GSM Indoor Localization

Alex Varshavsky, Eyal de Lara, Jeffrey Hightower, Anthony LaMarca, Veljo Otsason

Pervasive and Mobile Computing Journal (PMC), vol. 3, no. 6, pp. 698-720, Elsevier, December 2007



Accurate indoor localization has long been an objective of the ubiquitous computing research community, and numerous indoor localization solutions based on 802.11, Bluetooth, ultrasound and infrared technologies have been proposed. This paper presents the first accurate GSM indoor localization system that achieves median within floor accuracy of 4 m in large buildings and is able to identify the floor correctly in up to 60% of the cases and is within 2 floors in up to 98% of the cases in tall multi-floor buildings. We report evaluation results of two case studies conducted over a course of several years, with data collected from 6 buildings in 3 cities across North America. The key idea that makes accurate GSM-based indoor localization possible is the use of wide signalstrength fingerprints. In addition to the 6-strongest cells traditionally used in the GSM standard, the wide fingerprint includes readings from additional cells that are strong enough to be detected, but are too weak to be used for efficient communication. We further show that selecting a subset of highly relevant channels for fingerprinting matching out of all available channels, further improves the localization accuracy.