Location Location Location!

Blog by Yoeri Appel

One of the most important features in Mapiq is bringing people together face-to-face to socialize and share information; to inspire and inform each other; to provide guidance and feedback. With Mapiq employees are able to share their location with their colleagues. Super cool, but how does this work? It starts with a definition…

The words “positioning” and “localization” are often misused. People will say localization when they actually mean positioning, and vice versa. It’s an easy mistake to make, as there are contexts when the two are almost interchangeable. Here’s an easy way to remember the difference:

- Positioning is determining the coordinates of a person or object. For example, Allison, is at  (20.535,12.235).

- Localization is determining where a person or object is in understandable terms, usually by describing surrounding areas or naming the specific location. For example, Allison is in Meeting Room C.

In the above example, both the positioning and localization could be accurate, but if Allison tells her new colleague, Rob, that she is at (20.535,12.235), he still has no idea where she is. There’s no context. If she tells him she is in Meeting Room C, he knows exactly where she is. (If he doesn’t know where Meeting Room C, he can use Mapiq's wayfinding feature to find it. ;-)

Good localization is harder to achieve than positioning

Good localization is harder to achieve than good positioning. To position Allison, Rob could use a WiFi positioning system. Her phone/laptop/tablet connects to the WiFi routers inside her building. The distance between her device and the router can be determined by the signal strength. Trilateration of these distances would show the position of her device, let’s say (20.535,12.235). But how can Rob convert this  position to a location?

If Rob had the building layout and the names of all spaces, he could find where the  position lies on the layout and name the device’s location. But what if the determined position is inaccurate? What if he thinks it is just inside the hallway, while Allison is actually inside the conference room? If he only has the position, he’s going to be wandering down the hallway trying to find her. And we don’t want a wandering Rob...

Mapiq has more information than just the result of the positioning system. For example, Mapiq could know that Allison currently has a meeting inside Meeting Room C, which would help determine that Allison’s device is inside  Meeting Room C, even though the measured position says otherwise. Alternatively, Mapiq could determine that Allison is not inside Meeting Room C if the PIR detects no one in the room.

Metadata can be used to refine the localization

Good sensors lead to good positioning, which leads to good localization. If the positioning isn't perfect, other metadata can be used to refine the localization. Since Mapiq is a Smart Building platform that combines many data sources into one system, we can provide accurate localization without expensive sensors

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Author: Anne Wernand

Anne is a communication expert with an academic background in psychology. Ask her about copy writing, communication channel analysis or the best Dutch (music) festivals!

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