OS Net supports Point One Navigation to make precision positioning accessible to GB enterprises

CEO and Founder of Point One Navigation shares his story and experience working alongside OS

6 minute read
Point One Navigation has become a Licensed Partner with OS and integrated OS Net into its own accurate positioning and ‘precise location as a service.’

Point One Navigation is a Californian-based start-up organisation, enabling ‘precise location as a service.’ It offers Polaris, a cloud-based positional correction service, and a centimetre-accurate positioning platform, with potential for new applications; from semi-driverless cars to robotics, to drones and augmented reality.

The organisation believes that location is an enabler. It is the key that unlocks the merging of the digital world, and the physical world. It can unlock efficiencies that have long been present in computing environments, but in the real world. The goal is to be the location infrastructure for future applications, by making location ubiquitous, easy to integrate, and reliable.

To that end, the organisation is already expanding globally to help advance emerging sectors such as automotives, robotics, surveying, and mobility. Since expanding into Great Britain, Point One Navigation has become a Licensed Partner with Ordnance Survey (OS), joined the OS Channel Partner Programme, and integrated the OS Net network into its own Polaris.

Aaron Nathan, CEO and Founder, shares his story of how the organisation began, its core markets, and its plans for the future.

An accessible, scalable data model

Back in 2007, Nathan and colleagues participated in the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Grand Challenge: a task designed to ‘accelerate the development of autonomous vehicle technologies.' Nathan has a professional career and experience based in robotics, and precise positioning is a core tenant of robotics – in simple terms, all things need to know where they are.

Nathan and team were successful in the DARPA Grand Challenge, but recognised they’d been limited by their GPS; the positioning software of the time was insufficient to solve a problem. Nathan saw this limitation as an opportunity, rather than a problem, recognising that when accurate positioning works, it can be incredibly powerful.

Point One Navigation shares a similar, positive narrative with many other start-up enterprises: they saw a need in the market and built a service to fulfil that need.

The goal became how to make positioning and location technology accessible to everyone, something ubiquitous that works everywhere. They wanted something appropriate for the mass market, that could be supported by modern interfaces.

There was a problem, however. The United States (US) doesn’t have a national-scale model for positioning and coordinates, it would be subject to 50 separate states’ legalisation and procedures. There are smaller networks that cover an area of the US but there remained a need for something larger, something scalable.

"It would be great if we had an Ordnance Survey of the US, one map network, but unfortunately that’s not how it works."

Aaron Nathan, CEO and Founder, Point One Navigation

Reaching new markets and distribution

Nathan and his team realised that they could take the lessons of terrestrial cellular distribution (phone signals) across the US, and apply it to the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) to build something that can be deployed at a country-wide scale. They wanted to optimise wherever possible, and create a positioning service for a reduced cost.

Then, overcoming the issue of prohibitively high prices for consumers, they could apply precise location technology to markets which wouldn’t have had access to it before. The team would be supporting advancements and bringing down prices, to enable consumers to build solutions.

“We're already seeing massive leaps in capability that would have been unheard of, three to five years ago, with our location technology as a basis.”

A woman surveying, in a high-visibility jacket and hard hat, kneeling on a sunny street
Point One Navigation's accurate positioning can enable high precision surveying

Point One Navigation has since sold into four key markets globally – automotives, robotics, surveying, and mobility – with current and future key use-cases including:

1) Precision agriculture and agricultural robotics
Drones and robots that can navigate independently for crop scanning/photogrammetry, fruit picking, and precision application of fertiliser and pesticide.

2) Damage Prevention and Construction
Mapping and location of underground assets, precision surveying, construction robotics, and inspection.

3) Transportation and Logistics
Advanced Driver Assistance (ADAS) and working towards the goal of achieving semi-driverless technology. This also includes assistance in last mile delivery efficiency – getting a delivery driver two steps closer to the door.

4) Drone Mapping and Photogrammetry
Drone mapping, path planning, and increasing the efficiency of creating comprehensive maps.

5) Robotics
Any robot that operates outside benefits from precision, such as automated lawn mowers and grounds maintenance.

6) Public Services
Location services for Enhanced 911 – a system that links a location to the 9-1-1 call – plus construction, and other public uses. Point One Navigation have also begun planning and engagement with UK-based emergency services as well.

Global expansion and OS partnership

2023 saw Point One Navigation’s efforts expanding overseas, rapidly building new solutions in France and Germany – both two critical hubs in the automotive market for Europe. Point One Navigation had started moving its equipment when it was less than ten people; numbers have since expanded to 50, with colleagues in Europe and Japan.

Global expansion saw an increased focus on forming new partnerships and alliances with key agencies and stakeholders, collaborating with the best providers to align the Point One Navigation core infrastructure; moving away from the closed system of how GPS used to work.

When it came to expanding into Great Britain, Point One Navigation recognised OS as its own professional service, one that was modern, and associated with high-quality data. As Nathan put it: “everything we wanted was there.”

"We advertise 99% SLA – outages are not tolerable. Our customers have come to expect it to just work. We’re only as good as the data coming in, so we’ve aligned with quality, reliable data from a provider who knows what they’re doing."

Aaron Nathan, CEO and Founder, Point One Navigation

To support that service offer, they are licensing OS Net; OS’s accurate and resilient network of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) base stations spread across Great Britain. OS surveyors use the OS Net network to accurately survey map features using the latest GNSS technology.

What’s next?

Point One Navigation has integrated OS base stations to improve accuracy, precision, reliability, and interoperability in Great Britain. Through the partnership with OS, Point One Navigation plans to focus on the robotics sector, and smart products – applications with short design cycles, where it’s possible to integrate new data and their positioning APIs, quickly.

Then, over the next ten years, Point One Navigation recognise the automotive industry will continue to grow and develop. There will be more robotics, moving capabilities from the digital world to the physical world, and everything will need highly precise locations.

“Organisations worldwide will be judged by the data they use – we will help to enable high-quality data, making data never seen before. Today we’re enabling technologies; tomorrow, we’ll be building new systems.

“We want to make Point One Navigation ubiquitous. A high precision service: brokers of how precise location data is considered and used as an advantage.”

Learn more about OS Net

Enabling the expansion into Great Britain and helping Point One Navigation to deliver precision accuracy is Ordnance Survey’s OS Net network. Through OS Net, Point One Navigation can access an established, trusted national coordinate reference system for Great Britain, delivering real-time positioning services. Point One Navigation has integrated the OS Net network into its own Polaris, a corrections network providing cm-accurate positioning.

By integrating OS Net, Point One Navigation has also joined other OS Licensed Partners that benefit from the service, and can use it in their own solutions. OS Net has been adopted to optimise aviation safety, support semi-autonomous tractors and precision farming, and is used by numerous organisations based in agriculture, surveying, construction, and land management.

OS Net-based positioning services are available via our Licensed Partners. Discover how Point One Navigation’s positional accuracy can improve your efficiency by exploring our OS Net Partners.

Or if you’d like to learn more about OS Net for your own positional accuracy solutions in Great Britain, click below:

See how OS Net could help and support your business

OS Net can help deliver efficiencies, providing access to a stable, national coordinate reference system

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By Ordnance Survey

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