Keynote Speaker – Prof. David Akopian

Indoor Positioning Advances Exploiting GPS and WLAN Infrastructures


Prof. David Akopian
SCNS Lab Founder, USA

David Akopian is a tenured full professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), San Antonio, TX. Prior to joining UTSA, Akopian was a Senior Research Engineer and Specialist with Nokia Corporation from 1999 to 2003. His responsibilities were in the development of advanced location technologies integrated with mobile devices, exploiting both terrestrial and satellite signals in hybrid solutions.

Currently he leads Software Communications and Navigation Systems Laboratory and serves as International Officer for the College of Engineering at UTSA.

Akopian’s research interests are in human-machine interaction and guidance, including wireless communication, sensing, localization technologies and mobile applications. He co-chaired mobile technology conferences for ten consecutive years, and chairs 2017 conference “EI: Mobile Devices and Multimedia: Enabling Technologies, Algorithms, and Applications”. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, USAF, US Navy, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, CPRIT-TX, and SALSI, etc.

Akopian’s research resulted in an extensive number of publications and inventions, including more than thirty issued and pending patents, several book chapters, several edited proceedings, more than 200 journal and conference papers. His team developed several systems that support other NIH and DoD projects. Since 2004, his lab trained about 90 students, and his students are currently employed by such industry leaders as Apple, Google, Qualcomm, Samsung, Cisco Systems, Amazon, Freescale, Dell, Motorola, Nokia, Intel, etc.


Location-based services (LBS) gained popularity exploiting localization receivers operating according to requirements of U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) and/or other Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). Localization of mobile devices is nowadays mandated by U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC: E-911) for emergency services and similar mandates are available in other countries as well. Conventional GPS receivers perform well in open sky environments, typically outdoors, while their operation deteriorates or denied in urban canyon and indoor environments, is deteriorated or even denied due to strong signal attenuations and multipath degradations.

Enhanced GPS receiver techniques are proposed for more sensitivity in acquiring satellite signals in such weak-signal conditions. In particular, terrestrial communication channels may assist GPS units in mobile devices by providing GPS navigation data and other information from unobstructed GPS receivers. Receivers are then relieved from the task of demodulating all navigation data from attenuated satellite signals. This concept is referred to as Assisted GPS (A-GPS) and is being supported by many cellular modern communication standards.

While A-GPS enhances operation of GPS receivers, most of the indoor areas are not covered by GPS operation due to signal blockages. An alternative approach exploits WLAN signals for accurate indoor positioning. WLAN signals are nor designed for localization, but their propagation features are peculiar to the receiver locations and signal propagation paths, which is exploited for indoor positioning.

There are many challenges in both A-GPS and WLAN indoor localization, and an intensive research is underway to bring positioning indoors, so one day it will become a commonly deployed technology similar to outdoor navigation. The presentation reviews principles of A-GPS and WLAN-based positioning methods, their potential performances and challenges, and related industry trends.