Technology - Advanced Mobile Navigation and Mapping App

Advanced Mobile Navigation and Mapping App

Improves mobile mapping and navigation apps by visualizing distant landmarks that typically fall outside the device display area.


Existing mobile map or navigation apps generally provide directions through distance and turn-by-turn instructions – for example, “after 1 mile, turn right on to Lakeview street.” Directions like these often place users in a passive “following mode,” without any actual awareness of the surrounding environment. This can result in users having very minimum awareness of where they actually are from a geographical perspective. So, when the mobile device fails or loses access to signal, users can find themselves disoriented. And even when the device has signal, the limited size of a typical mobile phone screen can cause many local landmarks to fall outside the display area.

Technology Overview:

This technology uses landmarks to help users establish spatial orientation to locations in the environment by visualizing important locations beyond the map display (in other words, off-screen landmarks). The technology references distant landmarks, commonly referred to when directions are provided, to support spatial orientation. It also displays off-screen landmarks to support orientation by allowing users to establish spatial relationship among landmark anchors in their mental representations, facilitated by the off-screen landmarks. This helps orient the user and place directions within geographical context. It also allows users to better find their destination if signal is lost.


•    Better orients the user to the surrounding environment.
•    Shows landmarks that are typically outside a mobile phone’s limited display area.
•    Enables users to better locate their destinations in situations where signal is lost.


The primary application for this technology is to provide mapping and direction information to vehicle drivers. The technology may also be useful to hikers and pedestrians.

Intellectual Property Summary:

Know-how and Copyright

Stage of Development:

TRL 6 - System/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment (ground or space)

Licensing Status:

This technology is available for licensing.

Licensing Potential:

This technology would be of interest to anyone involved in providing direction and mapping information to vehicle drivers, including:
•    Vehicle navigation system manufacturers.
•    Mobile device manufacturers.
•    Mobile mapping and direction app developers.
•    Automobile manufacturers.

Patent Information: