Do you ever get lost in a new city - even when using GPS? Have you ever hailed a taxi using a mobile app but the taxi failed to find your correct location? You were waiting in one spot, but the driver waited on the other side of the road because his GPS indicated you were over there.


Girl finds her destination in Hong Kong with the SAP App on her tablet, 2018
(Screengrab from video courtesy The University of Hong Kong)




That's because GPS has an average error of 10-30 meters (33-98 feet). Other indoor navigation systems using WiFi and Gateway have positioning errors too.


To close this gap, Professor Anthony Yeh Gar-On, an expert in GIS in Urban Planning and academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, together with his research team at the Department of Urban Planning and Design of the University of Hong Kong (HKU), offers a new solution.


The team has invented the Smart Address Plate (SAP), a sensing device, which when installed in front of buildings, shops or offices, can help users to know their own locations and find their way around urban environments through a mobile application - an app.


SAP is a Bluetooth Low Energy proximity sensing device that stores a unique geo-coded Smart Address ID of a building, shop or office associated with it.


With the full system consisting of a Smart Address Plate, Smart Address Coding System, and Smart Address Plate Management System, there is no reason to ever get lost again.


Each building can be assigned a unique geo-coded address ID that can be positioned on a digital map.


Professor Yeh's team has developed a new postal-building Smart Address Coding System for all buildings in Hong Kong by combining a new postal code with the global georeferenced coordinates of a building.


Enterprises in any building can be tagged to this postal-building Smart Address for use in navigation, positioning, delivery, management and big data.


"Instead of asking people on the street or in a shopping mall and office building for directions, you will be able to find your location and direction from the Smart Address Plates, leading you from the street to the shops and restaurants that you are going to inside a shopping mall," Professor Yeh explained.


Yeh views assigning a unique eID Smart Address to buildings and shops as taking a step toward Chief Executive Carrie Lam's pledge in the Hong Kong Policy Address to forward key infrastructure projects for Smart City development.


The system can enhance the management of Hong Kong as an example for other aspiring smart cities, Yeh says. "Hong Kong can be the first city to use such an innovative and sophisticated Smart Address Plate System that combines navigation and management, and set a new standard for smart cities in the world."


By Sunny Lewis

Environment News Service (ENS)

August 24, 2018