The smartphone became one of the most used and handy gadgets from our collections. One of the main features is the capability of finding users’ location in real-time, using the Global Positioning System, that’s usually integrated in terminals. This is a great advantage because it can be really helpful when you are in need of some accurate directions.

The bad thing though is the fact that  GPS can be only used in an outdoor environment. That’s why, developers are searching for solutions to create systems that are able to guide people even if they are indoors. In the below article we’ll present a list with tools that have already been launched and are able to offer this kind of guidance.

Indoor Navigation Apps

indoor

To be more specific, the satellite signals that are used by the Global Positioning System don’t have the strength to penetrate anything else that is bigger than the metal roof of a car. Because of this fact, the GPS cannot be used in an indoor environment when it can be very useful, especially when you want to find a certain exhibition at a museum or you just want to go directly to a particular restaurant in the airport.

Having so many difficulties in implementing indoor navigation, developers searched for alternatives and found a solution in the Wi-Fi, which is built in all current gadgets and has experienced evolution like no other type of network. Basically, the applications could scan for hot-spots and calculate the user’s location using a process that is called trilateration.

The process is able to approximately determine somebody’s location by measuring the distances between three access points, using the simple geometry of spheres, circles or triangles. This solution is already used by various applications, but unfortunately it has a big disadvantage of not being as accurate as the GPS.

For example, this kind of systems are able only to predict in which room you are in. This is because the signals depend on various number of factors, such as the number of people that are in the room, the number of other gadgets that are working or the way you are holding the smartphone. A technique to increase the accuracy of this navigation type is represented by the capability of users to point on the map different things from the actual environment, which will help the app to calculate and find the user’s location more exactly. As a conclusion, the indoor navigation is a tricky process that is still in the incipient phase and needs more attention from developers.

Meridian

map-editor

Meridian is a company that offers to different businesses the possibility of building their own mobile apps which take advantage of the location-aware technologies. At this moment their platform is used by a various number of clients, such as well-known shops, hospitals, stadiums, airports, hospitals, museums and many other. Their most valuable product is called the Meridian Editor, which is basically an editor and management tool for location based applications. Its main purpose is to create apps from scratch that will guide visitors into that location through turn-by-turn directions. This application will bond the businesses with their clients and it will reduce significantly the effort from both sides.

The company offers four tools, the AppMaker, NavKit, BluDotKit and ZoneKit, for creating the best and beautiful indoor navigation applications. Basically, with AppMaker users are creating the main application and with NavKit they provide the turn-by-turn directions. Furthermore, the BluDotKit tool helps visitors to see their location and the ZoneKit sends targeted notifications based on location.

Practically, users are able to create the design of the indoor navigation app without any constraints and using a very user-friendly interface. It offers a great number of beautiful templates that are fully customizable and the possibility of adding push notifications, which will be sent based on client’s position.

A great feature of the Meridian application is that it permits its users to correct the inaccuracies that may occur. In order to do this, the map can be easily rotated, zoomed or dragged and the turn-by-turn directions can be flipped. If you are also searching for this kind of services, don’t hesitate and contact Meridian’s developers by completing the form that can be found at the following address or simply calling them at 442.333.7447. Download for free the applications especially designed for your Android and iOS mobile devices.

AMNH Explorer

AMNH Explorer

The AMNH Explorer from the American Museum of Natural History application was the first indoor navigation app which was created by the founders of Meridian. The app helps visitors to find certain exhibitions or important information in the enormous museum. Also, it is very user-friendly having the interface split into four main categories: Find Exhibits, Museum Tours, Food & Shops and Restrooms & Exists. Other interesting features are:

  • Personal GPS – finds visitor’s current location;
  • Digital Exhibits – users are able to access this content from anywhere in the world;
  • Custom tours – users can select from different exhibits and create their own tour;
  • Bookmarking and many more.

Explorer: The American Museum of Natural History is available only for iOS devices at this moment and can be downloaded for free from the following link.

Infsoft

infsoft

The indoor navigation apps that are made by infsoft are able to locate a person that is inside a building with an accuracy of only a few meters, without having to install extra hardware inside the building. This revolutionary technology uses data from the internal sensors of the mobile devices, such as GSM / 3G / 4G (LTE), compass, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, magnetic fields, accelerometer, gyroscope and others.

All the information is combined, resulting the position of the person and even its associated floor. Furthermore, the app automatically connects to GPS when leaving the enclosed environment, being a perfect solution for indoors and outdoors. When calculates the fastest way to the destination, the app also takes account of floor changes, like stairs or elevators.

Another nice feature is the possibility of creating a 2D or 3D visualization of a multi-level building. In order to create a more pleasant experience and to demark better the areas from the building, users can choose different colors for rooms and locations. Also, based on the information from the integrated compass, the map moves in real-time with the user’s orientation. The most interesting capability of infsoft’s app is the augmented reality, which overlays virtual information over the image that is received from the mobile device’s camera.

With the insoft Maps Editor tool you can create a new location and manage it whenever you want from any place where an Internet connection exists. The tool permits its users to do a lot of things, from which we can remind the ability to upload their maps over the satellite’s map, define points of interests, walkaways and many more. Another great thing about infsoft is that it offers two possibilities of detecting the client’s position in an enclosed environment: either via client (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or internal sensors of the mobile devices) or via server (Cisco MSE or Locator Nodes).

The Wi-Fi solution is already used by others too and basically, it permits to determine the location inside of a building directly from the smartphone. The app evaluates the strength of the Wi-Fi signal and automatically determines the location. Using the Bluetooth (iBeacon devices) for the same purpose represent a big advantage for buildings that don’t have Wi-Fi routers mounted. Also, they have the BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) technology implemented, which makes these devices to run on their own batteries for months.

ibeacon

The localization process can also be made on a server, planting infsoft Indoor Locator Nodes or using a server based on Cisco MSE (Mobility Service Engine). Both solutions are good, but they imply processes that are a little more complicated.

If you are interested in building an indoor navigation app for your business, then you should resort to their services then you should contact them at the following email: contact@infsoft.com.

Wifarer

Wifarer Indoor Positioning Technology Animation Feb 2013 from Wifarer on Vimeo.

Another company that creates products in the same field of business is Wifarer. They claim that all a user has to do is to follow their 6 steps and they will have their own indoor navigation app for their business. The steps are: positioning engine determination, optimize maps, activate location, add brand and content, integrate the data and finally, inform all of their clients.

The applications are able to determine someone’s position using three sources: the Wi-Fi signal, the iBeacon (using Bluetooth) or a Cisco MSE server. If they attracted your attention, then you should fill up the form from here and wait for them to contact you back. Also, download for free the Android or iOS application to enjoy navigating through well-known museums, stadiums and many more.


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Feature Writer

Alex holds an engineering degree in Telecommunications and has been covering technology as a writer since 2009. Customization is his middle name and he doesn’t like to own stock model gadgets. When he’s away from the keyboard, simpler things like hiking, mountain climbing and having a cold drink make his day.