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Methods and Tools to Construct a Global

Indoor Positioning System
Suk-Hoon Jung, Gunwoo Lee, and Dongsoo Han, Member, IEEE

Abstract—A global indoor positioning system (GIPS) is completion in the early 1990s, no GIPS with such a wide
a system that provides positioning services in most buildings in availability and high resolution has yet appeared.
villages and cities globally. Among the various indoor positioning Various signals, such as cell-tower signals, ultrawideband,
techniques, WLAN-based location fingerprinting has attracted
considerable attention because of the wide availability of WLAN Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Bluetooth, magnetic fields, and ultrasounds can
and relatively high resolution of the fingerprint-based position- be used for indoor positioning [1]. Among these signals, the
ing techniques. This paper introduces methods and tools to Wi-Fi signal is one of the best candidates to construct a GIPS
construct a GIPS by using WLAN fingerprinting. An unsu- because of its widespread availability of Wi-Fi hot spots all
pervised learning-based method is adopted to construct radio over the world. However, the wide availability of Wi-Fi signals
maps using fingerprints collected via crowdsourcing, and a prob-
abilistic indoor positioning algorithm is developed for the radio does not guarantee a high resolution of Wi-Fi-based position-
maps constructed with the crowdsourced fingerprints. Along with ing systems. Among the positioning techniques using Wi-Fi
these techniques, collecting indoor and radio maps of build- signals, Wi-Fi fingerprint-based positioning is one of the best
ings in villages and cities is essential for a GIPS. This paper choices to achieve high positioning accuracy [2]. Here, a fin-
aims to collect indoor and radio maps from volunteers who are gerprint is Wi-Fi signal characteristics at a location represented
interested in deploying indoor positioning systems for their build-
ings. The methods and tools for the volunteers are also described with a set of received signal strengths (RSSs) from multiple
in the process of developing an indoor positioning system within access points (APs). The Wi-Fi fingerprint-based positioning,
the larger GIPS. An experimental GIPS, named KAIST indoor however, requires a laborious and time-consuming calibration
locating system (KAILOS), was developed integrating the meth- phase in which fingerprints are collected at known locations
ods and tools. Then indoor navigation systems for a university to construct a radio map. Once a radio map is constructed, the
campus and a large-scale indoor shopping mall were developed on
KAILOS, revealing the effectiveness of KAILOS in developing location of a device can be estimated by matching an online
indoor positioning systems. The more volunteers who partici- fingerprint with the fingerprints in the radio map [2].
pate in developing indoor positioning systems on KAILOS-like However, constructing precise radio maps covering most
systems, the sooner GIPS will be realized. buildings in cities globally requires tremendous time and
Index Terms—Crowdsourcing, global indoor localization, unsu- effort. Consequently, reducing calibration efforts to construct
pervised learning, Wi-Fi fingerprinting, zero-effort site survey. radio maps has long been a critical issue in this research
area [3]. Google has been collecting indoor floor plans and
radio maps by crowdsourcing since the end of 2011 [4].
I. I NTRODUCTION Thousands of floor plans have been collected, but until now,
they have been mainly from large-scale buildings such as
GLOBAL indoor positioning system (GIPS) is a system
A that can provide positioning services in most buildings
in villages and cities globally. The goals of wide availability
airport terminals, shopping malls, and exhibition centers.
However, precise positioning services are not yet available in
most buildings because of lack of radio maps which require
and high resolution should be accomplished for a position-
manual calibration efforts.
ing system to be a GIPS. While the global positioning
In fact, constructing a GIPS that integrates indoor maps,
system (GPS) has been dominantly used outdoors since its
radio maps, and positioning algorithms is a large, complex
project. This paper introduces methods and tools to construct
Manuscript received August 16, 2016; accepted October 25, 2016. a GIPS by using Wi-Fi signals. The key idea is to realize
This work was supported in part by the National Research Foundation
of Korea through the Korea Government (MSIP) under Grant a GIPS by crowdsourcing indoor and radio maps from vol-
2015R1A2A1A10052224, in part by the Center for Integrated Smart unteers who are interested in developing or deploying indoor
Sensors through the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning as positioning systems for their buildings.
Global Frontier Project under Grant 2012M3A6A6054195, and in part
by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and Korea Institute for The reason we employ a crowdsourcing approach is that it
Advancement of Technology through the Industry Promotion Project in is the only way to collect indoor maps and construct radio
Economic Regions under Grant R0004559. This paper was recommended by maps globally at a very low cost in a short period of time.
Associate Editor D. Akopian. (Corresponding author: Dongsoo Han.)
The authors are with the Department of Computer Science, Korea Advanced We developed an unsupervised learning-based radio map con-
Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon 305-701, South Korea (e-mail: struction method to construct radio maps with crowdsourced
sh.jung@kaist.ac.kr; gwleee@kaist.ac.kr; dshan@kaist.ac.kr). fingerprints collected without location information. However,
Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available
online at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org. all the radio maps for the GIPS need not be constructed this
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TSMC.2016.2626797 way. We also developed tools and Web interfaces to collect
2168-2216 c 2016 IEEE. Personal use is permitted, but republication/redistribution requires IEEE permission.
See http://www.ieee.org/publications_standards/publications/rights/index.html for more information.

