Mobile-Assisted Localization in Wireless Sensor Networks

Nissanka Bodhi Priyantha, Hari Balakrishnan, Erik Demaine, Seth Teller
IEEE INFOCOM, Miami, FL, March 2005

The localization problem is to determine an assignment of coordinates to nodes in a wireless ad-hoc or sensor network that is consistent with measured pairwise node distances. Most previously proposed solutions to this problem assume that the nodes can obtain pairwise distances to other nearby nodes using some ranging technology. However, for a variety of reasons that include obstructions and lack of reliable omnidirectional ranging, this distance information is hard to obtain in practice. Even when pairwise distances between nearby nodes are known, there may not be enough information to solve the problem uniquely.

This paper describes MAL, a mobile-assisted localization method which employs a mobile user to assist in measuring distances between node pairs until these distance constraints form a ``globally rigid'' structure that guarantees a unique localization. We derive the required constraints on the mobile's movement and the minimum number of measurements it must collect; these constraints depend on the number of nodes visible to the mobile in a given region. We show how to guide the mobile's movement to gather a sufficient number of distance samples for node localization. We use simulations and measurements from an indoor deployment using the Cricket location system to investigate the performance of MAL, finding in real-world experiments that MAL's median pairwise distance error is less than 1.5% of the true node distance.

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Bibtex Entry:

   author =       "Nissanka Bodhi Priyantha and Hari Balakrishnan and Erik Demaine and Seth Teller",
   title =        "{Mobile-Assisted Localization in Wireless Sensor Networks}",
   booktitle =    {IEEE INFOCOM},
   year =         {2005},
   month =        {March},
   address =      {Miami, FL}