The race for improved indoor navigation goes on, MacRumors informs us that Apple Acquires Indoor Mobile Location Positioning Firm WifiSLAM.
From the Wall Street Journal: "The two-year-old startup has developed ways for mobile apps to detect a phone user’s location in a building using Wi-Fi signals. It has been offering the technology to application developers for indoor mapping and new types of retail and social networking apps. The company has a handful of employees, and its co-founders include former Google software engineering intern Joseph Huang. [...] Google already offers indoor mapping in certain locations like airports, shopping centers and sports venues."
Here's the recent Google-related geonews. From official sources:
Earlier this week Slashdot discussed a story named Indoor Navigation On Your Smartphone, Using the Earth's Magnetic Field.
Their summary: "Researchers from the University of Oulu in Finland has created an indoor navigation system (IPS) that uses the Earth's innate magnetic field to ascertain your position — just like a homing pigeon or spiny lobster. According to IndoorAtlas, the company spun off by the university to market and sell the tech, its system has an accuracy of between 0.1 and 2 meters. The Finnish IPS technology is ingenious in its simplicity: Basically, every square inch of Earth emits a magnetic field — and this field is then modulated by man-made concrete and steel structures. With a magnetometer (compass), which every modern smartphone has, you can first create a magnetic field map — and then use that map to navigate the shopping mall, underground garage, airport, etc. Compared to most other IPSes, which require thousands of WiFi or Bluetooth base stations to achieve comparable accuracy, IndoorAtlas' infrastructure-free approach sounds rather awesome."
This is an approach we mentioned in February 2011 when Samsung indicated they we planning the use of the magnetic field for indoor navigation, but I haven't seen any related product yet.
Here's the recent Google geonews.
From official sources:
From other sources:
The second discussion over Slashdot this weekend was named Researchers Track Cell Phones Indoors By Listening In.
Their summary: "Researchers at Northwestern University and the University of Michigan have developed a technique which aims to extend the reach of mobile phone location tracking. Their free iPhone app, Batphone, extracts a location 'fingerprint' from a short recording of ambient sound. This software-only approach allows the device to determine its location with high accuracy using its built-in microphone. Unlike prior indoor tracking techniques, Batphone does not rely on the presence of Wi-Fi access points to serve as landmarks, although these can be used to assist the system when available. They also posted a web game which allows you to test your own ability to recognize rooms by listening. Technical details are in a paper which was presented at the MobiSys conference on Thursday. This is from the same people who brought you laptop sonar."
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