Location technologies for pedestrian navigation

Location technologies for pedestrian navigation


Georg Gartner
Georg Gartner
Department of Geoinformation and Cartography
Vienna University of Technology, austria
[email protected]

Verena Radoczky
Department of Geoinformation and Cartography, Vienna University of Technology,
[email protected]

Günther Retscher
Department of Geodesy and Geophysics, Vienna University of Technology,
[email protected]

In this paper suitable location technologies for pedestrian navigation are identified and investigated. A reliable pedestrian navigation service requires the determination of the current user’s position using different sensors that are integrated into the system design

Within the scope of the project NAVIO (Pedestrian Navigation for Combined Indoor-/Outdoor Environments), which is carried out at the Technical University of Vienna and funded by the FWF (Austrian Science Fund), positioning and communication methods for pedestrian navigation systems are investigated and tested in order to efficiently support guiding along unfamiliar urban environments. The rapid development of the telecommunication industry and the expanding data transfer rates of the cellular radio enforce the emergence of new trends like special information services. The moment the position of the user starts to play an important role for the selection of data represented to the user, we speak of Location Based Services (LBS) or Position Based Services. Especially in the outdoor environment such services play an important role for supporting the wayfinding process. Car drivers have started to trust in the information provided by car navigation systems and even pedestrians are gaining interest in reliable guiding instructions. Nevertheless principles for GPS-based car navigation systems can not be directly converted to pedestrian navigation systems because preconditions differ dramatically. While vehicles can only move along predefined paths, pedestrians have a very high degree of freedom when exploring their environment. There are many different possibilities how a square can be crossed, barriers like greens and fields can be passed without following a certain path, buildings can be entered, etc. Another aspect that challenges researches concerns the positioning techniques. Especially in urban environments, due to obstruction effects, the achievable accuracy of conventional GPS systems does not fulfil the requirements for pedestrians. Therefore different techniques have to be investigated and new possibilities for indoor positioning have to be explored.

Beside the technical background of the system, the visualisation of the required route plays an important role in pedestrian navigation systems. While drivers are dependent on tight directions that should not distract from traffic, pedestrians can be provided with more detailed information. Many different possibilities are imaginable in this respect, but not all of them are effective as guiding instructions.

This submission is therefore organised as follows: Section 2 investigates existing positioning techniques and their potential for usage in a pedestrian navigation system, in section 3 theories about multimedia presentation forms, which have been verified, confirmed and expanded by some field tests are represented and section 4 finishes with an overall conclusion.

2 Integrated Positioning
Pedestrian navigation services require continuous positioning and tracking of a mobile user with a certain positioning accuracy and reliability. Especially navigating in urban environments and mixed indoor and outdoor areas is a very challenging task as pedestrians move in spaces where no one of the known location methods works continuously in standalone mode. A solution of the problem can only be found if different location technologies are combined in the sense of a modern multi-sensor system. In this paper suitable location technologies for pedestrian navigation are identified and investigated. These technologies include GNSS and indoor location services as well as cellular phone positioning for absolute position determination; dead reckoning sensors (e.g. magnetic compass, gyros and accelerometers) for measurement of orientation and travelled distance from a known start position as well as barometric pressure sensors for height determination. For location determination of a pedestrian in a multi-storey building the use of WLAN (Wireless Local Area Networks) is investigated.

A reliable pedestrian navigation services requires the determination of the current user’s position using different sensors that are integrated into the system design. In the work package “Integrated positioning” of the research project NAVIO (Pedestrian Navigation Systems in Combined Indoor/Outdoor Environements) the following challenging tasks are addressed:

  • The capability to track the movements of a pedestrian in real-time using different suitable location sensors and to obtain an optimal estimate of the current user’s position.
  • The possibility to locate the user in 3 dimensions with high precision (that includes to be able to determine the correct floor of the user in a multi-storey building).
  • The capability to achieve a seamless transition for continuous positioning determination between indoor and outdoor areas.

Thereby a navigation support must be able to provide location, orientation and movement of the user as well as related geographic information matching well with the real world situation experienced by pedestrians. The integration of the sensors in a modern multi-sensor system can be performed using a Kalman filter as this algorithm is particularly suited for real-time evaluation. In the following the state-of-the-art in mobile positioning is discussed.