radio maps from volunteers on the Internet. This radio map

collection strategy inevitably results in diverse types of radio
maps because collected radio maps may be constructed in
various ways.
The GIPS has to deal with such various types of radio
maps, especially in the choice of positioning algorithms. One
positioning algorithm cannot always outperform other algo-
rithms for all types of radio maps [2], [5]. Therefore, for better
positioning performance, the GIPS should be equipped with
multiple positioning algorithms and switch from one algorithm
to another depending on radio map types. Mapping radio maps
into appropriate positioning algorithms is an essential func-
tion of the GIPS. In this paper, we propose a method to
map radio maps into positioning algorithms. Also we pro- Fig. 1. Positioning technology stack.
pose a new probabilistic positioning algorithm adapted for
crowdsourced radio maps, because most existing positioning
algorithms have not been designed to deal with the diversity the figure, there is only a slight difference between outdoor and
of crowdsourced data. indoor positioning environments from the technology point of
Using the methods and tools needed for the GIPS, an exper- view.
imental GIPS, KAIST indoor locating system (KAILOS) was Signal environments are the fundamental basis of a posi-
developed. KAILOS allows anyone to contribute indoor and tioning service. Without the presence of appropriate signals,
radio maps of buildings by using its methods, tools, and positioning service is not possible in both indoor and out-
interfaces. In return, it provides indoor positioning and navi- door environments. From an availability point of view, 3G,
gation services for the buildings. KAILOS has a long way to 4G, and Wi-Fi signals can be used for the GIPS because they
go to cover most of the buildings in villages and cities glob- are available in most buildings in cities. However, from an
ally. Nevertheless, it was used very effectively for developing accuracy point of view, there is no other way but to use Wi-Fi
indoor positioning and navigation systems in some confined signals incorporated with fingerprint-based positioning tech-
areas such as COEX mall, Seoul, South Korea, and the KAIST niques. Thus, radio maps, which are collections of fingerprints
campus, Daejeon, South Korea. In addition, it turned out that with their collected locations, should be constructed for most
the unsupervised leaning-based radio map construction method of the buildings globally.
and the proposed probabilistic positioning algorithm could be Map environments are another fundamental basis of posi-
effectively used in reducing the cost of radio map construction tioning systems and services. Without a map, the positioning
and improving the accuracy of crowdsourcing-based indoor service can hardly be provided to users. In addition, many
positioning. advanced positioning techniques, such as sensor placement
The contribution of this paper is threefold. First, this optimization [6], user tracking [7], [8], map-matching [9],
paper introduces the concept of a crowdsourcing-based and calibration effort reduction methods [3], are usually
GIPS. Second, we propose three new methods to support the performed based on structured models derived from indoor
construction of a GIPS. maps. Partitioning and drawing road networks for an area are
1) An unsupervised learning-based method for the crowd- typical examples of the modeling [10], [11]. A more complex
sourcing of radio maps. modeling can be done with a state machine such as a hid-
2) A probabilistic positioning algorithm adapted for crowd- den Markov model (HMM) [12], [13]. We leave the details to
sourced radio maps. Section III-A.
3) Positioning algorithm selection method for diverse types A positioning system mounted on the map environment
of crowdsourced radio maps. is the core of the positioning technology stack. It estimates
Last, this paper introduces an experimental GIPS, KAILOS, locations of the signals captured by GPS receivers or Wi-Fi
with its application examples in six areas including a large modules (here we focus mainly on Wi-Fi signals). Trilateration
shopping mall and a university campus. The three proposed is typically used for GPS positioning, and the fingerprint-based
methods were integrated into KAILOS. approach is often used for Wi-Fi-based indoor positioning.
Thus, in Wi-Fi-based positioning, radio maps are additionally
required for location estimation.
II. L OCATION T ECHNOLOGY S TACK Various location-based applications, such as navigation sys-
A positioning technology stack is a layered structure of tems, can be developed using positioning systems. Although
technical and environmental elements required to implement the positioning systems can be integrated with the applications,
positioning systems and services. Signals, maps, positioning a positioning service platform is usually placed between the
systems, and location-based applications are the major compo- positioning systems and the applications. Hence, the position-
nents constituting a positioning technology stack. Fig. 1 shows ing service platform layer is placed on top of the positioning
the layered architecture of such technical and environmental system layer. Lastly, the location-based applications layer is
elements in the positioning technology stack. As illustrated in placed on the top of the stack.

