Coursa Venue: Indoor Navigation Platform Using Fusion of Inertial Sensor with Magnetic and Radio Fingerprinting

The ability to navigate has been an essential human skill since the dawn of time. Knowing one’s location, indoors and outdoors, is critical for a variety of safety and efficiency purposes, including emergency response. Nearly 70% of all calls made to 911 are made indoors, highlighting the importance of indoor tracking. Additional applications for precise indoor tracking include the tracking of personnel in a potentially dangerous environment, LBS/LBA applications, and social networking that rely on indoor localization. Unfortunately, broadly used satellite navigation receivers work well only under open sky conditions. Operating indoors, GNSS receivers suffer from signal attenuation when satellite signals propagate through a roof and walls of a building and from the multipath due to their reflection. As a result, an accurate GNSS-based position fix is almost impossible in most indoor conditions. The Coursa Venue solution, now called VENUE, was developed by for infrastructure-less indoor positioning on commercial smartphones. Cloud-based software for fingerprinting, and mobile applications for Android and iOS that provide real-time blue dot positions to users are the two components that VENUE fuses to achieve accurate results. Smartphone sensors such as IMU (3D accelerometer, gyroscope), a magnetic field sensor (3D magnetometer), WiFi, and BLE are all used to provide hybrid indoor positioning to the navigation engine. Particle filtering is used as the fusion engine. Indoor navigation software uses such technologies as PDR, geomagnetic fingerprinting, Wi-Fi/BLE fingerprinting, and, optionally, map matching. VENUE’s world class PDR provides prediction of user relative movement regardless of orientation and misalignment of a smartphone, whereas magnetic and radio fingerprinting serves for correction of inertial sensor errors. The cloud-based component can create magnetic and radio fingerprint databases using either data collected by designated surveyors who walked inside a venue by predetermined routes, or crowdsourced data from users of a real-time mobile application collected during their everyday activity. This paper discusses the architecture of the VENUE solution and demonstrates its positioning results in several venues with comparison to ground truth paths to provide statistical assessment and key performance indices.

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