrity GPS, otherwise known as iGPS. iGPS works by combining satellite information from mid-earth GPS satellites with data from “low-earth satellites of voice and data provider Iridium.” The result is mapping software which boasts “greater accuracy, precision, higher signal integrity, and greater jam resistance.”

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All the more impressive, iGPS can purportedly “provide location information accurate to within centimeters.”

Naturally, Coherent Navigation’s CEO, along with the company’s co-founders, have since updated their LinkedIn profiles to note that they currently work for Apple.

Coherent Navigation’s website has since been taken down, but a preserved snapshot of the company’s “About Us” page demonstrates that Apple is getting some really great talent and technology.

Coherent Navigation develops services and solutions with our team of world-class engineers, harnessing our combined experience from precision navigation, differential GPS, hardware and software radio design, radio navigation, ionospheric physics, target tracking and sensor fusion, autonomous navigation and robotics, satellite mission operations and hardware development, and real-time embedded software development. We multiply our strength through long-lasting partnerships with industry leaders such as Boeing and Iridium, strong friendships with academic leaders at top-tier universities, and multi-branch relationships with many U.S. Department of Defense agencies and Fortune 500 companies.

While it’s intriguing and exciting that Apple is seemingly intent on improving the accuracy of GPS capabilities on the iPhone, an arguably more pressing question is when Apple Maps will finally integrate transit directions into the mix.

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.