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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Weird news: Crushing house based on wrong GPS coordinates

GPS (Global Positioning System) is a satellite based system of providing the coordinates of any point on earth, and is used for a number of different applications such as being able to plot destinations, traffic mapping, city planning, races, etc. GPS is also being used more and more for offensive tactics such as positioning for cruise missiles, bombs, and other targeting. GPS has seen to be seen as a major solution accelerator for many industries, however, the dependence on GPS to the exclusion of any other factor caused this man to lose his house (link to article):

A Georgia man is none too happy that his memory-filled family home, lovingly hand built "brick by brick" by Pop, is now a scene of rubble-strewn desolation after a demolition firm used a GPS to identify its victim and moved in for the kill. Al Byrd of Sandy Springs got a bit of a shock earlier this month when someone called to let him know the Carroll County house was no more. Byrd had lived there with his nine brothers and sisters, and the house still contained precious heirlooms including "mom’s dining room set … her hutch with her dishes in there"
“I said, ‘What address did you have?’ and he said, ‘They sent me some GPS coordinates.’ I said, ‘Don’t you have an address?’ [and] he said, ‘Yes, my GPS coordinates led me right to this address here and this house was described.’”

A great problem, imagine demolishing a house just because the technology used for GPS erred; but this was also true in some cases where drivers have been reported as having been guided down wrong roads while using their GPS trackers. It would have been good for the firm to have got a confirmation for the address before demolishing it.

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