Are you wondering how to implement an indoor positioning system (IPS)?

Indoor positioning technology is a valuable tool for both businesses and consumers. It has broad applications in retail, logistics, real estate, construction, public safety, and so much more.

In fact, according to a recent report, the global indoor location market was worth over $8.8 billion in 2022, and it is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 22.4% over the next five years to reach $24 billion by 2027. The adoption of technology in various verticals to enhance customer experiences is driving the demand for indoor location solutions.

Why do businesses invest in an Indoor Position System? GPS radio signals are not able to penetrate buildings composed of bricks, concrete, or metal. The typical accuracy of a GPS (5-10m) is not sufficient for indoor applications.

GPS signals indoors are too weak to be of any value. Indoor positioning systems are therefore required. For example, WiFi indoor positioning solutions use WiFi access points to detect transmitting WiFi devices, such as smartphones throughout indoor spaces.

In this article, you will learn how indoor positioning systems work and how to build a custom solution for your business. We’ll cover the basics of what it is, explore indoor positioning techniques & components, as well how to get started.

If you need to integrate an indoor positioning system, our team has the experience and resources to get the job done right. We know how to balance technical requirements with business needs. We’re happy to help you get started with a free consultation.

What is an indoor positioning system and how does it work?

An indoor positioning system (IPS) helps locate people and objects indoors. It is used where GPS and other satellite technologies lack precision or fail entirely, such as inside multistory buildings, airports, parking garages, underground locations, etc.

The majority of indoor positioning systems rely on stationary beacons & mobile beacons measuring their position against the stationary beacons. Stationary beacons act as satellites in GPS.

Mobile beacons position themselves against the stationary beacons distributed in the building – not against the building itself.

Other systems, such as those that rely on the Earth’s magnetic field, could be used in place of beacons. However, such systems didn’t prove themselves precise enough for practical industrial applications. Thus, most systems utilize stationary beacons.

To create an indoor navigation map, you’ll need to integrate an indoor positioning system. The underlying technologies may differ drastically, but the majority of indoor positioning systems are beacon-based.

The best indoor positioning techniques

The five most commonly used techniques for indoor positioning are proximity, fingerprinting, triangulation, vision analysis, and dead reckoning.

Indoor positioning techniques

Technique 1: Proximity 

The simplest type of location sensing is proximity, which uses a signal received from a single transmission source to identify the mobile device’s approximate location. This transmission source contains the identification number of the transmitting device.

The ID received is then used to look up the transmitting device’s record in a list or database, retrieving the location information of the transmitting device. That data is then reported as the location of the mobile device.

Technique 2: Fingerprinting 

Fingerprinting, sometimes called mapping, is a facility survey technique in which a surveyor walks to predesignated positions inside the facility and records readings of signal characteristics, such as received signal strength.

A grid system is often used to record readings at intersections, with the spacing between grids typically 5 or 6 feet. Fingerprinting technique offers high accuracy and resolution in positioning. 

Technique 3: Triangulation 

Triangulation is a technique used to determine indoor geolocation by using the geometric properties of triangles in complex computer algorithms.

These algorithms are based on either the speed of received radio signals, the speed of light, the strength of received radio signals, or the light intensity of received light beams.

Technique 4: Vision analysis 

Vision analysis is the geometric relations between the positions of objects in the real world and their projections on a camera image sensor. 

This technique requires knowledge of objects’ 3D world locations and their 2D camera image positions to establish a correspondence between the two sets of information.

Technique 5: Dead reckoning 

Dead reckoning is a technique for estimating one’s position by using a previously determined position and speed over time. It works by using the accelerometer & gyroscope to determine a user’s position, as well as the smartphone’s built-in compass and GPS.

When positioning signals such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are not available, dead reckoning can be used.

Indoor positioning system components

The indoor positioning system is an all-in-one solution that provides both mapping and geofencing capabilities. These systems consist of four main components:

Indoor maps 

The indoor map is a waypoint-based representation of the building. It contains information about each floor and room, such as the location of each wall, door, light fixture, etc. 

