Tearing down the walls: closing the gap between outdoor and indoor navigation
by ACSG Section Montréal on Jan 23, 2012
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In the context of a growing dependence on positioning and navigational tools, a shift has taken place from solely outdoor applications to the indoor environment. Although location based services and ...
In the context of a growing dependence on positioning and navigational tools, a shift has taken place from solely outdoor applications to the indoor environment. Although location based services and indoor positioning techniques may have gotten increasing attention from a research and commercial point of view, ubiquitous indoor navigation systems are not yet available on the market. Currently, navigational applications are implemented either in micro indoor built environments (mostly within a specific context) or at a larger urban or regional scale outdoors. This strict separation of indoor and outdoor space not only exists in the used data and models, but also in the analytical tools and techniques. With people moving seamlessly from indoor to outdoor space, systems that integrate navigation in both will be the next challenge in navigational research. In our research, we contribute to this integration of indoor and outdoor space by studying its impact on present navigational applications. A review of various case studies in multiple route planners reveals several active problems regarding the use of the indoor-outdoor connection in pedestrian route calculations. The most stringent limitation of current route planners in this realm is the availability of accurate data of indoor infrastructures. This data should consist of network information, additional semantic enrichments and all entrance points. It appears that it is not feasible to gather and maintain accurate indoor data of all buildings in the coming years due to the enormous amount of data collection and maintenance. However, such a complete data gathering is not always necessary, since even small data enhancements, such as adding entrance and exit points of major infrastructure projects, can have a huge influence on pedestrian route calculations. A second major challenge in indoor navigation and route planning, appears to be the geocoding of the users input to a geographical location or spatial unit. With current geocoding methodologies only applied to outdoor applications, additional problems are induced for the indoor variant. For example the semi-uniformity in house numbers outdoors is completely non-existing indoors. Also, the necessary reference dataset in the address matching process is still not ubiquitously available due to a lack of indoor data. Above problems show that the immediate indoor-outdoor connection for navigation applications still has a long way to go. This research gives an overview of the requirements and current problems in navigational applications and as such fits in with the ongoing awareness of indoor and outdoor navigation.
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