Good News from Fri, 13 July, 2012:

Phone app navigates indoors

Just head north Just head north

Finnish researchers say a smartphone app using magnetic fluctuations to map indoor locations can guide users where global positioning systems cannot penetrate.

Developed by IndoorAtlas, a spin-off from the University of Oulu, the app makes use of the digital compasses found in smartphones.

Such compasses do not normally work inside buildings as metallic structural elements disrupt the Earth's magnetic field, making it impossible to reliably find north.

The IndoorAtlas turns that problem to its advantage, says developer Janne Haverinen, by using these disturbances to create a unique map within each building.

Mapmakers can align a building's blueprint with a traditional map, then walk along designated paths while a smartphone charts the magnetic variations.

Once a map is created, visitors to the building can download it to their own phone and navigate as normal.

IndoorAtlas doesn't require any additional infrastructure, the team says, unlike other proposed indoor navigation systems based on WiFi and Bluetooth,

Haverinen’s research team has founded IndoorAtlas to commercialize the innovation. The company has also announced a seed capital investment from the Helsinki-based business accelerator KoppiCatch.