In-Door Mapping

First, sorry for the slow past 2 months, I’ve been heads-down working on some new mobile enterprise stuff as an EIR at SRI. If you want to trade some notes on enterprise, feel free to give me a ping.

Second, I had recently moderated a WCA panel on in-door mapping. Fascinating discussion from all different angles and I thought to best explain what I learned was in the table below. Note, I’m definitely not an expert in this area and so feel free to comment if I made any errors and/or I am missing any important data.

[table id=3 /]

Not talked about in the table (but only alluded to) is business models. Out-door is clearly monetizing local search but in-door is still unclear? On the panel, this was the one question along with clever tricks for in-door positioning that nobody opted to answer πŸ™‚

Update: Just saw this partial video of the WCA event posted on YouTube:

Author: mobileraj


7 thoughts on “In-Door Mapping”

  1. Great summary, although we at Micello can summarize in fewer words – Outdoor is all about maps for car, indoor is about the maps for people!
    To answer your question on tricks for indoor positioning – from the companies we have tracked –
    1. WiFi – Fingerprinting
    2. WiFi – Signal strengths measurement and triangulation
    3. Long wave TV signal
    4. Cell tower signal chatter
    5. Audio signal
    6. Bluetooth & Zigbee
    7. MEMs

    I am sure there are still more tricks under the cover.


  2. we did a *lot* of research on various positioning options at Layar. There are a few that weren’t mentioned above that are probably going to end up most-promising IMO:
    – point cloud based determination of position (see earthmine. google is also collecting LIDAR pointclouds now too)
    – Ultra Wideband solutions (similar to wifi based positioning, but millimeter accurate. all solutions are proprietary today)

    The industry is in general agreement that a combination of solutions will be adopted, as each as pros/cons in different environments. Getting the perfect cocktail will take a while.


  3. Thanks Anil, I much prefer your summary πŸ™‚

    Yes, there is a laundry list of positioning techniques – fascinating to see those Trimble backpacks using TV RF to determine location, impressive.


  4. I believe retail is going to be the market with the greatest need for indoor positioning, especially the big-box stores. Everyone is looking for a solution that provides 3 feet of accuracy without requiring a whole new set of infrastructure. The ROI comes from manufacturers who are willing to pay to get access to those shoppers when they are actually next to the products they make. The hard part is actually making the technology and ecosystem work.


  5. Nice summary! I did not attend the meeting but very much appreciated the concise but informative summary. The Indoor location and navigation domain is receiving considerable attention in multiple fora these days. The following information adds to the mix of activity and information.

    I work for the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), a voluntary consensus standards organization focused on interface, encoding, and API standards work that enables the integration and use of geospatial (and spatial) content and services into any application or workflow.

    Since the middle of 2009, the OGC Members have driven an increasing amount of standards activity related to the requirements for Indoor applications. Our work assumes that there is exists a mechanism for provision of location data and that communication of that location to some device or application is possible. The OGC focus is more on providing standard interfaces and encodings to communicate the location data as well as interfaces and encodings to support applications such as tracking, navigation, sensor fusion, indoor mapping, floor plans and so on. From this perspective, we are coordinating with various other standards organizations that are also working the indoor space. This collaboration activity includes work with the IETF, W3C, OASIS, and ISO. There are numerous requirements that have been documented, such as how to seamlessly move from an outdoor reference system into an indoor reference system. One cannot assume that an indoor application will be using a WGS 84 geoid in 2d expressed as latitude/longitude coordinates! This requirement is critical to many emergency response applications. In terms of a “killer app”, well, if one listens to the emergency response community the indoor focus is on first responder safety, citizen evacuation, and other applications that save lives and reduce impacts. Obviously, content collected for consumer applications would be critical for use in EM situations and hence the requirement to be able to easy share content when and where needed is critical.

    In terms of the work of the OGC and our partners, below are some references that might be of interest:

    OGC summit on Indoor Location, Navigation, and Floor plans

    OGC Engineering Report on Indoor Navigation

    OGC overview of Indoor Location focus

    Click to access %5BOGC%5DIoT_Brochure_20110208.pdf

    Requirements and Space-Event Modeling for Indoor Navigation
    There is considerable work on “InDoorML” in the OGC. This work is currently being driven by the German, Korean, and Taiwan communities and is related to something known as u-City.

    Related to the work of the OGC, the IETF GeoPRIV Working Group has had numerous discussions and standards development work focused on indoor location and navigation. An interesting set of requirements is related to relative navigation as opposed to absolute navigation. An example of relative navigation is “Take elevator 1 to the 4th floor, turn right and go three offices on the left to room 406”. There is an internet draft describing this work.

    Any questions, please let me know!

    Carl Reed


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