Internal Positioning System (IPS)




Improving navigation on Duke's campus using pinpointed position information inside buildings.

Team Members

Zackary Scholl, Lead Programmer

Ph.d. candidate in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics 2016

Project Updates

April 19, 2015

Project Update: IPS

We just finished version 0.4 (we are releasing versions about twice a month now) with the following new features:
Version 0.4 (2015-04-04)
- User icon drawn on map instead of blue dot
- Use websockets on map pages to reduce periodic polling
 - GREATLY decreases bandwidth usage
- Heat map for users past locations
- Put all pickles into database (makes information much more modular)
- Tilestache automatically figures out server address from the database (much more streamlined too!)
- Pie charts on management page for explaining which locations get misassigned and displays which misassignment occurs
- Add set of parameter controls to management page
- Multiprocessing speeds up calculations by the number of processing cores (everything sped up by 1x for each core!)


November 27, 2014

Project Notebook: IPS

  • The entire system is much easier to deploy. We’ve streamlined the process of setting up the server and now all the functionality is self-contained with a single user-configurable file that controls the parameters of the server.
  • The layout is simplified so that the interface is more intuitive and easier to use, with support for multiple floors and buildings
  • The process of adding floor plans is simplified and is more user-friendly. We developed a simple procedure that uses open-source free software to georeference *any* floormap so GPS coordinates can directly be used and floor plans can be directly overlayed on real maps (e.g. OpenMaps, Bing, Google)
  • Improved security using a encrypted webtoken that prevents users from directly injecting Javascript commands to retrieve other people’s data
  • Functionality now includes showing current location and also the ability to calculate the shortest path between two routes. 

For the Hack@Duke, I’m hoping to start the large-scale testing by integrating one of Duke’s buildings.


November 24, 2014

Project Notebook: IPS Update from HackDuke

Last weekend at HackDuke, I recruited another grad student and together we mapped out a chunk of the hospital and tested it. It worked well! There were some unexpected kinks - the number of detectable WiFi hotspots/routers in the small part of the hospital is over 1,000. Our current setup handles this fine, but it takes about 30 min. to process the data. I will need to compute the limits of the system though, because I think having over 10,000 could be a problem. It was also helpful to eliminate a bunch of small bugs.
The most recent upgrade we’ve made is moving away from the website and hosting tiles ourselves. MapBox is a free for small maps, but it costs for bigger maps. In any case, its better to eliminate the third party utilities. So now, we have two servers that will run - one to process fingerprint information, and one to provide the zoomable maps and floorplans. 


October 13, 2014

Project Notebook: IPS

We are able to collect distinguishing fingerprints of locations around Duke’s campus! These fingerprints pinpoint locations that are inside buildings and only ~10ft apart.

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