Fig. 2. Process of indoor positioning system deployment.

III. M ETHODS AND T OOLS TO C ONSTRUCT GIPS maps, the KAILOS provides tools and interfaces for volun-
A. Deployment Process of Indoor Positioning System teers all over the world. Building registration should be the
first step in the collection process. This is done by drawing
Prior to describing the construction of a GIPS, we formu-
a polygon for the area of the building on an outdoor map.
late the process of installing an indoor positioning system in
Floor map registration is performed after the building registra-
a building. Various activities should be performed to deploy
tion by uploading image files for the maps. The KAILOS also
a fingerprint-based indoor positioning system. Indoor maps
provides interfaces to register points of interests (POIs), such
should be prepared (step 1), and a model of the area is
as room numbers and store names, on the registered indoor
required for radio map construction and more advanced tech-
map for users to provide the information of locations.
niques (step 2). Radio maps are then constructed for the
2) Modeling of Indoor Areas: To collect fingerprints and
modeled indoor area by using one of the radio map construc-
represent them in relation to locations, modeling of the indoor
tion methods (step 3). Once the construction of a radio map
area is required. Partitioning is a basic modeling technique
is completed, an indoor positioning system is installed on top
to define each location for collecting fingerprints in an area.
of the radio maps (step 4). Testing and evaluation must be
Road networks are usually used to support the optimization
performed to ensure the quality of the deployed indoor posi-
of map-matching and user tracking [8]. A state machine is
tioning systems (step 5). Fig. 2 illustrates the overall process
often used to represent the topological relations of the loca-
of deploying a fingerprint-based indoor positioning system in
tions induced by walls and doors in an indoor area [12]. An
a building. The following sections describe the detailed activ-
HMM, which is a variation of the state machine, is used to
ities required at each step along with the methods and tools
model the movement of users in a probabilistic framework.
provided by KALOS, an experimental GIPS we developed.
The transition and emission probabilities of the HMM match
well to the movement of users and fingerprints observed during
the movement, respectively [12].
B. Indoor Map Registration and Modeling Supporting partitioning and road network modeling is rather
1) Indoor Map Drawing and Registration: An indoor map simple and straightforward. It is only necessary to provide
is the basis for developing a fingerprint-based indoor posi- tools to draw road networks on indoor maps. Unlike the
tioning system. The collection of fingerprints, installation of modeling of road networks, HMM modeling involves a rather
positioning systems, and provision of positioning services can complex process. The first requirement for HMM modeling
hardly be performed without indoor maps. However, indoor is to partition each floor area into small locations. Each loca-
maps of the majority of the buildings in cities are not yet tion of an indoor area is then mapped onto a state of the
available. Crowdsourcing seems to be the only possible way to HMM (see step 2 in Fig. 2). Typically, the transition proba-
address this problem. To support the crowdsourcing of indoor bilities among the states are empirically determined under the

