This thesis gives an overview of the field of positioning technology. The contents of the thesis is based on information gathered from articles, the internet, meetings and interviews as well as experiences learned as a project participant. The goal of the thesis is to investigate what trends exist in the application of positioning technology today.
Several technologies are described, both for indoor and outdoor use. In describing technologies used for outdoor positioning it will be made clear that GPS and RFID are two of the most significant technologies. As for indoor use, the wireless network technologies WLAN and Bluetooth as well as ultrasound based technologies will stand out as the most central. Specific system descriptions will also be given.
The various technologies and systems have a vast number of potential combined applications. The thesis describes a selection of these applications. Some of the examples given are established applications that are widely used, while other examples are for new applications and even some that are still in development. The thesis gives an indication of the focal point of the technologies and applications. This will show that outdoor applications are dominant and that GPS and RFID are the two technologies given the most attention.
This thesis was originally part of a project at the telecom and computer department at SINTEF in Oslo. The project aimed to investigate posibilities and shortcomings of using ultrasound for indoor positioning. The project, called "Maurtua", carried on for the better parts of six months before being closed down for financial reasons. This project is described in a separate chapter of the thesis. This chapter shows the great potential of using ultrasound for indoor positioning, but also comes to the realization that the use of these systems are marginal at best. Large expenses in contrast to the believed benefits is shown to be one of the main reasons for this.
The use of positioning technology oftes raises questions concerning rights to privacy. The thesis explains the central parts of the legislation, namely "Personopplysningsloven" and the department, "Datatilsynet" which regulates the use of positioning technology in Norway.