IndoorAtlas inspirations

IndoorAtlas’ location technology is partly inspired by the evidence that some animals use Earth’s magnetic field not only for the orientation detection, but also for navigation. Some animals – such as some lobsters, birds, foxes, etc. – are not only able to detect the direction of the Earth’s magnetic field, but they can even sense their true position relative to their destination. These animals are able to derive positional information that arise from the local anomalies of the Earth’s magnetic field.

Modern buildings with reinforced concrete and steel structures have unique spatially varying ambient magnetic fields that can be used for positioning, in very much the same way as the animals use Earth’s magnetic field, but on a smaller spatial scale. In principle, a non-uniform ambient magnetic field produces different magnetic field observations, depending on the path taken through it.

In IndoorAtlas’ technology, anomalies or fluctuations of ambient magnetic fields are utilized in indoor positioning like never before. This has been facilitated by modern smartphones and the rapid development of sensor technology. No more do we need complex and costly technical infrastructure setup.

IndoorAtlas’ technology has also been experimented in underground environments. A set of experiments took place in Pyhäsalmi mine, which is an underground copper and zinc mine located in central Finland. The experiments were conducted in tunnels located approximately 1400 meters below the surface. The magnetic field of the mining area has a unique spatial pattern which stands out from the background magnetic field. This is a typical phenomenon in areas where magnetic minerals can be found.

Now that the technology has somewhat been released for common use through our APIs, we’re eagerly waiting for new and exciting solutions and applications to use our technology. Can you come up with an application that creates a brand new way to use indoor positioning for common good or utilizing a new type of business model?