the samples have been obtained are unknown. Therefore, the

labeling of unlabeled samples with location information should
be addressed to construct radio maps.
Pedestrian dead reckoning (PDR) using inertial sensors
embedded in wireless devices, such as a three-axis accelerom-
eter, a compass, and a gyroscope, can be used for estimating
location of the users [15]. Microsoft Zee [16], UnLoc [17],
WILL [18], LiFS [19], and others seek to incorporate PDR
techniques for the fingerprints labeling by referring to sensing
data from inertial sensors and to the location of stairs, eleva-
tors, and other features in an indoor area [see Fig. 3(c)]. These
so-called sensor-based methods can further reduce the collec-
tion effort. However, the involvement of additional sensors
Fig. 3. Radio map construction methods. (a) Point-by-point calibration.
(b) Walking survey. (c) Sensor-based labeling. (d) Semisupervised learning.
impedes the contribution of fingerprints from numerous smart-
phones because sensor operation consumes additional power.
Semisupervised learning techniques, such as manifold
structural constraint imposed by walls and doors. The emission learning [20]–[22] and expectation maximization [12], [23],
probabilities, however, are determined later after the construc- can be applied for estimating the unknown locations of sam-
tion of a radio map with a probabilistic representation of ples if a small number of labeled samples are provided as
collected fingerprints. KAILOS tries to automate the modeling location references. The locations of APs or GPS fixes have
process; it automatically builds an indoor model with location often been used for the location references instead of the
partitions, a road network, and a HMM once walls and doors labeled fingerprints [24] [see Fig. 3(d)]. The semisupervised
are manually specified. learning aims to further reduce the manual calibration cost,
and it also contributed to the reduction of the cost to some
extent. However, it still requires some effort to acquire the
C. Radio Map Construction references.
Radio map construction is usually performed on the models The ULM estimates the location labels of crowdsourced fin-
just described. In fact, radio map construction is one of the gerprints collected from numerous smartphones. This method
key features distinguishing the KAILOS from other ordinary is distinguished from the semisupervised learning- and the
indoor positioning systems. It aims to support several kinds sensor-based methods because it does not require any explicit
of radio map construction methods, including a novel unsu- labeling effort or sensing data for reference. The ULM, which
pervised learning-based location-labeling method (ULM) for has been implemented in the KAILOS for the first time, allows
crowdsourced fingerprints collected without location informa- the fingerprints collected without location information to be
tion. The ULM is expected to greatly reduce the time and used for the construction of radio maps.
effort needed to construct radio maps [14]. In this section, we Fig. 4 shows an overview of the method. Here, the tar-
present the existing radio map construction methods and the get area is assumed to have already been modeled with
proposed ULM for the KAILOS. location-states and their topology in an HMM. When a set
The first radio map construction method is point-by-point of unlabeled fingerprint sequences has been collected from
manual calibration (PMC). The primary goal of this method known locations in a building, ULM determines an opti-
is to achieve the highest accuracy without much regard mized placement of the fingerprints in the HMM to build
for the calibration cost. In this method, an indoor area is a radio map. ULM integrates global search and local optimiza-
partitioned into numerous pieces, i.e., locations, and then dedi- tion in a hybrid learning framework. The local optimization
cated surveyors collect fingerprint samples point-by-point [see adopts the strategy of unsupervised HMM training, which
Fig. 3(a)]. Because PMC requires considerable time and effort, estimates the model parameters of an HMM given unlabeled
a walking survey was used instead to reduce the effort required data using expectation-maximization (EM) style algorithms,
to recognize each location [10]. In the walking survey, the sur- such as Baum-Welch and Viterbi training algorithms. ULM
vey paths are planned in advance to guide the surveyors, but uses Viterbi training algorithm for the local optimization,
the collection points are not specified [see Fig. 3(b)]. The fin- because it spontaneously finds the optimal placement of the
gerprints are collected while the surveyors are walking along unlabeled sequences in the HMM during the training [25].
the paths carrying collection devices. EM-style algorithms for HMM training take local search
Although the walking survey can reduce the collection effort approach, and therefore they often get stuck in local
to some extent, it still requires considerable time and effort to optima especially when they have to deal with a complex
construct radio maps for most of buildings all over the world. problem like the location-labeling of fingerprints. To cope with
As a result, crowdsourcing approaches in which fingerprint this problem, a good initial guess of HMM parameters should
samples are collected from numerous users without location be provided as the starting point of the training. The previous
information have been proposed to reduce the cost of con- semisupervised learning methods can make the good initial
structing radio maps [14]. The crowdsourced fingerprint can guess with manually-labeled fingerprints. On the other hand,
be viewed as unlabeled data since the true locations at which in ULM, the global search iteratively improves the initial guess

Fig. 4. ULM to label the location of crowdsourced fingerprint sequences.