Your indoor map will help your customers navigate your building more efficiently by providing clear directions from one area to another. The map also will allow them to get an overview of the entire building at once so that they can see how everything connects together.

Indoor positioning 

Indoor positioning is just as accurate as outdoor positioning, and you can use it to get the same experience you get with GPS.

This means that if you’re moving around inside a building, your phone will know exactly where you are.

Indoor navigation 

Turn-by-turn navigation is designed to enhance the user experience by providing accurate, reliable directions through complex indoor environments. It helps users navigate through large spaces by providing real-time updates on their surroundings.

Indoor navigation tracks the users’ current locations and directs them to their destination via multiple routes. It can offer information about the construction and other issues that might affect their route.

Indoor analytics 

You can analyze how your customers are using your space, get insights on what attracts customers to your business and understand what areas of the building need more attention. You can get such insights as:

  • How many people visit each section of the building on a daily basis?
  • What time of day do most people visit each section?
  • Which sections are most popular with different groups of people?
  • How often are people visiting this area?

When you’re thinking about how to improve your business, one of the easiest ways to do it is by analyzing your customer’s behavior. You’ll be able to make changes that will increase your business’ revenue and profitability.

How to implement an indoor positioning system: a step-by-step process

Implementing an indoor positioning system can be a little tricky, but if you follow these steps, you’ll be able to do it without much trouble.

9 steps to implement an IPS: a step-by-step guide for business owners

Step 1: Define your goals 

When you’re planning to implement an IPS, it is important to know what you want to achieve.

Are you looking for a way to track inventory? How long does it take for people to get from point A to point B in your facility? Do you want to see where customers are at all times?

You may need to use an IPS to enhance customer experience, improve workplace efficiency,  make your company a destination that people want to visit, and so much more.

Once you have defined your goals, it will be easier for you to decide which features make sense for your company.

Step 2:  Find the best indoor positioning implementation experts

Who will be involved in setting up and maintaining the IPS? To find the best indoor positioning implementation experts, it’s important to consider such factors as years of experience, clients they have worked with, communication skills, and ability to provide support services. The best indoor positioning implementation experts will be able to help you with:

  • Providing a detailed plan of action
  • Implementation of a new indoor positioning system
  • Optimization of existing systems
  • Design and deployment of apps for the necessary devices

If you’re not sure where to start, you can check out references from other companies that have worked with the same agency. This will help you gauge their level of expertise and professionalism.

Step 3: Create the 2D floor plan of your building

To implement an indoor navigation map, we first need to create a base map of the facility. The 2D map is the foundation for your 3D map. It can be a floor plan or floor layout. 

To begin creating the 2D floor plan, you’ll need to gather information about your facility’s layout and rooms; this includes the size, shape, and location of each room as well as their dimensions. You’ll also want to identify any obstacles such as walls, columns, or doors that will affect your ability to create a realistic 3D model of your facility.

It’s important to have a clear idea of where all of the rooms are located within the building. Also, you’ll need to think about any special features that are unique to your organization.

By digitizing all data in 2D vector polygons and rendering them into 3D from multiple perspectives, you can turn your 2D maps into 3D maps.

Step 4: Establish Key Points of Interests (POIs)

The purpose of a POI is to provide a quick and easy way to find information about a specific place. When you create an indoor map, consider the following Points of Interest:

  • Access points: entrances, stairs, washrooms;
  • Amenities: vending machines, ATMs, payphones;
  • Safety: a security desk, lockers;
  • Business-related POIs: meeting rooms, stage areas.

Create a map with all POIs marked on it so they can be easily identified. Allow users to zoom in and out on the map, navigate around, and save their favorite places.

Step 5: Collect and categorize location data

You need to collect and categorize your location data. You can categorize your location data based on the following criteria:

  • the type of location (e.g., physical store)
  • the audience  (e.g., customers, employees)
  • the specific purpose (e.g., where you’re selling something)

For example, you can use the tag “office” for all locations that are used by employees only and “clients” for all locations that are used by clients only.

Step 6: Implement georeferencing

When the physical properties of your building change, georeferencing to real-world editing tools can provide highly accurate mapping of those changes. You can update your map by using software that allows you to create pathways, move doors, and so on. 

