Forget GPS, now it’s time for IPS( Indoor Positioning System)


I recently found this interesting article on IPS( indoor positioning system) on net, I thought of sharing with you all.  We all know about GPS( global positioning system) which navigates us in outdoor spaces.  GPS has made our everyday commute easy by providing us shortest path to reach any place since many years.

Now think about IPS( indoor positioning system which can navigate us in  large indoor spaces such as airport, malls etc.  Last year, Google map for Android began introducing floor plans of malls, airport and other large commercial areas.  Even Nokia is one step ahead of it and they are using actual 3d models to navigate inside the buildings. Last week, Broadcom released a new chip that supports IPS, which will soon be out in market with smartphones.

Now days mostly every buildings are equipped with Wifi, so Google approach tracks you via WiFi- it knows where the Wifi hotspot are in the given building and through signal  strength triangulation it can roughly work out where you are.  Nokia works with Bluetooth when comes to IPS.

The Broadcom chip supports IPS through Wifi, Bluetooth and Even NFC.  Furthermore this chip also ties in with other sensors, such as a phone’s gyroscope, magnetometer, accelerometer and altimeter. It takes note of your entry point (via GPS), and then count your steps (accelerometer), direction (gyroscope), and Altitude (altimeter). The ultimate result will be hassle free indoor navigation with in the building.

There are many applications of IPS which can be useful in daily routine like linking your real life analytics to other streams of data, such as social graphs and payment systems.   For example, IPS could be used to create beautiful heatmaps of where you spend money; you could even play it back in real time and watch your avatar as it bounces around a Google Map, first to Starbucks, then to the train ticket machine, then to the office vending machine, and so on.

If IPS technologies can be similarly used in case of any emergency then it could be more useful for policemen, firefighters and emergency service crew.

Loacation-based Services

In the beginning, there was Dodgeball.

No, not that Dodgeball. Dodgeball was a service to which you could text your location and other members of your service would receive the information with the potential of meeting up with you (or robbing your house if you’re not home). You could also receive information such as crushes, friends, friends’ friends and interesting venues nearby. Dodgeball, created in 2000, was purchased by Google in 2005 and discontinued in 2009, superseded by Google Latitude. One of the makers of Dodgeball went on to create Foursquare.

<p><a href=”″>Hi! I want to learn more about foursquare!</a> from <a href=””>foursquare</a&gt; on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Foursquare exists somewhere between reality and the virtual realm. While users can “check in” to physical venues, they can also earn “badges” for certain activities and if someone checks in to the same place more than anyone else they become the “Mayor” of that place. Foursquare has also worked out arrangements with businesses to offer specials to users, frequent visitors and especially the Mayor. Checking in is a manual process, developers citing technical issues such as the i-phone not allowing applications to run in the background as well as the drain on battery power that the GPS has. What is not mentioned on their site, however, are the privacy concerns. was one of the first websites to point out how exposed people were with geo-tagged social media technology.

Foursquare is making use of many of the technologies we’ve discussed in class and some we haven’t. PostGIS, MapBox, OpenStreetMap are used as well as Google’s s2 library to store cell IDs for geo-indexing and dataset to reverse geocode addresses into coordinates.

Opting-in to share your location may be a nice option for some but as we have seen you don’t need to be a Foursquare member or opt-in to anything to unintentionally divulge your location with unintended results.