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Testing of Indoor Localization Systems



Picture of a house on top of a floorplan.
Two men looking at screens above them.
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It has been explained elsewhere in these web pages that testing of indoor localization systems, also invariably called localization and tracking systems (LTSs) in these web pages, is a challenging measurement problem. For that reason and based on its observations of the landscape of indoor localization and feedback from various stakeholders, NIST took the initiative of leading the effort to develop the ISO/IEC 18305 international standard. NIST also has the facilities to test indoor localization systems.

Therefore, from time to time, NIST carries out field testing of available indoor localization and tracking systems for the following reasons:

1.    Assessment and validation of the ISO/IEC 18305 standard with the intention of improving the next version.

LTSs are very complex and have many features and operational constraints that must be evaluated. Therefore, ISO/IEC 18305 is a complex standard that must be assessed and validated before it can be widely used. It is through the process of validation that NIST will discover any problems associated with applying the standard and answer questions, such as the following:

  • Are the performance metrics appropriate? Do they address all relevant performance aspects?
  • Is each test and evaluation (T&E) scenario appropriate for the intended purpose? Is each T&E scenario well-described?
  • Are reporting instructions clear and complete?
  • Are there any inconsistencies within the standard?

During each instance of testing, commercially available systems will be tested according to the standardized procedures of ISO/IEC 18305. Lessons learned from these test events will be used to make modifications to the testing procedures and corresponding revisions in ISO/IEC 18305.

2.    Assessment of commercially available technologies using the standardized test methods of ISO/IEC 18305 for the dual purposes of comparing technologies and further development of the technology.

Comprehensive test results for each system are made available to the public at large in addition to the system manufacturer through NIST publications. A benefit of having data from these tests is that minimum performance requirements can be set for indoor localization and tracking systems for particular applications. It is not possible to set performance requirements without having standardized test procedures or an understanding of current state of the technology.

In addition to “system testing”, NIST is also engaged in testing basic functionalities that make localization possible, such as modeling and characterization of received signal strength for the purpose of range estimation, and estimation of time of arrival (ToA), angle of arrival (AoA) or angle of departure (AoD) of a signal. ISO/IEC 18305 covers system testing, but there are lessons to be learned from ISO/IEC 18305 for the testing of the basic functionalities just mentioned.

Created February 22, 2024, Updated March 14, 2024