I want to detect a magnetic field, like those of small neodymium magnets, from at least 6 inches away (the further the better, I'd like at least a foot but I won't ask for too much). I'd like to do this on a small board like the Arduino Beetle. And I'd also like to be able to sense polarity. That's it, I just need to be able to detect a small neodymium magnet and possibly it's polarity, nothing more.
I've been reading everything I can on hall sensors but I don't think any of them are capable of detecting a magnet over much of a distance and it seems that the sensor has to be at a certain orientation to the magnet for it to even work. I'm thinking a fluxgate sensor might be what I'm looking for but I'm not sure.
I know it's possible to detect a small magnet from a distance and it's polarity, I just can't find out exactly how.
Could someone point me in the right direction?