Micello Blog: Indoor Cartography

Stay in touch with Micello by following our blog as we cover a wide range of cartography and company topics.

Technology Review (Published by MIT) published an article on Monday titled "A New Microchip Knows Just Where You Are, Indoors and Out". The article goes on to describe how Broadcom is attempting to deliver unprecedented accuracy in indoor positioning via multiple sensors on a mobile phone. The author, Christopher Mims, does a terrific job in describing the chip-makers approach to solving the indoor positioning problem.The entire article has been re-published below. 
Broadcom has just rolled out a chip for smart phones that promises to indicate location ultra-precisely, possibly within a few centimeters, vertically and horizontally, indoors and out.
The unprecedented accuracy of the Broadcom 4752 chip results from the sheer breadth of sensors from which it can process information. It can receive signals from global navigation satellites, cell-phone towers, and Wi-Fi hot spots, and also input from gyroscopes, accelerometers, step counters, and altimeters.
The variety of location data available to mobile-device makers means that in our increasingly radio-frequency-dense world, location services will continue to become more refined.
In theory, the new chip can even determine what floor of a building you're on, thanks to its ability to integrate information from the atmospheric pressure sensor on many models of Android phones. The company calls abilities like this "ubiquitous navigation," and the idea is that it will enable a new kind of e-commerce predicated on the fact that shopkeepers will know the moment you walk by their front door, or when you are looking at a particular product, and can offer you coupons at that instant.
The integration of new kinds of location data opens up the possibility of navigating indoors, where GPS signals are weak or nonexistent.
Broadcom is already the largest provider of GPS chips to smart-phone makers. Its new integrated circuit relies on sensors that aren't present in every new smart phone, so it won't perform the same in all devices. The new chip, like a number of existing ones, has the ability to triangulate using Wi-Fi hot spots. Broadcom maintains a database of these hot spots for client use, but it says most of its clients maintain their own.
A company that pioneered the construction and maintenance of these kinds of Wi-Fi hot spot databases is SkyHook Wireless. Skyhook CEO Ted Morgan is skeptical that Broadcom can catch up to his company's software-based system allowing for precise indoor location. "Broadcom is just now talking about something we have been doing for seven to eight years, uncovering all the challenges," says Morgan. These include battery management and cataloging a new wave of mobile Wi-Fi hot spots. "Broadcom has never done major deployment," adds Morgan.
Scott Pomerantz, vice president of the GPS division at Broadcom, counters that "the big [mobile] operating systems all have a strategy in place" to create their own Wi-Fi databases. Pomerantz isn't allowed to name names, but one of Broadcom's biggest customers is Apple, which previously used Skyhook for location services in its iPhone but now employs its own, Apple-built location system.
At least one feature of Broadcom's new GPS chip is entirely forward-looking, and integrates data from a source that is not yet commercially deployed: Bluetooth beacons. (Bluetooth is the wireless standard used for short-range communications in devices like wireless keyboards and phone headsets.)
"The use case [for Bluetooth beacons] might be malls," says Pomerantz. "It would be a good investment for a mall to put up a deployment—perhaps put them up every 100 yards, and then unlock the ability for people walking around mall to get very precise couponing information."
"The density of these sensors will give you even finer location," says Charlie Abraham, vice president of engineering at Broadcom. "It could show you where the bananas are within a store—even on which shelf there's a specific brand."
April 10, 2012

The University of Kentucky Wildcats Mens basketball team won their 8th NationalChampionship last night, and Kentucky fans are already waiting at the Bluegrass Airport to welcome their team, and the new banner home.  Check out the micello places page for the latest action from the Bluegrass!

April 3, 2012

Reverse geocode indoors? Find out how at the O'Reilly Where Conference next week!

The O'Reilly Where Conference 2012 is happening in San Francisco, April 2-4 at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis Hotel. Micello's CTO Dave Sutter will be on hand discussing how to reverse geocode indoors. This is a hot topic that will answer many questions centered around indoor location based services. Don't miss this Location Development Session, Wednesday April, 4th at 1:10pm in the Yerba Buena Salon 9.

When developers work with an outdoor map they place annotations on the map using postal addresses and latitude/longitude points. Working with indoor maps, there is no longer a convenient globally defined address scheme or even a positioning coordinate system. This talk discusses the framework for a developer to place real world objects on an indoor map.  

