Blog

How does automatic indoor positioning work?

By Osma Ahvenlampi, SVP Engineering

Three weeks ago, when we announced the IndoorAtlas SDK 2.0 for Android and iOS, one of the major features we highlighted was its new ability to begin positioning automatically, without a pre-set venue or floor map initialization. In this post, we’ll go deeper to what that means, how it works, and how it can be best used in an application. We’ll also discuss some of the situations where this functionality can have surprising, or even undesirable behavior, and how can a developer work to avoid those if necessary.

If you’ve developed apps which use the Android or iOS platform location services, you’re probably quite used to simply being able to subscribe to location services from the operating systems’ location frameworks and and start receiving more or less accurate location information almost immediately. Well, apart from it not being all that accurate indoors, and sometimes taking quite a while to work because locking to a GPS signal can be a challenge. That’s why you’re looking at our technology, of course!

In the indoor space, being able to automatically locate a device is a bit more challenging. There is no global satellite signal, beacons are restricted by their identifiers to basically their owners only, cell tower signals aren’t all that precise for positioning, and wifi networks tend to move around. Our previous generation required the app to know ahead of time which venue and floor the positioning is performed in. This stood in way of offering the kind of experience we want to enable, so we had to find a way to overcome this. (more…)

Announcing IndoorAtlas 2.0 SDK and services

Today, I’m excited to reveal several major upgrades and improvements made to the IndoorAtlas solutions for ubiquitous indoor positioning for mobile applications. This is a big step for us, and we believe it will be an even bigger step to enable new use cases for our developer partners, so I hope you have a moment to spend with this message!

TeamSDK2

Starting with the most visible – we are happy to introduce our new developer documentation site at docs.indooratlas.com. We’ve collected our API docs, tutorials, examples and related material here for easier reference and access. The site is also hooked up with our online support tools, so if you’re signed in, you’ll be able to immediately contact our customer and developer support team. (more…)

Troubleshooting

By Nick He, Customer Support Engineer

We hope that all these guides are familiar to you by now: Getting Started With The Blue DotMapCreator UI Guide, Map Accuracy AnalysisMapping Bigger Areas.

Usually the positioning blue dot should converge to your actual position within 10 meters of movement, but in some environments it might take longer. If the blue dot doesn’t converge in 30 meters, gets stuck in some area or the accuracy isn’t in the expected level, check these for possible help:

Alert icons in the app

The following icons may show up at the top left of your screen during positioning:

calibrationDuring positioning, IndoorAtlas technology performs continuous auto-calibration on the background, which means that quite small movement is enough for the calibration. Depending on the device and e.g. if it has been in close contact with magnetic items, more extensive movement may be required for the auto-calibration to work. It also shows up quite often at the beginning of a positioning session. (more…)

Mapping Bigger Areas

By Juha Angeria, Customer Support Engineer

When starting to create bigger and more complex maps it helps have good floor plan and to understand some features of magnetic field characteristics and what kind of mapping path coverage is required.

Floorplan

As you discovered in Getting Started With The Blue Dot, you will need a good floor plan with which you can accurately place yourself in the venue and match recorded sensor data to your accurate position. Getting an accurate floor plan will pay off in mapping effort and accuracy. Overly abstract floor plan can cost lots of time while trying to identify where the path is to be recorded and failing to estimate positions correctly will decrease positioning accuracy. Even more so if map has errors which person doing the mapping fails to detect.

If venue is bigger than 200m*200m and it has clear sections, we recommend that you separate each section to its own map. Floor plan resolution should be at least 3 pixels per meter to be able to set markers accurately in MapCreator. Having more than 5 pixels per meter probably doesn’t give more benefit, but can cause overhead in connection time.

(more…)

IndoorAtlas Names Dan Patton Chief Commercial Officer

Former Amazon Web Services and Rally executive to lead company’s global platform strategy, customer expansion, and sales

Indoor Atlas, the global leader in indoor positioning, today named Dan Patton its Chief Commercial Officer. In this role, Patton will lead IndoorAtlas’ worldwide sales & marketing efforts, including strategy, branding & product marketing.

“Dan has a unique background that combines a deep understanding of how to take scalable cloud based platforms to market in addition to building global sales organizations.  We are thrilled to have him join the team and are highly confident that he will help us achieve our long-term goals of building a strong global business” said Dr. Janne Haverinen, CEO & Founder of IndoorAtlas.

Dan Patton stated: “IndoorAtlas has developed a foundational indoor positioning platform using geo-magnetic fields that offers a sustainable competitive technical advantage in the indoor mapping, navigation and precise positioning.  I’m excited to be joining the team to bring to market this disruptive technology in the emerging market of mobile indoor positioning and navigation.”