and provides the improvements to the local optimization [14]. RSS measurements as deterministic features, whereas prob-
The global search and local optimization algorithms are abilistic algorithms estimate locations considering RSS mea-
integrated into a memetic algorithm (MA), which is an evo- surements as part of a random process [26]. More specifically,
lutionary approach that provides an efficient way to address positioning algorithms that estimate locations by searching
optimization problems through the interaction between global the nearest fingerprints in radio maps for an online mea-
and local optimizations. This interaction requires a significant surement, such as k-nearest neighbors (kNN) and weighted
computational time; the time complexity is (G · P · M · N), kNN (WkNN), belong to the deterministic positioning algo-
where G and P are, respectively, the number of generations rithm category. Euclidean distance, Manhattan distance, and
and the size of population for the MA, M is the number cosine distance have been used for the nearest fingerprint
of locations, and N is the number of unlabeled fingerprints. search [27]. On the other hand, positioning algorithms that
Although the ULM requires a considerable computational cost, estimate locations based on the probability distributions of sig-
it can drastically reduce the manual effort needed to construct nal strengths, such as Bayesian inference and Viterbi tracking
radio maps. algorithm, belong to the probabilistic positioning algorithm
category. The Bayesian inference is a typical example of prob-
abilistic positioning algorithms. It estimate the location of
D. Mapping of Radio Maps and Positioning Algorithms a fingerprint o∗ scanned from a device by finding a location l
Once a radio map is constructed, a positioning system that maximizes the Bayesian equation
equipped with various positioning algorithms can be installed   Pr(o∗ |l)Pr(l)
on the top the radio map to provide a positioning service. Pr l|o∗ = (1)
Installing a positioning system is one of critical steps in Pr(o∗ )
deploying an indoor positioning system in a building. If a GIPS where Pr(l) encodes prior knowledge about where a device
employs multiple types of radio map construction methods may be. The probability Pr(l|o∗ ) is calculated based on
to increase the coverage of the system, the radio maps col- RSS distributions trained in location l, using various dis-
lected in the GIPS also would be diverse in terms of the tribution models, such as a histogram [28], Gaussian dis-
density and the regularity of fingerprints over locations. In tribution, log-normal distribution [29], double-peak Gaussian
that case, the choice of a positioning algorithm appropriate for distribution [30], etc. These various distribution models can
each radio map type is important to achieve high positioning also be used for the emission probability calculation in
accuracy. Viterbi algorithm (VA), which finds a most likely sequence
In this section, we describe the mapping between radio maps of locations given a fingerprint sequence.
and positioning algorithms for the GIPS. We start this with 2) Mapping Radio Maps Into Positioning Algorithms:
a brief introduction to existing positioning algorithms. In general, probabilistic positioning algorithms can achieve
1) Positioning Algorithms: Positioning algorithms can be a good performance if they run on radio maps with a high
classified into two groups: 1) deterministic and 2) probabilis- fingerprint density, but they do not provide usable results
tic. Deterministic algorithms estimate locations by considering if low-density radio maps are used [2]. If less than around

