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Who Needs An Indoor GPS Signal?

5th October 2013

First – let’s define a GPS Repeater System: A repeater is a device that relays GPS signals to any indoor location that isn’t normally reachable.

There is an outdoor antenna to pick up the GPS satellite signals from your rooftop, and a coaxial cable that carries the signal inside the building to a small, mains-powered, repeater unit.

The repeater unit re-radiates the GPS signal inside the building, generally covering a diameter of up to 20 metres.

Consider the following applications and see if any other situations where indoor GPS signal would be useful (or even crucial) spring to mind.

Fire & Rescue Stations: A repeater system installed in a fire station ensures that satellite navigation equipment in rescue vehicles is “locked on” to the GPS satellite service at all times while indoors. This means that when they exit the station “on a shout” the satnav devices don’t have to wait maybe four or five minutes to acquire the satellite signals – they will be transmitting live positional updates immediately upon exit of the station.

Crucially, the Command and Control Centre will always know where each asset is, with no gaps in coverage.

Aircraft Servicing Hangars: Indoor GPS signal allows on-board satellite navigation equipment to be tested indoors without having to push the aircraft outside in order to pick up a signal. Maybe not crucial in the life-or-death sense, but saves a lot of time and effort if aircraft can stay inside until fully tested and ready to go.

Personal Communication Devices: Similar to the Fire and Rescue application; when police officers go inside a station they are effectively “off the grid” as far as the Command and Control Centre is concerned. Their radio devices these days are far more than walkie-talkies; they have GPS chips in them that provide location coordinates that are relayed constantly back to the control room. A GPS repeater in a police station means that the command and control staff has a fuller picture of where their resources (officers) are. Arguably a crucial situation in certain circumstances.

Computer/electronic test facilities: So many systems contain embedded GPS chips these days that, similar to the aircraft test example, each system has to be taken outside to be tested. If GPS signal is available inside the workshop, each device can be fully tested without having to leave the comfort and safety of the workshop. Useful as opposed to crucial; but still easy to see the benefits.

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