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Because travellers in the airport terminal are indoors, they can't use GPS to position devices, so the app instead uses triangulation and signal strength between the terminal's wi-fi hubs. The augmented reality app only works when wi-fi is activated on the iPhone, although the smartphone doesn't need to be connected to a wi-fi network.
Copenhagen Airport was seen as particularly suitable for the augmented reality app because the large number of wi-fi hubs in the terminal made the locating of devices relatively easy.
The team from Sita spent between three and four months working out how to locate devices using the airport's wi-fi infrastructure before spending two to three months building the augmented reality platform itself.
Photo: Copenhagen Airport
The augmented reality application allows users to plan their time in the airport by helping them locate shops, restaurants and other services according to their search preferences.
According to Copenhagen Airport IT director Christian Poulsen, the airport is always trying to improve the passenger experience, and the augmented reality application provides a new dimension for travellers.
The system - which was developed by Sita's research group Sita Lab with the help of the airport IT team and apps developer Novasa - uses a database of points of interest with the relevant information being relayed to the device depending on its location.
One of the benefits of the app over old-style physical maps is that any changes in shops or terminal layout can be quickly and cheaply changed in the database used by the software.
The application updates its location every six seconds and the system is accurate to 5m in most parts of the airport and to 3m in some areas, according to Sita Lab innovation manager Stephane Cheikh who managed the augmented reality project.
Photo: Sita Lab
The augmented realty application can be viewed in landscape or portrait mode, shown above, on the iPhone.
Photo: Sita Lab