Here be dragons

Time and time again I see a common GPS misconception. Anyone who has done some geocaching will have noticed these problems.

GPS isn’t very reliable in bad weather and in cities. In fact anywhere with a poor view of the satellites required for a location fix. It also sometimes takes a fair few minutes for a fix once the device is activated.

For example on the BBC show Meet the Dragons an invention which used GPS to log co-ordinates when people fall overboard is flawed.

If someone falls off a pleasure boat it’s probably in bad weather. GPS probably won’t work then.

Whilst I was in New Caledonia I did log co-ordinates of my friends who went snorkeling. This isn’t that useful as currents can be really strong and it really isn’t easy to spot submerged people even in quite calm seas.

Sonar doesn’t really work until someone is under the water. If someone has fallen off the boat in seas and under water, you best be a really good swimmer and at the kiss of life too.

Whilst I am here, I would like to also criticize the “Meet the dragons” show for encouraging patents. Patents should not be required to run a successful business. It’s not the idea, it’s the implementation. The show is actually really about implementation. Getting that capital, help & expertise. It should concentrate on that.

Finance isn’t very relevant to software companies I like to think. One should be able to hash out a workable implementation that can grow from there with very little financial resources. If you do need a little money for an office and some kit, normal banks should be able to help. I don’t see why you need as much as 100k GBP that many of the featured entrepreneurs seem to require.

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