The O'Reilly Where Conference brings together the people working on and using location technologies to come together to explore best practices and emerging trends in software development, tools, business strategies, and marketing. CTOs, marketers, developers, technologists, researchers, geographers, startups, business developers, and entrepreneurs gather to share their experiences and learn from their peers in the areas of Mobile Development, Location Development, Business and Strategy and Marketing.

Location is big business, and location data is even bigger business. Find out more about Where conference 2012 here.



March 30, 2012

Arkansas's largest commercial service airport has been renamed to honor two of the state’s most well-known citizens, former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The newly named, Clinton National Airport, serves over two million passengers a year and spans over 2,000 acres. Currently under construction for expansion, going from 12 to 16 gates, the airport contains three runways, one helipad, and has plans of becoming an international airport by 2020.

How do the Clinton's feel about the new namesake? Bill Clinton said in a statement, "Hillary and I are humbled by the Little Rock Airport Commission's decision ... We are grateful for this honor and for all that the people of Arkansas have done for us. And we look forward to many happy landings at the airport in the years ahead."


March 26, 2012

We couldn't be happier to annouce that micello has been listed in the Data 2.0 list of Top 100 Innovators. Each year the Data 2.0 advisory board selects companies based on the top cloud data products in their industry, companies who publish the most respected thought leadership editorial in the cloud data industry, and companies who are ahead of the curve in developing potentially disruptive products and services. Micello is happy to be in the running for the top prize at Data 2.0 in April, 2012. You can see the full list of the Top 100 Innovators here.

Last year at the Data 2.0 Conference 2011, over 500 participants from over 200 tech companies were all under one roof to discuss the new online data ecosystem of API’s, social data, geo data, data-as-a-service, and big data. Ankit Agarwal, Founder & CEO at micello, spoke about indoor mapping and micello APIs. His presentation was not only highly applauded, it was awarded as the winner of the Data 2.0 Startup Competition.  

You can read more about micello's 2011 win here.

March 26, 2012

Dont miss your chance to attend the GPS-Wireless 2012 Conference!

GPS-Wireless Conferences was established in 1996.  GPS-Wireless presents executive marketing conferences on all aspects of mobile location-based products and services. The conferences are produced by Kevin Dennehy, a columnist for GPS World magazine and well-known industry analyst, in partnership with Rhodes Communications, Inc., an international full-service communications firm based in Norfolk, Va.

Why should you attend? You will have the opportunity to experience top presentations from the top companies-only the most current location market information– no sales pitch from the speakers. There will be hours of networking time with high-level group of industry professionals, more than 15 exhibitors expected, and of course the two-and-a-half-hour Networking Reception.

Learn from industry experts and network with your peers. Register now!

March 19, 2012

Mobile World Congress 2012 is happening now!  This week, Monday through Thursday, Barcelona, Spain will be in full swing.  MWC is an annual event, hosting over 60,000 of the whos-who of wireless executives, device creators and software vendors all coming to showcase the latest, greatest developments in mobile technology.  

Micello has published an interactive map for the Mobile World Congress 2012.  This map features an interactive directory showcasing all of the companies presenting their products at MWC.  The micello map allows you to find vendors, and get step by step directions around the conference and not get lost in the chaos.  If youre not attending MWC, the micello map lets you get an inside perspective from actual attendees that are checking-in, tweeting and sharing their experience from MWC in Barcelona.    

Check out the live map here! There's a ton of activity happening - from tweets and check-ins! 

February 27, 2012

We have rounded up the largest shopping malls in the United States (from the Wikipedia page). The top 10 shopping malls in the United States represent nearly 25 million square feet of retail space. On average, these shopping malls have been in our neighborhood for 35 years! Check out Micello Maps for all these places in different colors. Are any of them in your neighborhood? 

King of Prussia Mall in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

Mall Of America in Bloomington, Minnesota

South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California

Millcreek Mall in Erie, Pennsylvania

Aventura Mall in Aventura, Florida

Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise, Florida

The Galleria in Houston, Texas

Roosevelt Field in Garden City, New York

Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Illinois

Palisades Center in West Nyack, New York



January 22, 2012

Let me preface this initial post by coming clean before I even start: the ideas I am about to spill forth are complicated, probably a bit on the expensive side and require quite a bit of development to accomplish. However, you know what?

