GPS indoors? A universe of possibilities.

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A wide use of location-based services (LBS) requires location technology that is ubiquitous and effective, always with a view to application. Satellite-based location systems, such as GPS, already ensure this function in outdoor spaces. In the interior spaces, its operation is not reliable and opens space for the investigation of technological solutions that can have the same type of success in the applicability in interior spaces.

The importance of the theme is even more evident when it is observed that people spend between 80-90% of their daily time indoors [1].

With the increasing degree of evolution of business information systems and the increasing complexity of spaces (airports, shopping malls, etc.), it is increasingly important to have the information of people’s location, or resources, in real time. For example,

a company can improve its efficiency and lower costs if at all times it has the information where its most important resources are located either to geo-locate its actions or to intervene in the process of decision and operationalization of its processes (thus moving towards the principles of Industry 4.0), or to maintain an informed and frequent control of the location of its resources.

Another example, in this case the use of location by society in general, may be that of a person who arrives at a shopping center, hospital or other public place and needs her location in order to know where she is, what that place can offer and to understand which way to take to reach the destination.

The Center for Computer Graphics together with the group UBICOMP – Mobile and Ubiquitous Systems Research Group of the Algoritmi Center of the University of Minho, has been working in recent years in the pursuit of this objective and its work has been distinguished with the first places in a of the most prestigious international competitions of localization in interior spaces. The current indoor location approach is based on sensor fusion, basing technology on Wi-Fi Fingerprinting. As Wi-Fi networks are now present almost everywhere, this technology can meet the location accuracy requirements of most of the applications required without the need for a specific infrastructure and, if desired, the location of common Smartphones.

Who can not imagine the success of a technology that allows us to have a location in interior spaces, just as we can now do it outdoors with GPS?


Sources:

[1] Sithole, G.; Zlatanova, S. Position, Location, Place and Area: An Indoor Perspective. In Proceedings of the ISPRS Annals of Photogrammetry Remote Sensing & Spatial Information Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic, 12–19 July 2016; pp. 89–96;

[2] Moreira, A., Nicolau, M. J., Costa, A., & Meneses, F. (2016, October). Indoor tracking from multidimensional sensor data. In Indoor Positioning and Indoor Navigation (IPIN), 2016 International Conference on (pp. 1-8).


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 João Moutinho | Coordinator of D.I.A Urban and Mobile Computing of CCG

João Moutinho has a degree, a Master’s and a PhD in Electrotechnical and Computer Engineering from the University of Porto. Currently he is D.I.A development coordinator of UMC: Urban and Mobile Computing. His research interests include the areas of indoor localization technologies, signal processing, electroacoustics, psychoacoustics and accessibility for the visually impaired.