Seamless Fusion: Multi-Modal Localization for First Responders in Challenging Environments

D. Dahlke
P. Drakoulis
A. F. García
S. Kaiser
S. Karavarsamis
M. Mallis
W. Oliff
G. Sakellari
A. Belmonte-Hernández
F. Alvarez
D. Zarpalas
MDPI Sensors 2024


In dynamic and unpredictable environments, the precise localization of first responders and rescuers is crucial for effective incident response. This paper introduces a novel approach leveraging three complementary localization modalities: visual-based, Galileo-based, and inertial-based. Each modality contributes uniquely to the final Fusion tool, facilitating seamless indoor and outdoor localization, offering a robust and accurate localization solution without reliance on pre-existing infrastructure, essential for maintaining responder safety and optimizing operational effectiveness. The visual-based localization method utilizes an RGB camera coupled with a modified implementation of the ORB-SLAM2 method, enabling operation with or without prior area scanning. The Galileo-based localization method employs a lightweight prototype equipped with a high-accuracy GNSS receiver board, tailored to meet the specific needs of first responders. The inertial-based localization method utilizes sensor fusion, primarily leveraging smartphone inertial measurement units, to predict and adjust first responders’ positions incrementally, compensating for the GPS signal attenuation indoors. A comprehensive validation test involving various environmental conditions was carried out to demonstrate the efficacy of the proposed fused localization tool. Our results show that our proposed solution always provides a location regardless of the conditions (indoors, outdoors, etc.), with an overall mean error of 1.73 m.