GPS/LoRa based personal tracker works without mobile network

May 29, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
GPS/LoRa based personal tracker works without mobile network
How do you keep track of exactly where service and rescue personnel are at a large event? The Fraunhofer Institute FIT has developed such a system based on both GPS and LoRa. It even works when the mobile network fails, is overloaded or in places where such a network does not exist at all.

As part of the MONICA (Management of Networked IoT Wearables - Very Large Scale Demonstration of Cultural Societal Applications) research project, a consortium led by Fraunhofer FIT has developed a GPS/LoRa based tracker system that determines the exact location of people in a large crowd and displays it in an operations center. For example, the organizers of mega-events can see at any time where employees of the law enforcement forces, service staff, emergency doctors or firefighters are located. The location of these people is displayed in real time on a digital map of the location in an operations centre.

The system, which met all the above requirements, uses a GPS receiver to determine the location and the LoRa radio protocol to transmit the data to the control center. LoRa is a radio protocol designed for the "Internet of Things" and enables ranges of several kilometers. The system was tested at the major event "Rhein in Flammen", where tens of thousands of spectators watch a series of fireworks on the Rhine river every year. During the test, the entire event area was covered completely and redundantly with only two antennas. "The advantage of our system is that it functions independently of the mobile phone network and at the same time hardly needs to be set up its own infrastructure," explains Marco Jahn of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT.

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