The SkyLoc Floor Localization System

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

5th IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications (PerCom), White Plains, NY, March 2007



When a mobile user dials 911, a key to arriving to the emergency scene promptly is knowing the location of the mobile user. This paper presents SkyLoc, a GSM fingerprinting-based localization system that runs on a mobile phone and identifies the current floor of a user in tall multi-floor buildings. Knowing the floor in a tall building significantly reduces the area that emergency service personnel have to canvas to locate the individuals in need. We evaluated our system in three multi-floor buildings located in Washington DC, Seattle and Toronto. Our system identifies the floor correctly in up to 73% of the cases and is within 2 floors in 97% of the cases. The system is robust as it works for different network operators, when the training and testing sets were collected with different hardware and up to one month apart. In addition, we show that feature selection techniques that select a subset of highly relevant radio sources for fingerprint matching nearly double the localization accuracy of our system.