Visual Positioning Adds Indoor Navigation Capability to Smartphones and Industrial Applications - Inside GNSS - Global Navigation Satellite Systems Engineering, Policy, and Design

Visual Positioning Adds Indoor Navigation Capability to Smartphones and Industrial Applications

Hexagon has acquired Immersal Oy, a provider of spatial mapping and visual positioning solutions used to produce augmented reality (AR) applications.

AR applications enhance real-world experiences by augmenting a user’s visual perception with the display of digital content in the physical world. AR’s ability to weave context-specific, 3D information into physical spaces provides opportunities to save time, improve performance and reduce costs across a wide range of industries and applications, from surveying, construction, public safety and manufacturing to maintenance, training and navigation applications. The immersive experience can help boost task efficiency, improve safety protocols, optimize workflows, increase collaboration and much more.

The Immersal SDK (software development kit) allows developers to merge and anchor digital content to real-world objects, with precise accuracy to their actual location in the physical space, by enabling a user’s mobile device to locate and orient itself in the surrounding physical world using machine-readable maps. The maps, which are used for visual positioning, are constructed from image data supported by various mapping devices (including mobile phones) and hosted in the Immersal Cloud Service.

From airports, public transportation hubs and hospitals to museums, stadiums, and shopping malls, Immersal helps deepen the connections between people, places and things. For example, museum-goers can travel back in time with an AR guide that interacts with them and curates a visitor experience to their interests. Shoppers looking at a specific product can be guided straight to an online shop to buy or learn more about it.

Immersal Industrial
Industrial/logistics application. Images courtesy Immersal.

“Hexagon has long been a leader in delivering smart digital realities that combine inputs from reality capture sensors with advanced visualization software and tools to enable remote, location-based intelligence. This acquisition puts the power of these insights into the hands of those on-site, enhancing their field of view with superimposed digital information, meaning they can literally do more with what they see,” says Hexagon President and CEO Ola Rollén. “For example, direct access to information about an asset – while working with that asset – including step-by-step instructions on how to repair it, can streamline maintenance tasks while reducing material waste and re-work.”

Immersal has years of experience developing AI and machine learning-based spatial anchor technology, which anchors virtual objects or models for viewing on different devices in the same position and orientation. This unlocks a wide variety of location-based solutions and services, from consumer-oriented augmented reality applications in gaming and media and entertainment to digital twin solutions on an enterprise scale. Immersal’s technology can map large spaces, indoors and outdoors, and works both offline on-device and online using the Cloud Service.

Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, Immersal will operate as part of Hexagon’s Geosystems division.