Patton brings to IndoorAtlas more than 20 years of commercial leadership experience in the technology space.  Most recently, he served as Executive Vice President of Global Sales at Rally Software, a leading provider of software & services that drives agility.   Prior to Rally, Patton served as the Vice President and General Manager of Cloud Services at Savvis, where he held P&L responsibility for the cloud business unit.  During his time at Savvis, Patton built and took to market one of the industry’s first hybrid cloud computing platforms.  Prior to Savvis, Patton implemented a global sales model, developed go-to-market strategies for cloud computing, and built the Americas and Japan sales teams for Amazon Web Services (AWS).  Other roles in Patton’s career include global sales leadership at IBM, business development at Network Commerce, and various engineering positions at Boeing.

Patton holds a Master of Science in engineering from the University of Washington, and a bachelor of science in engineering from Walla Walla College.

About IndoorAtlas

Founded in 2012, IndoorAtlas is the global leader in indoor positioning. The company’s cloud-based positioning platform  serves over 300 million users globally. IndoorAtlas is transforming indoor positioning and location-based services such as advertising through patented technology that utilizes the compass sensor in smartphones to detect anomalies in the earth’s magnetic field to pinpoint location indoors without any additional infrastructures. IndoorAtlas is headquartered in Palo Alto, California and in Oulu, Finland.

IndoorAtlas and SK Planet Partner to Target Global O2O E-Commerce Market

By Janne Haverinen, CEO and Founder

At IndoorAtlas, we are building out the cloud-based indoor positioning platform that is the most scalable and accurate in the world.

Today, we’re teaming up with SK Planet to target Online to Offline (O2O) market. SK Planet is using IndoorAtlas solution to enhance user experience of its O2O service “Syrup”. This partnership will strengthen the existing capabilities of SK Planet’s O2O business and it will open up completely new use cases.

Our global platform doesn’t require any additional infrastructure to install, and it can guide consumers all the way to the last meter which improves O2O e-commerce services, such as indoor navigation and location based advertising worldwide.

IndoorAtlas’ technology can also be applied to “Syrup Guide”, a complex shopping mall service that is planning to be launched later this year.

This partnership represents the work of both teams over the past months, bringing together the strengths of two companies. We are proud we can contribute to the success of SK Planet.

SK Planet led by Sungwon Suh, COO and IndoorAtlas team: Janne Haverinen, CEO, Sean Ryu, General Manager Korea, Wibe Wagemans, President

SK Planet led by Sungwon Suh, COO and IndoorAtlas team: Janne Haverinen, CEO, Sean Ryu, General Manager Korea, Wibe Wagemans, President

Positioning accuracy update for IndoorAtlas SDK

By Osma Ahvenlampi, SVP Engineering

As you might gather from the small point version increment, this is a bug-fix release. A couple of relatively minor things on the mobile SDK, and a major improvement on the cloud side. You’re already using the latter improvement without needing to update the SDK! That’s how we roll, thanks to the cloud. You’re welcome!

The nitty-gritty: we heard from a couple of our valued customers that they were experiencing unexplained variation in positioning accuracy in field tests. So we took a deep dive with them and have been submerged in devices, venues, phone cases, wallets, bags, keychains and magnets for a while.

Turns out the automatic background calibration we introduced in April with SDK 1.4 sometimes trusted its earlier calibration results a bit too long, while a phone might have been re-biased by metal objects near to it. We found a way to overcome this with a small protocol tweak, and now a lot of phones re-calibrate much faster. A well-calibrated phone means a faster, more accurate position fix.

This change was deployed in our cloud services on 2015-07-13 and your application is already benefiting of it. You should update the SDK anyway – there are no API changes and the bug fixes, while small, do improve performance. (more…)

MapCreator 1.5 UI Guide

By Nick He, Customer Support Engineer

This post walks you through the basic use of our MapCreator tool. Please also find our more detailed mapping guide, Getting Started With The Blue Dot.

On desktop

Add venue

  • Click “Map” in top right menu after you sign in.
  • Enter the city in the search box, select the right one from the drop down list.
  • Find venue’s location by dragging the map or tapping zoom buttons.
  • Click “ADD VENUE” and move the blue marker over the building.
  • Enter the name of the venue (required).
  • Select whether the venue is public or private – public venues can be used by other IndoorAtlas clients.
  • Click “SUBMIT.”

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Map Accuracy Analysis

By Elina Peltola, Customer Support Engineer

Once you have a space mapped with several mapping paths and you’ve confirmed that positioning works, it’s time to start optimizing the map’s positioning accuracy. A great tool for this is the “Test Paths” function of MapCreator. Instead of trying to visually confirm that positioning results match expectations, you can record test paths to be part of the map and see summary analysis as a quality report for your map. Recording test paths is similar to recording the magnetic map data. (more…)

Getting Started With The Blue Dot

By Elina Peltola, Customer Support Engineer

We want to walk you through each step of mapping process and help you getting started with the blue dot.

IndoorAtlas technology uses consumer smartphones to sense the unique electromagnetic fields inside each building. The sensor signal from an end user device is compared against a high resolution map built with IndoorAtlas tools and algorithms to position the devices inside the buildings, with no infrastructure installations needed.

The Earth’s magnetic field is everywhere, it just needs to be recorded for the magnetic field map to be generated. The process is called “mapping”, which simply means recording the sensor data until you have good coverage of data all over the area where positioning is required. (more…)