Given the huge market popularity of iPad tablets, the group decided to make the InfoSPOT prototype compatible with the Apple product. Plus, the tablet works well with the architecture they deployed for the project called KHARMA, which builds on the use of KML, a flavor of Extensible Markup Language, known as XML, used for geo-referencing maps and images for the web.

The tests are providing researchers with new clues as to how to address the "drift" problem that often arises with indoor-tracking applications. For example, the image in the viewfinder may be of a metal cabinet, but the data overlay says it is a computer, which is next to the cabinet. That's one of the problems the Info-SPOT concept is addressing.

There is still plenty of work to be done in the lab before "situational awareness" systems like this are ready for real-world uses. But the advances are coming faster each year, especially as, during construction, more teams deploy BIM as-builts, which then inform facilities management for a building's life cycle.

"It's not ready for prime time yet, but we're now looking at how we can deploy this with health-care facilities management," says Irizarry of InfoSPOT. "It's work with a purpose of trying to improve the ACE environment."