Indoor Positioning with Apple’s M7 processor

Indoor positioning is hard.  The amount of effort that has been put into it since smartphones first started to take off has given us marginal results.  WiFi, LTE/3G, GPS gets close but it’s still not accurate enough to tell me that the butter is right in front of my face.  I’ve experienced Apple’s iBeacon technology in the Apple Store and at AT&T Park in San Francisco but that’s a tad proprietary.  Possibly Apple’s got a solution though (still proprietary but what do I care, I’m all iOS):

In iOS 8, Apple is adding some new Core Location features that let app developers get precise indoor positioning data from an iOS device’s sensors and it’s even letting venues contribute by signing-up to get help enabling indoor positioning.

Yea so it’s iOS only but get a load of this:

Up until now, CoreLocation has been using a combination of Cellular, GPS, and WiFi technology in order to provide developers with location information from their users. Those technologies can get you within a city block or in some cases close to or inside a venue, but they aren’t enough to provide accurate positioning indoors or features like indoor navigation. That’s why with iOS 8, Apple is introducing new features for the CoreLocation API that will let developers tap into an iPhone’s M7 processor and motion sensors in order to get accurate indoor location, navigation, and floor numbers.

It’s actually very interesting.  To save power once the location is determined GPS is turned off and Core Location uses the motion chip to figure out where you are walking and what’s near.  The drawback according to 9to5mac is that locations are going to be required to provide Apple with their floorplans and RF information.  Not exactly open…

Author: James Fee

National GIS/IT Practice Leader at Matrix New World