NAVVIS positioning system, developed by Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) Germany, is primarily based on visual information for indoors, relying on a special location recognition system

Berlin: NAVVIS, a visual technology developed in Germany can help us navigate interiors of building, relying on a special location recognition system and it is suitable for all places which are beyond the reach of satellite navigation, scientists say.

While the GPS may work well outdoors, the same can’t be said about building interiors because they are beyond the range of satellite navigation, as such NAVVIS becomes useful here.

NAVVIS positioning system, developed by Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) Germany, is primarily based on visual information for indoors, relying on a special location recognition system.

TUM researchers started by taking photos of a building, simultaneously mapping prominent features like stairs and signs.
A smartphone app then lets users view the map images to find their current location. All they have to do is take a photo of their surroundings.

The programme then compares the photo with the images stored in its database and works out the user’s exact position (down to the nearest metre) and the direction in which they are facing. The app uses arrows to point the way in a 3D view, according to a TUM statement.

NAVVIS is currently being tested at TUM: “With multiple floors and winding corridors, the main campus is something of a maze after several decades of expansion.

This makes it an ideal testing ground for NAVVIS,” declares Georg Schroth, the project head from TUM’s Institute for Media Technology.

NAVVIS has other potential uses besides navigation, his colleague Robert Huitl explains: “The software can also be used for augmented reality applications if you add on special programmes.”

“So for instance, visitors to the Louvre would not only be able to locate the Mona Lisa, but also view information about the painting or find directions to other works by da Vinci,” adds Schroth.

Another possibility would be virtual tours on a PC or smartphone.

NAVVIS is suitable for all places beyond the reach of satellite navigation. Wireless network signals can also be used for approximate positioning.

When the application is started, the system loads the available visual data packets. The user takes a photo of their surroundings.

The programme then compares it with the database images in a fraction of a second and reveals the user’s exact position.
TUM researchers will be presenting the NAVVIS data and viewer at the International Conference on Image Processing (ICIP) from Sep 30 to Oct 3 in Orlando, Florida, US.

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