If you are looking for a solution to make GPS Work Indoors, there is a solution that is both affordable and practical for many indoor environments. Welcome to this video on navigating indoors using GPS Repeaters and their uses.
Hi. I’m Dr Paul Symonds and I run the wayfinding channel. Today we are talking about how to generate a GPS signal in indoor locations. Many of us now use GPS devices, such as on our mobile phones or cell-phones and the GPS signal often works very well. Trying though, to get a reliable continuous GPS signal indoors is notoriously difficult and has been a challenge for many years.
There is though one company who has been providing a solution for a few years now and so today I’m going to talk about one solution that is available to provide full GPS coverage indoors, a solution provided by Faltech, a British company based in Cornwall. In recent years, Faltech has been providing solutions for a number of organisations including the:
- Fire service
- Automobile makers
- Lifeboat service
and in terms of navigation and wayfinding, I find Faltech’s solution particularly interesting, as I suspect you might also if you are interested in indoor mapping solutions.
So How Do GPS Repeaters Work?
GPS repeaters do just that, as the repeat and reproduce the GPS signal in indoors locations, where signals cannot normally be achieved.
1. The GPS is received by the antenna
The repeaters work with a GPS antenna based on the building. This antenna catches the GPS signals from the satellites.
2. GPS signal travels into the building
A coaxial cable is then used to feed the signal into the building to a relatively small and compact repeater unit. The GPS signal is then reproduced inside the building. Depending on the size of the building, a number of repeaters will be installed, such as at 10-15 meter intervals.
Uses of GPS Repeaters
Avoiding GPS acquisition delays
In certain situations, lives can be at risk if a GPS signal is lost. To give an example of a GPS repeater being used in a real-world situation, imagine a command centre for the fire service. By being able to provide a signal that is constant and without interruption as an appliance (such as a fire engine) leaves a building, the repeater in effect enables a continuous uninterrupted signal that can be used by those in the command centre who are monitoring the emergency service in question. This means that the command centre staff have a definite understand of exactly where the appliances are at all time, even accounting for the movement from inside the fire station to the outdoors.
Manufacturers can test GPS equipment on the production line
Another use of the repeaters is in factories and locations such as car showrooms and sales rooms. How do car manufacturers, for example, test GPS devices in cars on the factory floor considering that GPS only normally works outdoors? Or how can a salesperson show how a GPS device works if s/he cannot otherwise get GPS indoors. Well, these are fantastic examples of how the GPS repeaters work. By allowing the GPS signal to be used indoors, manufacturers, for example, can now test the GPS related products they design (including in-car GPS systems) on the factory floor. Likewise, aircraft being tested in hangers can also be tested if GPS gear needs checking indoors.
The repeaters are fully licensed and Faltech have now worked with a number of well-known companies and organisers.
To provide one final example, laboratories that use GPS repeaters, such as in the development of tools for science and nature, can test the GPS devices indoors in the laboratory, rather than having to go outside in the rain to test the device in question.
Some Things Worth Noting
Depending on which country you are planning to use the repeaters in, you may need a licence to use the repeapters. In the UK, for example, OFCOM regulate the use of these repeaters. You can find more information on thecountry-specificc regulations on the Faltech site which I link to below.
The system varies slightly according to country but, using the UK as an example, the UK adhere to the European rules for health, safety, and environmental protection standards and the repeaters that Faltech produce are CE certified.
The Faltech repeaters incidentally, are SBAS (satellite-based augmentation system) compatible.