Tracking Human Mobility Using WiFi Signals

Piotr Sapiezynski, Arkadiusz Stopczynski, Radu Gatej, Sune Lehmann Jørgensen

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Abstract

We study six months of human mobility data, including WiFi and GPS traces recorded with high temporal resolution, and find that time series of WiFi scans contain a strong latent location signal. In fact, due to inherent stability and low entropy of human mobility, it is possible to assign location to WiFi access points based on a very small number of GPS samples and then use these access points as location beacons. Using just one GPS observation per day per person allows us to estimate the location of, and subsequently use, WiFi access points to account for 80% of mobility across a population. These results reveal a great opportunity for using ubiquitous WiFi routers for high-resolution outdoor positioning, but also significant privacy implications of such side-channel location tracking.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0130824
JournalP L o S One
Volume10
Issue number7
Number of pages11
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

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