The main feature that determines which positioning algo-

rithm is appropriate for a radio map is the density. Probabilistic
positioning algorithms are known to achieve better accu-
racy than deterministic algorithms because they refer to more
precise signal patterns modeled as RSS distributions [2].
However, considerable fingerprint samples are required to
build a reliable RSS distribution at a location [2], [5]. As
results, probabilistic algorithms, such as histogram, kernel, and
Gaussian methods, can achieve their desired accuracy only
with dense radio map types, such as regular-highly-dense and
regular-dense radio maps. Histogram method is appropriate
for regular-highly-dense radio maps because building a his-
Fig. 5. Mapping of radio map construction methods, radio maps, and togram for an RSS pattern requires usually more than dozens
positioning algorithms.
of fingerprint samples. Kernel and Gaussian methods model
their distributions less precisely than the histogram method,
10 fingerprints have been collected at each location, determin- and therefore can be used for regular-dense radio maps.
istic algorithms would be better choices than the probabilistic On the other hand, if less than around ten fingerprints
algorithms. A single positioning algorithm can hardly be have been collected at each location, there is no other option
expected to achieve a good performance on both low- and but to use deterministic positioning algorithms [5], such as
high-density radio maps. Hence, a GIPS must be equipped kNN or WkNN [31]. Therefore, the deterministic algorithms
with several positioning algorithms and select the most appro- are appropriate for the regular-compact and regular-sparse
priate one depending on the characteristics of the respective radio maps. They are also safe choices for irregular radio
radio map types. maps because, even if a great number of fingerprints have
We classify radio maps into four types according to their been collected through crowdsourcing, all locations cannot be
construction method and the average number of fingerprints guaranteed to have a large enough number of fingerprints.
collected at each location, because these are two main factors
that determine the density and the regularity of fingerprints in
a radio map. The radio map types and their detailed conditions E. Probabilistic Positioning Algorithm for Radio Maps With
are as follows. Crowdsourced Fingerprints
1) Regular-Highly-Dense Radio Map: PMC, n > 20, where In the previous section, the diversity of radio maps was
n is the average number of fingerprint samples collected assumed to be handled by a GIPS with the mapping of radio
at each location. maps and positioning algorithms. In reality, however, most of
2) Regular-Dense Radio Map: PMC, 10 < n = 20. the existing positioning algorithms are not suitable, especially
3) Regular-Compact Radio Map: PMC, n = 10. for the radio maps constructed with crowdsourced fingerprints.
4) Regular-Sparse Radio Map: Walking survey. As a result, the GIPS can hardly be expected to achieve a good
5) Irregular Radio Map: Crowdsourcing. performance on radio maps constructed with crowdsourced fin-
Fig. 5 shows radio maps types constructed by each con- gerprints only by the mapping. In this section, we propose
struction methods and their mapping to positioning algorithms. a new probabilistic positioning algorithm adapted for radio
As shown in the figure, PMC could generate three types of maps constructed with crowdsourced fingerprints.
radio maps: 1) regular-highly-dense; 2) regular-dense; and The proposed positioning algorithm extends VA in the
3) regular-compact radio maps. If more than 20 fingerprints framework of the HMM because the VA is a probabilistic
have been collected at each location by PMC, the constructed positioning algorithm utilizing historical trajectories of users,
radio map is classified as the regular-highly-dense type. If and probabilistic tracking of dynamic movement of users
a radio map is constructed with 11–20 fingerprints at each can be effectively modeled in the HMM [32]. The extended
location, it is classified as the regular-dense type. A regular- VA (EVA) can take advantage of the probabilistic framework
compact radio map is constructed if ten or fewer fingerprints for tracking the dynamic movement of a user—even when
have been used for each location. only a few samples have been collected at each measure-
On the other hand, the walking survey method constructs ment point—without incorporation of inertial sensors. These
radio maps classified as a regular-sparse type. The constructed are the common conditions of fingerprints collected from
radio maps are assumed to be regular because fingerprints are crowdsourcing.
collected along preplanned survey paths. They are also sparse 1) Emission Probability: The modification of the emis-
because typically only one or a few fingerprints are collected sion probability calculation of the HMM is the first extension
at each location during the survey walks. of the EVA. Traditionally, the emission probability is calcu-
Unlike PMC and the walking survey, crowdsourcing lated for individual AP and location, based on a probabilistic
approaches, such as semisupervised learning and ULM, col- fingerprint represented as the histogram, Gaussian distribu-
lect fingerprints from numerous users at arbitrary locations by tion, or lognormal distribution. This strategy requires a large
chance. Therefore, the crowdsourced fingerprints are irregular amount of fingerprint samples at each location in order to fully
over locations, and irregular radio maps are generated. observe the RSS patterns of the location. Here, we propose

