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Magnetic Field

How does the Magnetic Field play a role in navigation?

About Magnetic Field Positioning Technology

Magnetic fields are all around us and play an important role in our existence. For example, without magnetic fields, the earth would be exposed to harmful radiation. The magnetic field can help with indoor wayfinding and also provide navigation bearings for some animals.

The idea behind using the magnetic field as a way to navigate the indoors is exciting, although it does come with some challenges.

How Magnetic Field Positioning Technology Works?

To use the magnetic field for Indoor Positioning Services (IPS) involves measuring the magnetic flux density. This is defined as the magnitude of a magnetic B field over a surface. Magnetic B field can be measured over certain man-made material structures within buildings.

If the facility has pre-existing structures that have remained the same over a period of time, the magnetic flux measured in a particular location of a building will also remain the same. Magnetic fields make magnetic positioning for IPS a seemingly great option for businesses looking to map the interior of their buildings.

Challenges with Magnetic Field Positioning Technology

The problem with using magnetic field technology for indoor navigation is that there are too many magnetic disturbances. Magnetic disturbances are caused by a variety of things such as renovations, hospital equipment, structure beams, and kiosk placement.

Magnetic-field anomalies inside buildings have an impact on compass sensor readings on smart devices. The magnetometer found in smartphones is there to detect spatial direction but the accuracy of this varies greatly by the device.

Challenges with the technology:

  • Magnetometer readings can vary in intensity by the device which leads to inaccuracies
  • If the environment changes within the building it causes drastic inaccuracies for navigation

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