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Emergency Navigation System

Ubisense Case study

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Darmstadt University of Technology is conducting research to improve the safety of public buildings. There is an absolute necessity to achieve maximum possible disaster preparedness in the sense of indoor navigation. For that reason the aim of the research is to develop a solution for response and recovery to support rescuers in finding the shortest way within a public building and provide them with important information in their particular spatial content. The system is evaluated in a test bed at the university and will be verified by practical tests at the Frankfurt Airport using Ubisense, Identec Solutions and Ekahau Inc.

TestingFrankfurt Airport currently has automatic fire detectors which are connected to alerting lines informing the fire brigade. On arrival, fire-fighters receive instructions which contain information about the building, the number of the fire detection line and the way to the fire brigade terminal. This information is then printed on paper. The current procedure is very time consuming and it takes enormous effort to keep the building maps up-to-date.

The project ‘Context Sensitive Indoor Emergency Navigation System for Complex Buildings’ uses a multi-method approach (see fig. 1) to integrate different position sensing methods and technologies which are appropriate for different environments of Frankfurt Airport.

The Navigation Integration Platform combines Ubisense, Identec Solutions, Ekahau Inc. and CAD building plans and information about the building. Ubisense UWB is connected to the central navigation server enabling precise positioning in large halls (plus/minus 15cm). Identec Solutions RFID is used for mobile use: the PDAs are equipped with an RFID-compact-reader, which enables reading distance of about 8m in buildings. Ekahau Inc. is integrated in the navigation integration platform and uses predefined paths ensuring that the position is automatically correct to positions on one of the path ways. Handheld mobile devices and tags communicate directly with the positioning engines of the three systems described above. They transfer the actual positions of rescuers via web services to the navigation integration platform. Each mobile device has an RFID-reader which identifies the RFID-tags to detect the position which is transferred to the navigation integration platform. WLAN is used to communicate this information between the mobile devices and the web service.

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