How to build indoor GPS?

Radio signal from GPS/GLONASS/Galileo/Beidou satellites is too weak to penetrate through walls. Thus, we can’t have regular GPS indoor.

Therefore, one needs to build an Indoor “GPS” – a local indoor positioning system:

  • RTLS – real-time locating system
  • LPS – local positioning system
  • IPS – indoor positioning system
  • INS – indoor navigation system
  • Indoor “GPS”

Effectively, all acronyms above is the same thing, but with different names and slightly different meanings:

  • RTLS and LPS are not necessarily indoor. For example, GPS is also an RTLS. But, typically, by RTLS means non-global and non-satellite based systems
  • IPS provides positioning, but not necessarily navigation, i.e. it is good for tracking something or somebody
  • INS has to provide positioning in order to provide navigation. However, in practice INS and IPS are very often used interchangeably for defining all sorts of non-GNSS based systems

By the way, GNSS stands for Global Navigation. Satellite System. GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou are GNSS systems.

Key elements of any Indoor "GPS"

  1. Mobile beacons, often called tags, placed on or attached to your mobile objects (vehicles, robots, drones, people)
  2. Stationary beacons, often call anchors. These are your “GPS satellites” – points the mobile beacons calculate their position
  3. Ground station” – something that controls the system, collects the location data from beacons and communicates with external world

Types of Indoor "GPS"

There are many different types of Indoor “GPS” possible. See a detailed review and comparison below:

Very quick advice on Indoor “GPS” technology and solution selection:

  • Industrial people tracking: UWB, Marvelmind
  • Industrial vehicles/forklift tracking: UWB, Marvelmind
  • Autonomous robotics: Marvelmind, optical (QR, Intel RealSense & alike)
  • Autonomous drones: Marvelmind, optical (QR, Intel RealSense)
  • Cranes: Marvelmind, mm-wave radio
  • Sports: UWB + sensor fusion, optical
  • Museums, airports, shopping for people: BLE
  • Industrial with very low requirements to accuracy: BLE
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