A method for indoor navigation based on magnetic beacons using smartphones and tablets

Arie Sheinker, Boris Ginzburg, Nizan Salomonski, Lev Frumkis, Ben Zion Kaplan, Mark B. Moldwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Outdoor navigation using GPS receivers installed in various types of consumer electronics devices, especially smartphones and tablet computers has become very common. However, indoor navigation can be problematic as GPS signals are blocked by ceilings and building walls and accuracy is on the order of building dimensions. In present work we propose using an array of magnetic beacons for localizing a receiver equipped with a magnetic sensor. A smartphone or a tablet computer with an internal magnetometer can be employed as a receiver. Exploiting smartphones and tablets for indoor navigation is a great advantage when considering convenience, simplicity and low cost. The navigation area is covered by magnetic beacons deployed in known locations. Each beacon generates an AC magnetic field with a unique signature enabling the receiver to distinguish between beacons. The signature may feature a specific single frequency tone, a combination of frequencies, or any other modulated signal. A software application running on the receiver enables self-localization by means of detection and identification of the nearest beacon. A system prototype has been developed and used to test the proposed method in field conditions. Experimental results show successful localization, which paves the way for a full scale development of an effective indoor navigation system. The good results together with simple implementation make the proposed method attractive for a wide range of indoor localization applications, including: pedestrian and robot navigation, inbuilding rescue missions, vision impaired assistance, and location aware services, just to mention a few.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-209
Number of pages13
JournalMeasurement: Journal of the International Measurement Confederation
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • Indoor navigation
  • Localization
  • Magnetic sensing
  • Smartphones and tablets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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