Georeferencing ensures that the physical properties of your building are accurately represented in your digital model. It can be used in a number of ways: when you build new structures, and when you want to make structural repairs or remodeling decisions.

Step 7: Integrate CMS data

Integrating data from your CMS is essential to ensuring that your indoor navigation app is up-to-date. This will help you maintain the information in your app as accurately as possible.

If you don’t do this, users might get lost and even confused, which could make them less likely to use your app again.

Step 8: Ensure proper branding

Your map should be a reflection of your business. This includes your logo, typography, and colors. To ensure consistent design, it’s important to use your company’s brand style guide when working with an indoor mapping service provider

You will want to avoid using any text or graphics on the map that would detract from the overall experience for visitors; instead, use color coding to indicate departments and rooms. 

Use the same font style in all of your maps so that they appear uniform and professional. The same goes for any other elements that appear on the map.

It’s also important to have similar spacing and alignment between each element so that everything looks cohesive when viewed together on a single page or screen at once (this will help reduce eye strain). Consistency is the key. The best maps are simple, elegant, and effective. 

Step 9: Check accuracy

As your space changes, or as you gain a better sense of how best to use it, you will probably need to make real-time map updates.

Make sure that the map is being rendered correctly on different devices and screen sizes, such as:

  • Mobile phone (iPhone and Android smartphones)
  • Laptop (MacBooks and Windows)
  • Tablet
  • PC
  • Flat screen monitor

This includes ensuring that the map is not too small or too big and that it has enough detail to be useful.

For example, if you’re using a tablet or a phone, try zooming out or panning to make sure that the map is still visible and readable. You can also check that your zoom setting is working by tapping around on your device’s screen while holding down your finger on one corner of the map. 

Volpis experience

Our team has extensive experience in indoor positioning app development. To build custom indoor positioning systems, we take into consideration the specific features of your building, as well as your specific business processes. Volpis can help you with:

  • Project planning and requirements gathering
  • Designing the indoor positioning system
  • Building an indoor mapping platform from scratch
  • Upgrading existing systems
  • Leveraging IoT location-based service technologies
  • Addressing security concerns
  • Customizing the system to fit your needs

We have been working in this field for years and have seen it all. Our experts can provide detailed recommendations, so you can get the solution that works best for your needs. 

If you plan to create an indoor navigation map and would like to learn more about our services, please contact us for more information. We’ll work with you to develop a plan that is tailored to your company’s needs and budget. 

Final thoughts

Indoor positioning systems are a key component of any indoor location solution. They help to ensure that you have accurate information about the location and movement of people within your building. 

An indoor positioning system can be a great way to improve productivity, safety, and overall efficiency. By using an IPS you can optimize your space to make sure that it is being used as effectively as possible.

In order to properly implement an indoor positioning solution, you must first understand the requirements for your system and the expected results. Next, you must determine how to best achieve those results. Finally, you need to test your system in the real world and make any adjustments necessary to improve its performance. 

The implementation of indoor positioning systems is a complex process that requires a thorough understanding of each system’s unique characteristics. And with the right resources and guidance, you can have your system built in no time.

If you have questions about indoor positioning systems, you can reach out to us via or fill in the form

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to build an indoor positioning system?

The time it takes to build a custom indoor positioning system depends on the project’s needs. The larger the project and the more complex or unique the features are, the longer it will take to create a custom solution. For developers who have limited experience in this field, it will take more time than for a team that has designed such systems before.

How much does it cost to integrate an indoor navigation map?

The cost will depend on the size and complexity of your project. You can contact us for a quote so that we can provide you with an estimate. To get started, please fill out the form below and we will get back to you ASAP.

How accurate are the indoor positioning systems?

Indoor positioning systems have a high level of accuracy. They can navigate a user’s location to within one meter. Indoor positioning systems rely on a variety of sensors that are able to detect and interpret signals from multiple sources.

Where can indoor positioning systems be used?

Indoor positioning systems can be used in many different locations, including hotels, resorts, malls, shopping centers, warehouses, fitness centers, etc. They are a great way to increase the convenience of your building.