Finnish startup can locate you indoors using magnetic field anomalies

There is no need for an internet connection

While GPS tracking tends to be ineffective inside buildings, alternative indoor positioning solutions require the presence of Wi-Fi network access points or other beacons … or at least, that was the case before a Finnish start-up called IndoorAtlas stepped onto the scene. Its software uses your phone’s built-in compass and measures the anomalies in the Earth’s magnetic field to pinpoint your location in a building with the accuracy ranging from 0.1 meter to 2 meters (3.93 inches to 6.56 feet). If spiny lobsters can do it, so can we, the logic goes.

Lobsters and a host of other animals, such as birds and sea turtles, have a nifty way of figuring out where they are. Not only are they able to detect the direction of the Earth’s magnetic field, but they’re also able to derive directional information from how the field changes due to local anomalies, thus establishing where they are relative to their target location.

Buildings made of concrete and steel also have unique spatial magnetic field signatures. Since the magnetic observations differ depending on how we move through these fields, such magnetic signatures can be used as maps. IndoorAtlas hopes businesses and individuals will use such maps to create indoor positioning applications for mobile gaming, store promotions, improving the efficiency in logistics operations or simply finding their way around a shopping mall.

Read more . . .

via Wired – Liat Clark

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