GPS aids in catching thieves in Korea

14 Sep 2006

(Korea Times via NewsEdge) Information technology has lengthened the long arm of the law in South Korea with global positioning system (GPS) now being used to catch thieves.

Early September 6, a taxi driver in Seoul had his car stolen. Remembering that the car had GPS, he reported the robbery to T.ON Telecom, the GPS service provider.

T.ON Telecom let the police know about the auto theft and at the same time tracked the missing vehicle, which was then located on an expressway between Seoul and Kangnung.

That set off a pursuit and police finally caught the stolen cab and the thief on the expressway, less than one-and-a-half hours after the robbery had taken place.

"The quick wit of the taxi driver and our technological edge came together to catch the thief, who would otherwise easily have avoided any pursuit," a T.ON Telecom official said.

Vehicle thieves will have more reason to worry in 2008 when Korea is able to depend on the services of 30 satellites that can pinpoint the positions of objects with the precision of 1m.

The country had earlier agreed to contribute 5 million euros ($6.3 million) to be a part of the Galileo program, which would begin a pilot run in 2008 before its commercial debut in 2010.

Korea plans to use the current GPS, spearheaded by the US, while maintaining Galileo as a backup. This is expected to double the precision of positioning services.

Galileo is the world's largest commercial space program aimed at providing a precision time and location system based on 30 satellites and ground stations.

The 3.4-billion-euro ($4.3-billion) program was started by the EU and the European Space Agency, and later included aspiring space powers such as China and Israel.

Thus far, the US has dominated global positioning technology under its military developed GPS system.

© 2006 Korea Times

© 2006 Dialog, a Thomson business. All rights reserved

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