Indoor geo-location or indoor positioning is still a relatively new technology that has yet to go mainstream.
This technology aims to provide GPS like service within indoor venues where GPS signals are not available and allows for consumers to navigate indoors. Part of the reason for this is the difficulties in developing stable positioning systems indoors which can come from unreliable mapping and data collection.
There are two main methods that are being used today to provide positioning services. One method is to use beacons placed in specific areas and then use them as reference points. A mobile device can then detect the beacons and calculate its own location relative to the beacons’ signal strength and time delay. The second method is to use signals of opportunity, also known as finger print database method. This means a mobile device will use its Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and magnetic sensors to detect signals it sees (or detects) in the environment. In order to calculate where its own position the mobile device requires a database to correlate against. With this method the database characterizes a signal strength of multiple emitters and each grid spot in the database.
Each of these two primary methods have drawbacks of their own which Reckon Point has analyzed and developed a solution to improve their performance. Beacons (Bluetooth) typically have a short range so deployments on a large scale present a problem such that hundreds if not thousands of beacons are required. This means someone has to place them all out and map them as well. If they are battery operated this introduces a whole new level of maintenance to the operators. Emitters of opportunity already exist in the environment and are normally powered by fixed infrastructure. With this method a map of the environment is still needed for correlation. Reckon Point’s technology is focused around creating fingerprint databases.
Some companies who provide finger print solutions offer a do it yourself kit where a user maps the environment using their mobile phone. This can lead to unsatisfactory results if the mobile device being used is not calibrated and if the true location where the signal is collected is not known with good accuracy. Reckon Point solves this problem by developing a highly accurate collection system capable of 1 cm position accuracy indoors when tagging signals. Our Mobile Indoor Geo-Location Survey Unit (MIGSU) is capable of collecting very high resolution with unparalleled accuracy. It can be used for both beacons and fingerprint databases. Engineers and scientist have also known for a while that one of the limiting factors for indoor positioning accuracy is the number of nodes used as a reference. With the MIGSU the number of nodes collected square meter is very high. This results in a very high density database capable of reliable sub-meter accuracy when operational. In conjunction with the signal collection the MIGSU also creates a 3D map of the building using LIDAR and provides a high density point cloud to develop 3D images of the interior of the building.
With this new collection system Reckon Point is striving to map hundreds and thousands of buildings and provide location based providers with access to the best data on the market. Reckon Point has launched a crowd funding project to support the first prototype of the MIGSU and will allow free access to two venues for developers to test drive.
Gabe Garza – Founder
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