Improving the Vertical Accuracy of Indoor Positioning for Emergency Communication

Song, Wonsang; Lee, Jae Woo; Lee, Byung Suk; Schulzrinne, Henning G.

The emergency communication systems are undergoing a transition from the PSTN-based legacy system to an IP-based next generation system. In the next generation system, GPS accurately provides a user's location when the user makes an emergency call outdoors using a mobile phone. Indoor positioning, however, presents a challenge because GPS does not generally work indoors. Moreover, unlike outdoors, vertical accuracy is critical indoors because an error of few meters will send emergency responders to a different floor in a building. This paper presents an indoor positioning system which focuses on improving the accuracy of vertical location. We aim to provide floor-level accuracy with minimal infrastructure support. Our approach is to use multiple sensors available in today's smartphones to trace users' vertical movements inside buildings. We make three contributions. First, we present the elevator module for tracking a user's movement in elevators. The elevator module addresses three core challenges that make it difficult to accurately derive displacement from acceleration. Second, we present the stairway module which determines the number of floors a user has traveled on foot. Unlike previous systems that track users' foot steps, our stairway module uses a novel landing counting technique. Third, we present a hybrid architecture that combines the sensor-based components with minimal and practical infrastructure. The infrastructure provides initial anchor and periodic corrections of a user's vertical location indoors. The architecture strikes the right balance between the accuracy of location and the feasibility of deployment for the purpose of emergency communication.



More About This Work

Academic Units
Computer Science
Department of Computer Science, Columbia University
Columbia University Computer Science Technical Reports, CUCS-016-12
Published Here
November 1, 2012