I don't care. Like, at all.

In this present technical day, anything is possible. Literally. Anything. No joke.

So don't pass this off as a rant. Well, OK, this is a bit of a rant. However, it is a rant with a point. I want cool technical gadgets, applications and toys to play with and as far as I can tell, the whole picture of what I am describing does not exist. Parts do. Little bits here and there, but not the total package.

So, what exactly, do I want right now?

Having just watched the last World Series game last month, I am reminded of an idea that I want badly. You see, I love baseball. Played the game. I watch the game closely. I attend the games, especially at the Bay Area jewel known as AT&T Park in San Francisco.

I love going there. I love the smells (garlic fries!), the sights (the view from the View Box is unparalleled), and of course the sweet sounds of a baseball on a bat.

However, what I do not love is getting up to find a bathroom, grab an adult beverage, or find some food and missing multiple at-bats, pitches, or innings because of a variety of reasons.

I think you see where I am going here.

Now, Major League Baseball does have a stadium map on the MLB At Bat app, but it is a static map with no real interactivity and not enough detail.

I want to pull up a map on my mobile device (iPhone, iPad, Android, don't care what your mobile religion is) and be able to do the following just by TOUCHING the map.

That is ALL I want to do. Touch the map.

I touch the precise location of the snack stand (and I mean PRECISE – I don't want to touch it only to find that the data is from last week, month, year) and I get a quick menu, what beer is on tap, how long the line is, and, MOST importantly, how the heck do I get there QUICKLY.

You see, one thing the Giants do VERY well is offer all kinds of food at their park. Everything is there including Caribbean, Irish, Mexican and even a sushi bar. This is an awesome feature but it becomes cumbersome when you cannot find these spots or figure out how to get there.

And to add to the complication, the Giants tend to move these food carts/spots around on occasion, so the concept of an accurate map with precise, up to date information becomes critical to the success of an idea such as this.

The bottom line is that I don't want to guess.

I don't want to have to think.

Just lay it out for me and I follow the route to quickly get there and back before The Panda hits again ( Pablo Sandoval, Giants third basemen for those not in the know).

OK, let's stop here for a second.

Some of you may be reading this thinking, “I know I've used an app like this before”. Well, like I said, there are small parts of this idea strewn throughout the collective application availability, but I have yet to see it all come together in a fully contained, I have to HAVE that, type of an application.

I want it all. I'm greedy.

I want to know where the bathroom is at a glance with a full route to get there and back quickly.

Think about this weird statistic: how many hours of sporting events are LOST at the snack stand, bathroom, in the parking lot because fans don't know how to get somewhere, went where everyone else is or just plain could not figure out the stadium facility.

I would be willing to wager that the average Giants game where roughly 42,000 fans attend, each fan misses an average of 20-30 minutes of the game.

Think about that stat. What if we could cut that down to 10 minutes with a SUPER accurate map and killer application built on top with everything a fan needs.

Talk about raising the fan appreciation.

Now, I can kind of guess what the technical requirements are with the idea I am describing here. I am one of those product / engineer types myself, so I have an idea of what is involved here.

But, like I said, I don't care.

Make my experience at the game better. Enhance it. Give me that map application that will eventually be engrained into my stadium experience just like grabbing a cold beer and a hot dog is today.

Make an incredibly awesome application that is just a requirement to be at the stadium and not some hip feature that only the cool kids know about.

Make it pervasive. Make it ingenious.

That is what I want.



November 9, 2011

We were so excited to be part of the new Asana launch video.  Micello has been using Asana for almost a year, and honestly we couldn't imagine our office life without it.  

Asana is a web application that keeps teams in sync - a single place for everyone to quickly capture, organize, track and communicate what they are working on. It was founded by Dustin Moskovitz, a co-founder of Facebook, and Justin Rosenstein, an alum of both Facebook and Google.  
Task management and office organization are key factors for staying on track in a busy office.  Asana allows us to stay organized and focus on what we really love- making maps!  
View the Asana launch video here:


November 7, 2011