Google Maps and Particle partner to bring location-aware capabilities to IoT devices

Particle and Google Maps make it easy for IoT devices to identify their location without the use of a GPS. With a single line of code, a device or sensor dispersed across a network (an IoT edge device) can access Google’s geospatial database of Wi-Fi and cellular networks using the Google Maps Geolocation API.

This means you no longer need to invest in expensive and power hungry GPS modules to know the location of their IoT devices and sensors. Alternatively, you can also use Google Maps APIs in conjunction with existing GPS systems to increase accuracy and provide location data even when GPS fails, as it often does indoors.

Particle and Google now provide the whole chain—location aware devices that send context rich data to Google Cloud Platform. When IoT sensors know their location, the information they collect and send back becomes more contextualized, allowing you to make more informed, high-order decisions. By feeding context-rich data back into Google Cloud Platform, you have access to robust set of cloud products and services.

Although asset tracking is traditionally built on a foundation that includes GPS, satellite based GPS often fails in dense urban environments and indoors. In these scenarios, GPS signals are blocked by tall buildings or roofs. The Geolocation API is based on cell tower and Wi-Fi signals that continue to operate where GPS fails. This capability allows you to track your assets anywhere, both indoor and out.

In an IoT driven world, you can track more than just location. Additional signals can be critical to your objectives. For example, in the cold supply chain, temperature as well as location are key pieces of data to track in the factory, on the loading dock and in transit. This enables a holistic view of the supply chain and its ability to deliver a high quality product.
With a Wi-Fi enabled product built on the Particle platform, you can use the Google Maps Geolocation API to offer location aware auto configuration. This creates a seamless setup experience, enhanced operation and valuable analytics. Using geolocation your Particle devices can auto configure timezone, tune to available broadcast bands and connect to regional service providers.

For example, location aware window blinds can reference the number of available hours of sunlight and then make informed decision on how to passively heat a room. A smart coffee machine can report back its location allowing your marketing teams to better understand its market penetration and target demographic.

Visit the documentation for full directions to enable geolocation on your Particle devices. There are four basic steps to complete:

  1. Get a Google Maps API key enabled for Geolocation.
  2. Flash the Google Maps Firmware on your Particle Devices.
  3. Enable the Google Maps Integration in the Particle Console.
  4. Test it Out!

Google and Particle will be demoing the integration at IoT World beginning May 16. Stop by booth #310 near the main hall entrance to see the demo in person or for more information, review our developer documentation and get started today.

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About Ken: Ken is a Lead on the Industry Solutions team. He works with customers to bring innovative solutions to market.