Tracking pedestrians indoors using their smart phones

Mar 09, 2012

The next generation of smart phone could combine the data from its gyroscopes with a built-in compass to allow you to track your movements when indoors even without GPS. Such a system could be useful for shopping mall managers, factory bosses for worker safety and security and office workers hoping to manage the flow of people through buildings. It could also be used to enable location based services and to help users navigate to specific meeting points or shops.

Research described in the International Journal of Innovative Computing and Applications by Shahid Ayub of Lancaster University and colleagues there and at HW Communications, suggests that the embedded inertial sensors in many smart phones have added the facility to be used for localisation and tracking applications. The primary benefit of using smart phones is that no additional infrastructure would need to be installed for monitoring personnel movements in a wide variety of situations not least staff, equipment and inventory movements in warehouse facilities, and factories. In contrast, other technology being proposed would require new equipment such as RFID technologies.

However, smart phones do not yet have the ability to pinpoint their location without recourse to the , which is not accessible indoors and has the added disadvantage of using up battery power very quickly even if it could be used. Inertial navigation only provides the necessary information relative to a specified starting point the team says. This is useful for anyone with a non-GPS smart phone who wishes to track the route they take when walking or jogging if they specify their starting point. The team suggests that pedestrians indoors could be positioned using a combination of the smart phone and an built-in digital compass, something that will become available in future .

They have now investigated the potential of three different smart phone placement modes: idle, hand held and listening, which could be used with pedestrian dead reckoning (PDR) techniques to allow users to record the path they follow or for various kinds of workplace or other monitoring requirements.

"The technique could be used in underground tube stations, airports , train stations where there is no infrastructure installed for tracking or navigation," Ayub explains, "It can also be used for location-based service applications. In big shopping malls it becomes easier to navigate to a target shop or meeting place, while in large offices and across industry it could be used to track employees and control movements of workers in restricted areas."

Explore further: Microsoft expands ad-free Bing search for schools

More information: "Indoor pedestrian displacement estimation using Smart phone inertial sensors" in Int. J. Innovative Computing and Applications, 2012, 4, 35-42

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

ONR navigation and tracking mobile app extended for sea

Sep 15, 2011

Deployed Sailors and Marines on board aircraft carriers will be able to use smart phones to navigate, locate and track anyone on the ship in real time, Office of Naval Research (ONR) officials announced Sept. ...

Health monitoring? There's an app for that

Mar 09, 2012

Researchers in New Zealand have developed a prototype Bluetooth-enabled medical monitoring device that can be connected wirelessly to your smart phone and keep track of various physiological parameters, such as body temperature, ...

Recommended for you

Review: 'Hearthstone' card game is the real deal

1 hour ago

Video game publishers don't take many risks with their most popular franchises. You know exactly what you are going to get from a new "Call of Duty" or "Madden NFL" game—it will probably be pretty good, ...

Microsoft expands ad-free Bing search for schools

Apr 23, 2014

Microsoft is expanding a program that gives schools the ability to prevent ads from appearing in search results when they use its Bing search engine. The program, launched in a pilot program earlier this year, is now available ...

Growing app industry has developers racing to keep up

Apr 20, 2014

Smartphone application developers say they are challenged by the glut of apps as well as the need to update their software to keep up with evolving phone technology, making creative pricing strategies essential to finding ...

Android gains in US, basic phones almost extinct

Apr 18, 2014

The Google Android platform grabbed the majority of mobile phones in the US market in early 2014, as consumers all but abandoned non-smartphone handsets, a survey showed Friday.

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

Apr 17, 2014

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

alfie_null
not rated yet Mar 10, 2012
... used to track employees and control movements of workers in restricted areas

Hmmm - I don't want to be tracked or denied entry into this restricted area. What should I not carry with me?
btb101
not rated yet Mar 10, 2012
It can also be used by countries that want to monitor their populations and control them even more. Business can watch when employees take a break, too many breaks and fired. this will probably be brought in as a disguise for antiterrorist arguments.
More signs that the world is heading towards a communist style suppression of its peoples.

If this comes in... out will go my smartphone and i will go back to the oldest phone i can find.
Have nothing to hide, but will not be subject to this form of spying either.

More news stories

New breast cancer imaging method promising

The new PAMmography method for imaging breast cancer developed by the University of Twente's MIRA research institute and the Medisch Spectrum Twente hospital appears to be a promising new method that could ...

Research proves nanobubbles are superstable

The intense research interest in surface nanobubbles arises from their potential applications in microfluidics and the scientific challenge for controlling their fundamental physical properties. One of the ...

Using antineutrinos to monitor nuclear reactors

When monitoring nuclear reactors, the International Atomic Energy Agency has to rely on input given by the operators. In the future, antineutrino detectors may provide an additional option for monitoring. ...