Have you ever asked yourself, what really differentiates Global Positioning System (GPS) from Indoor Positioning System (IPS)? Well despite being closely related, these two technologies are quite different.
GPS is a satellite navigation system used to determine the ground position of an object. It is useful in many ways, but it has its limitations. GPS does not work inside buildings. IPS works inside buildings and is more accurate in measuring small distances than GPS.
One of the differences between GPS and IPS is that a GPS receiver has to be locked onto signals from three or more satellites for it to be able to pinpoint a position and track movement. There are several different methods of building an IPS. It can be built using the locations of various WI-Fi hotspots in a building. The IPS calculates your location by your WI-Fi signal strength. Another method being used works in a similar fashion, except that it uses Bluetooth.
GPS comes in handy when you need accurate directions in a geo-location which you are not familiar with. It is also useful for locating a person, pet, vehicle or phone as long as the object you’re looking for is equipped with GPS. Mapping and surveying have been revolutionized by GPS technology. The military also uses GPS heavily. This technology is used for tracking targets, guiding missiles, search and rescue, and monitoring patrol movement.
IPS is useful for both superficial and highly advanced applications. Although IPS is still at its infancy, proponents are confident that this system will have the ability to accurately pinpoint the location of your car in a large parking garage as well as create detailed emergency plans for hospitals, schools and office buildings. IPS technology is very useful for mapping out the inside of buildings, which will help when you’re searching for a certain office or the gate at an unfamiliar airport or shopping mall.
GPS and IPS complement each other very well. For instance, GPS will guide you from your home to the parking lot of an unfamiliar subway station. From that point, IPS will take over and help you find the ticket counter and the correct platform to get where you want to go.
Many companies are jumping into IPS. An Interesting application of IPS is being done by Philips. The Philips IPS system works with LED luminaires that are embedded with visible light communication (VLC) technology. Using the light from the luminaires, the system sends a unique code to a mobile device, accurately pinpointing the user’s specific location on a map of the store. The user’s device is now location-aware and the app delivers location-based services.
We expect more fascinating applications of IPS in the near future. Although a lot of excitement is being built around IPS, GPS should not be overlooked because it is still important.