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A robust, accurate positioning system with seamless outdoor and indoor coverage is a highly needed tool for increasing safety in emergency response and military urban operations. It must be lightweight, small, inexpensive, and power efficient, and still provide meter-level accuracy during extended operations. GPS receivers, inertial sensors, and local radio-based ranging are natural choices for a multisensor positioning system. Inertial navigation with foot-mounted sensors is suitable as the core system in GPS denied environments, since it can yield meter-level accuracies for a few minutes. However, there is still a need for additional supporting sensors to keep the accuracy at acceptable levels during the duration of typical soldier and first responder operations. Suitable aiding sensors are three-axis magnetometers, barometers, imaging sensors, Doppler radars, and ultrasonic sensors. Further more, cooperative positioning, where first responders exchange position and error estimates in conjunction with performing radio based ranging, is deemed a key technology. This article provides a survey on technologies and concepts for high accuracy soldier and first responder positioning systems, with an emphasis on indoor positioning.
Date of Publication: April 2011