Bluetooth Beacon Question: Which Way Is North?

OK, someone help! How do you know whether a Bluetooth beacon is to the north or south of your phone?

Ask me to describe the influence of technology on urban culture and I can riff all day. But ask me to figure out something that sounds even vaguely like a grade 8 math problem and I freeze up.

So I’m asking for your thoughts. Here’s the use case:

– I have a beacon that I put on my dog’s collar. It’s Bluetooth LE although maybe it has an accelerometer as well.
– My phone has an app that detects the beacon.
– Now, since my phone also has a compass and can detect my strides and distance travelled, you’d think there’d be some way to figure out based on a rough probability that my dog, who usually travels ahead of me, is to the north (or south).

But how would you tackle this challenge? Without adding other devices for triangulation – and knowing we have the beacon on the dog, the GPS, compass, stride and direction detection on the phone – can we, in theory, figure out a way to make a high probability guess as to whether my dog is to the north or south of me? Is there any way to know with certainty?

Drop your problem solving brilliance in the comments below!

6 Responses to “Bluetooth Beacon Question: Which Way Is North?”

  1. With the compass of the phone and gps (or just step counter), then determining if your are moving away or closer to the beacon. With this information you can roughly compute the direction.

    Am I right ?

    Reply
  2. That’s what I thought Cyril – but the question is whether the beacon is moving further away from YOU not whether you’re moving closer to the beacon. In this case, the beacon is on your dog’s collar – you can see the beacon is moving further away but you won’t know which direction.

    I guess the solution is a compass on the dog collar!

    Reply
  3. Uncle Bob

    Moss grows on the side of the tree not facing the sun, so in the Northern Hemisphere it grows on the North side and in the Southern Hemisphere it grows on the South side of the tree. And if your dog is a Pointer, it could identify which side of the tree it is peeing on, and point Northwards accordingly. Hope that helps.

    Reply

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