Maryland Patent of the Month – January 2021

Sometimes, our mobile phones aren’t the best at locating us when we’re in shopping malls, office buildings, or even our own homes. Have you ever tried to use a GPS or look up directions only to see your phone doesn’t know where you are and can’t locate you? That’s because the sensors can sometimes experience magnetic interference or even inertial drift, meaning the data they collect can be false and result in low quality location detection. TRX Systems, Inc., may be able to help with location accuracy with its new crowd-sourced mapping service. 

The mapping service creates maps of indoor spaces through the use of data fusion technologies. As a mobile device moves through a building, say in someone’s hand, bag, or pocket, it collects data on its surroundings and sends it to a Location Assistance Data Server in order to build a model of the building. The crowd-sourced feature of this service is that the data is best collected by multiple devices moving through a building. This way, the data from those tracked devices is more accurate. An example of creating a map of a building includes when someone rides an elevator, their mobile device can detect an acceleration in inertia, signalling that they’re probably in an elevator since the movement begins from a stopped position. This feature and others (e.g., magnetic fields, radio frequency, and acoustics) can help create building models for improved location services. 

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