International conference on Indoor Positioning and Indoor Navigation
by Robert Piché, Tampere University of Technology, Tampere, Finland

(pre-print, in English, of the article published here) (original)


The first international conference on Indoor Positioning and Indoor Navigation (IPIN) was held in Zurich Switzerland in 2010. During the planning stage, Rainer Mautz and his colleagues at ETH Zurich thought that the new conference might, at best, attract 100 or so participants from academia and industry. As it turned out, the conference had more than 450 participants. Subsequent IPIN conferences were organised by university departments in different parts of the world: Guimarães, Portugal in 2011, Sydney, Australia in 2012, Montbéliard, France in 2013, and Busan, Korea in 2014. Although not as popular as the first, the conferences have maintained attendances in the 200-300 range.

The 2014 edition in Busan was organised by Dr. Sangjoon Park and his team at the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) in Daejeon, Korea. The conference venue was Bexco, a huge conference and exhibition complex in Busan, Korea's second largest city. There were several other Information Technology conferences in progress at Bexco that week, notably the plenipotentiary conference of the United Nations International Telecommunication Union, so the complex was busy. Bexco is near the Busan beach, which in summer is packed with people. But in late October the resort area and beach was nearly empty even though the temperature is still in the 20's.

The conference included 93 presentations in three or four parallel sessions over three days. There were sessions dedicated to indoor positioning using IMU, radio signal strength, radio time of flight, light, and ultrasound, as well as sessions on context detection, wireless sensor networks, indoor mapping, indoor GNSS, hybrid method frameworks, and innovative methods.

In his keynote address, the conference chairman Dr Sangjoon Park described how the Korean government is giving significant support to the rapid development of indoor positioning and navigation technologies. He told how pedestrian navigation systems are being deployed in railway and metro stations and at airports, and he invited IPIN participants to download free navigation software to their smartphones.

The conference included many activities for students. On the day before the technical program began, there were two 2-hour tutorial lectures. Dongsoo Han from Korea gave a lecture on practical methods to construct maps of radio signal strengths, while Valérie Renaudin from France gave an introductory-level survey of inertial navigation systems for pedestrian navigation. In addition to a regular poster session, the conference included a separate poster session for students to present their PhD project topics. Also, in addition to a "best paper" award there was an award for "best student paper".

A unique feature of the 2014 IPIN conference was the competition, in which working real-time pedestrian navigation systems were set up and evaluated in a real indoor environment. The ten competing teams used the first two days of the conference to make radio and magnetic field surveys of the area, which covered 5000 square meters over three storeys of the Bexco exhibition building and adjacent metro station. Only solutions that make use of the existing environment were allowed, so for example it was not allowed to install Bluetooth tags. The contest was held on the third day and there were two separate categories, one for foot mounted sensors and one for smartphones. There was one team from Russian, the company SPIRIT Navigation from Moscow, and they won second place in the smartphone category, coming a close second to Hubilon corporation from Korea.

The best paper prize was won by Martin Werner of the University of Munich, Germany for his paper on computational geometry algorithms entitled "Homotopy and Alternative Routes in Indoor Navigation Scenarios". The winner of the best student paper was Martin Nilsson of Linköping University, Sweden, whose paper "Indoor Positioning Using Multi-Frequency Received-Signal-Strength with Foot-Mounted Inertial Navigation System" showed the application of statistical estimation algorithms to practical localisation system for firemen. The best demo award went to John-Olof Nilsson of the Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden for his lively demonstration of his "Openshoe" open-source resources for foot-mounted inertial navigation research. The papers from IPIN 2014 will be published on IEEExplore.

The next IPIN is being organised by the University of Calgary and will be held 13–16 October 2015 at Banff Centre. This is a beautiful location in a national park near Calgary in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, and as I recall the Banff Centre's food is excellent! The date for submission of contributions is 17 April 2015, see

I would also like to mention three smaller conferences that specialise in or include indoor positioning research. Like IPIN, their proceedings are published in IEEExplore.

WPNC (Workshop on Positioning, Navigation, and Communications) started in 2004, and is held every March at the University of Applied Sciences in Dresden Germany. It is a single-track conference (no parallel sessions), which in 2014 included 1 keynote lecture and 20 technical presentations.

UPINLBS (Ubiquitous Positioning, Indoor Navigation, and Location Based Service) was held in Helsinki in 2010 and 2012. In 2014 it was hosted by Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi, Texas, USA and included 3 keynote lectures and 30 technical presentations.

ICLGNSS (International Conference on Localisation and Global Navigation Satellite Systems) is an annual series that started in Tampere Finland in 2011. It is a single-track conference which in 2014 included 4 keynote lectures and 24 technical presentations. This year it will be held June 22-24 in Gothenburg Sweden