In this short article we present concepts of indoor localization and navigation that are independent of sensors embedded in the environment, and thus, standing against the tide of technology-based indoor localization. The motivation for doing so is clear: We seek solutions that are independent of particular environments, and thus globally applicable.
Indoor localization and indoor navigation are frequent topics of SIGSPATIAL papers. The Special Interest Group’s annual conference has even workshops specifically dedicated to this topic, and beyond this conference there are other working groups and conferences established just on this domain. Why is indoor localization and navigation taking so much attention and effort, and why should sensor-less methods be considered in this context? There are several reasons for this. First, in contrast to outdoor positioning and navigation there is no global system available (or even possible) for indoor localization, and thus no single frame of reference for navigation. Satellite radio signals rarely penetrate buildings, thus indoor environments are GNSS deprived environments. Indoor localization methods, however, are plenty – those based on WiFi, UWB, RFID, CCTV, wireless telecommunication networks, and many more  – which all require a building to be equipped with a particular, tailored infrastructure, to which the tracked visitor of the building has to connect.
This article discusses why localization methods for indoor environments that are relying on sensors embedded in the environment may prove to be a roadblock for a widespread dissemination of indoor location-based services. In comparison, methods of localization and navigation independent of sensor-based technologies are immediately and ubiquituously applicable, at least to some degrees: decentralized knowledge sharing (Section 3) requires only memory for the trajectories traveled in the environment, dialog-based localization (Section 4) requires already a map of the environment, and vision-based localization (Section 5) then requires a BIM of the environment.
Methods of indoor localization and navigation working independently of the physical infrastructure are particularly relevant in environments that
• do not provide any external sensors for localization;
• do provide external sensors (such as WiFi) but lack their fingerprinting required for localization;
• do provide external sensors, but they are either blocked or damaged (such as in emergency situations);
and require navigation support for people. While many, if not most of indoor navigation systems are designed for a specific environment, the case made here for sensor-independent solutions is a case for global indoor navigation support.