Indoor Positioning System (IPS): Navigation system beyond GPS

With the rapid development of transportation, GPS global positioning system has also become an indispensable tool for people to travel at home. But GPS can only tell us the outdoor transportation routes, and now there are so many huge buildings, it is very possible to walk around in the shopping mall and get lost, which makes the masses of people who are crazy about the road anxious. Technology is people-oriented, IPS (Indoor PosiTIon System) indoor positioning system came into being.

Why develop IPS

From the already popular portable navigation equipment, to the highly-regarded self-driving cars, and even the guidance of cruise missiles, all these application technologies must be realized thanks to the US Global Positioning System (GPS) and its Russian partners. GLONASS Global Satellite Navigation System (GLONASS). However, they both have two disadvantages: 1. They cannot work indoors. 2. They only wander in the two-dimensional world.

Today, the inconvenience caused by these limiting factors is becoming more and more obvious. After all, we use extremely weak satellite signals that traverse a long journey of 20,000 kilometers. The relatively strong mobile phone signals are not very powerful when crossing concrete and other solid obstacles, let alone GPS satellite signals: The difficulty of detecting GPS signals on Earth is basically the same as searching for the faint light emitted by a 25-watt light bulb more than 20,000 kilometers away.

When detecting altitude changes, the situation becomes more complicated. Both GPS and GLONASS can roughly measure altitude, but usually the measured data is rough and limited in accuracy (approximately in the range of 10 to 25 meters). Of course, despite all the shortcomings, the GPS satellite-based navigation system has completely changed all aspects of society: from hacking, agricultural telemetry, map surveying to finding a girlfriend.

So can we develop a navigation system for indoor positioning? The answer is yes. In fact, the so-called indoor positioning system (Indoor PosiTIoning System, IPS) has almost been realized.

Last year, Google Maps launched the floor plan application on Android. Service locations include shopping malls, airports and some large commercial areas. At the same time, Nokia is also developing a similar indoor positioning system, but unlike ordinary 2D floor plans, the system uses realistic 3D models. Broadcom has released a chip that supports IPS (BCM4752), and smartphones with this chip will soon be launched on the market.

Unlike GPS and GLONASS, IPS does not have a standard method of operation. Google ’s method is to track the location of the device through WiFi signals-by identifying the WiFi signal hotspots set up in the building, triangulating the strength of different signal sources to roughly get your approximate location; Nokia ’s solution is similar, but The medium used is a Bluetooth signal instead of a WiFi signal, so that more accurate results can be obtained (but this means that many Bluetooth signal sources need to be deployed); other ideas include infrared transmission and even sound source analysis. It is worth noting that any of the above solutions alone cannot achieve high accuracy and reliability. In a space full of all kinds of messy objects and complicated structures, these types of single signals will appear very simple and noisy, not to mention the signal interference caused by moving objects.

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