Experimental evaluation of using BLE beacon for outdoor positioning in GPS-denied environment
- Institute for Geoinformatics, University of Münster, Münster, Germany
Keywords: Outdoor positioning, LBS, beacon, Bluetooth Low Energy, GPS
Abstract. Although Global Positioning System (GPS) is widely used in outdoor location-based services, it still lacks precision due to obstacles that reduce its performance, such as near tall buildings, with bad weather conditions, and under tree canopies. In some situations, inaccurate localization or delay in getting location locks can adversely affect some location-based services’ functionality. Furthermore, it might make these services less efficient or even completely useless, especially when the receiver device has no SIM card or when the service requires a precision higher than three meters. As a solution to this issue, this study designs, develops, and evaluates a prototype location-based system that uses Bluetooth Low Energy beacons for short-range positioning in outdoor environments as a GPS alternative. The proposed system is a game that includes navigational tasks, which can be accomplished by reaching the proximity of two meters from the beacon’s location. The study involved conducting an experiment outdoors with a focus on areas where GPS signals are degraded to assess our proposed system’s efficiency and feasibility compared to the usage of GPS. The results proved BLE beacons’ ability to provide better positioning results than GPS, not only in terms of accuracy but also in terms of stability of positioning results over time. Based on the findings, the study outlines a set of guidelines to be considered in choosing a suitable positioning technology.