a new probabilistic fingerprint design called signal fluctuation The standard deviation of estimation errors, σ is unknown. In
matrix (SFM) to mitigate the need for the large amount of fin- the implementation, from an arbitrary value, σ was adjusted
gerprint samples, because not so many samples are assumed based on the accumulated results of the tracking; the difference
to be available at each location in crowdsourced radio maps. between dt−1,t and its corresponding distance in the track-
The method ignores the differences of RSS distribution pat- ing result was considered as the error of the moving distance
terns for each locations and APs, but considers the probability estimation.
of fluctuating between two RSS values at a same location. The 3) Extension of Viterbi Algorithm: With the extended prob-
universal patterns of the fluctuations are stored in a 2-D matrix ability functions, the standard dynamic programming tech-
called SFM for each building. Because a fluctuation of a cer- nique of VA determines the most probable trajectory of a user
tain pair of RSS values can be observed from any location and by simply replacing emission and transition probabilities with
AP, a reliable SFM can be obtained even if a small number the extended ones. Once the most probable trajectory is found,
of samples are available at each location. SFM can be seen as the end point of the trajectory can be considered as the user
a universal histogram representing RSS patterns in an indoor position at current time t.
environment. While the basic tracking considers only a single best tra-
With the SFM, the probability of observing an online RSS jectory, the best k trajectories are considered by the proposed
i of an AP at a location l is calculated as log-odd probability algorithm. It estimates the position of a user by averaging the
as follows: final locations of the k most probable trajectories. That strat-
  egy was known to be effective in decoding a data sequence
P(i, j)
P(i|l) = log (2) observed through a noisy channel [34].
P(i)P( j)
where j is mean RSS of the AP trained at l, P(i|l) is the F. Testing and Evaluation
observed fluctuation probability of an RSS pair (i, j) stored Testing and evaluation should be performed to measure the
in SFM, and P(i)P( j) is the expected fluctuation probabil- positioning accuracy after deploying a positioning system on
ity of the pair. The emission probability
 P(o|l) of an online the radio maps of a building. Thus a GIPS should be equipped
fingerprint o is simply calculated by i∈O P(i|l). with methods and tools for evaluation and testing. For exam-
2) Dynamic Transition Probability: The second extension ple, it is helpful to visualize the signal distributions of collected
of the algorithm is the calculation of dynamic transition proba- fingerprints before testing and evaluation. The areas in which
bilities. Transition probabilities can be dynamically calculated the collection of fingerprints has been incompletely performed
based on the moving distance of a user at each time using can be easily identified through visualization. This visualiza-
inertial sensors [33]. In order to obtain the moving distance tion is especially important in the GIPS because the collection
without the incorporation of inertial sensors, we exploit the activity is usually performed by volunteers who cannot easily
fact that the change of user positions is reflected in the change communicate with the developers or operators of the GIPS.
of Wi-Fi fingerprints. The moving distance indicated by the KAILOS visualizes the signal characteristics of collected
signal change can be estimated by the distance between the fingerprints at location with a heat map as shown in Fig. 2,
positions of two successive online fingerprints. step 5. When an area’s set of fingerprints is incomplete,
In the distance estimation, we consider the topology of the collection of fingerprints should be performed again at
routes induced by inner structures including doors, walls and the area.
other barriers in an indoor area. We also consider the k most Once the test results are obtained, any faults and errors
probable locations of a fingerprint for a more reliable estima- should be examined and fixed if possible. For example, floor
tion. Let kLt−1 be the set of the k most probable locations for detection errors are often detected during testing. A GIPS can
an online fingerprint ot−1 given at time t − 1, and kLt be that mitigate the floor errors to some extent by using the sensing
for the next fingerprint ot . and kLt be that for the next finger- data from a pressure sensor. Here, we do not delve into the
print ot . The moving distance dt−1,t of the two fingerprints is details because of space limitations.
then calculated as the average distance between the pairs of
locations in the two sets
dt−1,t = TD(u, v) (3) Most of the aforementioned methods, tools, and algo-
|kLt−1 | · |kLt | rithms have been integrated into an experimental GIPS
u∈kLt−1 v∈kLt
named KAILOS [35]. KAILOS supports the entire deploy-
where TD(u, v) returns the topological distance between two ment process of an indoor positioning system in a building.
locations u and v. KAILOS consists of three parts: 1) KAI-Map; 2) KAI-Pos;
Given a distance estimate dt−1,t at time t, a transition prob- and 3) KAI-Navi. Kai-Map is a set of tools and databases
ability P(lj |li ) is extended to P(lj |li , dt−1,t ). This probability for indoor and radio maps. KAI-Pos, installed on top of
can be computed using PDF under Gaussian assumption if the KAI-Map, is an indoor positioning engine equipped with
standard deviation of estimation errors, σ is given, as follows: several positioning algorithms and techniques to achieve
good positioning accuracy. It provides positioning services
  1 (TD(li ,lj )−dt−1,t )
for the buildings whose indoor and radio maps have been
P lj |li , dt−1,t = √ e 2σ 2 . (4)
σ 2π contributed to KAI-Map. KAI-Navi is an indoor/outdoor

