GPS vs. IPS What is the Difference?

Back to Blog  •  Posted on July 24, 2014 by admin

Global Positioning System, or GPS has been around for a few years and is useful in many ways, but it has it’s limitations. New technology called Indoor Positioning System, or IPS works similarly to GPS, but it works inside buildings and is more accurate in measuring small distances than GPS, which is very handy when you’re trying to find a certain store in the mall.

How The Systems Work

One of the differences between GPS and IPS is that a GPS receiver has to be locked onto signals from three or more satellites for it to be able to pinpoint a position and track movement. There are several different methods of building an IPS. The approach currently used by Google involves using the locations of various WiFi hotspots in a building. The IPS calculates your location by your WiFi signal strength. Another method, being used by Nokia, works in a similar fashion except that it uses Bluetooth for information instead of WiFi.

Real World Uses of GPS vs IPS

Most people think of GPS in terms of navigation because they rely on it for accurate directions. It is also useful for location a person, pet, vehicle or phone as long as the object you’re looking for is equipped with GPS. Mapping and surveying have been revolutionized by GPS technology. The military also uses GPS heavily. This technology is used for tracking targets, guiding missiles, search and rescue, and monitoring patrol movement.

IPS is also useful for both superficial and highly advanced applications. The technology is still being developed and tested, but proponents are confident that this system will have the ability to accurately pinpoint the location of your car in a large parking garage as well as create detailed emergency plans for hospitals, schools and office buildings. IPS technology is very useful for mapping out the inside of buildings, which will help when you’re searching for a certain office or the gate at an unfamiliar airport.

GPS and IPS are two systems that compliment each other very well. For instance, GPS will guide you from your home to the parking lot of an unfamiliar subway station. From that point, IPS will take over and help you find the ticket counter and the correct platform to get where you want to go. Insiders predict that IPS will be available to consumers on their smartphones within the next ten years.