Pilot Study

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The Lands Department is exploring the applications of the latest indoor positioning methodologies and technologies to enhance the positioning infrastructure development of Hong Kong in the long run. This project was proposed to design and develop a Ubiquitous Positioning Infrastructure (UPI) in a designated pilot project area (with outdoor and indoor environments) for showcasing and evaluating the effectiveness and performance of the infrastructure.

  • Identify suitable and cost-effective Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) technologies to design and develop the UPI
  • Showcase and evaluate the effectiveness and performance of the Infrastructure

Project Background

Ubiquitous positioning in and between both indoor and outdoor forms a core component of digital infrastructure to deliver more accurate and reliable positioning services and support Hong Kong’s various smart initiatives. While a number of indoor premises in Hong Kong each have their own respective App and positioning facilities, there are currently no standard specification / protocol for individual systems to follow. This meant visitors typically would have to acquire different applications / supporting software to enable positioning and navigation across different locations. The non-interoperability of these systems poses obstruction to developing and enabling ubiquitous positioning on a territory-scale.

Ubiquitous Positioning Infrastructure

To effectively provide ubiquitous positioning services, different signal sources should be considered. The infrastructure aims to bridge stakeholders together and allow applications to obtain necessary location-related information from different site owners. The infrastructure has three main components, the database that stores site data from data providers including maps and site signal data; the lookup server to allow communication between the developed applications with the database and facilitate data transmission; and the platform SDK that encapsulates low-level API calls to the lookup server.

Pervasive Positioning Standard for Fingerprint-based and Proximity-based Systems

Pervasive Positioning Standard is a set of communication protocols with data organisation designs on site signals and maps. The goal is to help location-based service applications to locate their users anywhere by requesting location services from the correct service providers. It consists of 3 components:

  • A set of communication protocols
  • Data organisation and format definition for site signals
  • Data organisation for maps using existing map standards

Pilot Project

The Pilot Project Study Area selected Hong Kong Science and Technology Park to demonstrate how UPI can be applied in an urban setting. It covered a total area of 12 hectares, simulating typical Hong Kong urban environments including multiple floor levels, pedestrian footbridge, carpark areas, changing zones, and indoor-outdoor transition.

In order to replicate future collaboration scenarios between stakeholders, the Study Area was partitioned into 3 zones, each managed by an "operator", to mimic different venue owners utilising diverse positioning technologies. The operators built the positioning systems within their respective zone with different common commercial positioning devices, such as BLE beacons, Wi-Fi access points, Geo-QR codes, and UWB beacons.

By making use of the UPI and the Pervasive Positioning Standard, the Pilot Project has successfully demonstrated the benefits and potential applications of "Smart Mobility" and "Smart Government".


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