The Earth’s magnetic field can create an “indoor GPS”

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 Finnish researchers at the University of Oulu have developed a system for indoor navigation based on the Earth’s magnetic fields. It has an API for developers, although it requires sensors that are installed on the smartphone.

   Each space within the Earth is influenced by the component materials and objects or people in it, and in each room, tunnel or hallway creates magnetic variations are detected, a navigation system are faster and that improved via GPS.

   This is because the GPS signal is often blocked by dense resilient material forming the structure of buildings. In these cases is used for WiFi triangulation from three crossing signals and establishes the location of the wearer of the device with an accuracy of between 0.1 and 2 meters.However, it requires issues such as installing antennas would have no function.

   The key advantage of this technology, which was inspired by the spiny lobster and pigeons, is that it is the most accurate that exists for confined spaces, plus it requires no hardware investment on the ground such as antennas or cables for positioning, but using software on a smartphone and magnetic sensors can be set navigation.

   These sensors compare the magnetic field of the user’s location with a database in the cloud and recorded where it stands. From there, using a map and compass of the phone, indicates the route to follow to achieve the objective. “When the iPhone and Android phones come with built-in compass, we realized that we could develop an innovative solution for indoor navigation,” the researchers explain.


   For geolocation requires two maps, one from the floor, and other magnetic fields. Aware that both are not available to most researchers have developed an own software, “IndoorAtlas Maps”, which from an image of the floor of a building creates a completely flat.

   The magnetic field map is obtained from data gathered from sensors smartphone. The API available for developers to connect these data with maps stored in the cloud through Windows Azure platform from Microsoft.

   The first tests have been conducted in a copper-zinc Pyhäsalmi in Finland, 1,400 meters below the surface.

   For now, the metro routes or mines could be the first ways in which this project see the light, before the appearance of the first maps of public and private buildings.

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