finding process of indoor navigation. An indoor area can addi-

tionally be modeled with location-partitions or a HMM in
KAILOS, if later steps require the models. The modeling of
location-partitions is used to support PMC for planning the
collection points of radio map construction step. If a system
designer is willing to use ULM for radio map construction
or EVA for positioning algorithm, an indoor area should be
modeled as an HMM. KAILOS is equipped with tools to sup-
port location-partitioning and HMM-modeling; the models are
automatically constructed once the walls and the doors are
specified in an indoor map.
2) KAI-Radio Map: KAI-Radio Map is equipped with
methods and tools to support the PMC, walking survey, and
unsupervised-learning based radio map construction methods.
To support the PMC, KAILOS provides tools to plan collec-
Fig. 6. Architecture of KAILOS. tion points on indoor maps and collect Wi-Fi fingerprints on
the planned points. The surveyors are encouraged to collect
10–20 fingerprints on the marked collection points. The match
of the marked collection points and the real collection points
should be confirmed by the collectors themselves during the
collection activity.
KAILOS also supports the walking survey by providing
tools to plan survey lines, collect fingerprints, and calculate
the locations of fingerprints collected along the lines. In the
waking survey, the survey lines should be planned in advance
without the specification of collection points. Only the start
and end points of survey lines are specified to guide the
KAILOS also provides tools for the proposed unsupervised
learning-based method. The fingerprints are collected by users
who just walk around all the locations of the floor carrying the
smartphones after installing the collection tool. Then KAILOS
labels the locations of collected fingerprints. The effort of col-
Fig. 7. Registration of an indoor map and designing survey lines and road lectors for radio map construction can be drastically reduced
networks. by the unsupervised learning-based method.
3) KAI-Pos: KAI-Pos is an indoor positioning engine
equipped with several positioning algorithms, namely,
integrated navigation system. It directs users to the destina- kNN [31], Gaussian distribution-based probabilistic
tions in both indoor and outdoor environments. The following method [29], and EVA, from which it selects an appro-
describes the details of the KAILOS components. Fig. 6 shows priate one for the underlying radio map provided from
the architecture of KAILOS. KAI-Map. It also incorporates various techniques for more
accurate positioning. KAI-Pos adopts an adaptive hybrid filter
A. KAI-Map to utilize the dynamics of user movements [11], and a map
1) KAI-Indoor Map: In Section III, indoor maps were matching technique to utilize the road network model. The
assumed to be given. In reality, however, most of the indoor effect of the filters was apparent when they were applied for
maps of buildings are still unavailable. To address this developing indoor positioning systems at the COEX mall, in
problem, KAILOS provides tools and interfaces for the crowd- 2010 [10] and 2014 [35].
sourcing of indoor maps. Fig. 7 shows the schematic of the Though Wi-Fi signals have been mainly used, KAI-Pos
contribution process. As shown in the figure, building registra- incorporates other wireless signals and sensing data from var-
tion is the first step of the contribution process. The floor map ious sensors for more accurate positioning. Bluetooth signals
registration step follows after the registration of a building. are often used to cover areas in which Wi-Fi signals are not
POIs are registered and specified on the floor map for users available or only weak signals are available. A PDR using
to find or search their destinations. KAILOS supports volun- smartphone sensors, such as a three-axis accelerometer and
teers by providing interfaces to register POIs for the registered a gyroscope, has been incorporated to compensate for the
indoor maps. gap incurred by the time interval of consecutive scans [36].
KAILOS also provides tools to model indoor areas with The time interval of consecutive Wi-Fi scans is approximately
road networks, location partitions, and HMMs. Drawing a road 1–4 s. The floor detection errors can also be mitigated with
network on an indoor map is essential to support the path the incorporation of a barometer sensor [37]. Fig. 8 shows the

Fig. 8. Hybrid architecture of KAILOS positioning system.

architecture of KAI-Pos. In the near future, it will incorporate

the additional signals and sensors in a very tightly coupled
manner using a so-called sensor-fusion technique [36].
4) KAI-Navi: KAI-Navi is an indoor/outdoor integrated
navigation system. It directs users in both indoor and outdoor
environments. KAI-Pos operates indoors, and GPS outdoors,
and the estimated current location is displayed on KAI-Indoor
Map and Google Maps, respectively. Any outdoor navigation
system can be integrated with KAI-Navi if it can provide
open APIs to be connected to. Currently, the SK Telecom
T-map outdoor navigation system, which is the most pop-
ular outdoor navigation system in Korea, is connected with
KAI-Navi. The outdoor paths have been connected to indoor
paths through special points designated as entrances of build-
Fig. 9. Accuracy evaluation of radio map construction methods. Accuracy
ings. KAI-Navi, named Campus Atlas in Google Play, was achieved (a) on the seventh floor, N1 building, KAIST and (b) in N5 building,
deployed on KAIST campus, accommodating around 40 four- KAIST.
to five-story buildings.

V. E VALUATION AND E XAMPLES survey outperformed the PMC in accuracy when the learning
data were collected one or more times at every 1 m. This trend
A. Performance Evaluation of Radio Map
continues with the increment of the amount of learning data.
Construction Methods
This is because the distance between measurement points is
Experiments were conducted to evaluate the performance of reduced with the increase of learning data point. To collect
the radio map construction methods in the N5 building, and 2000 fingerprints on the seventh floor, N1 building, the walk-
on the seventh floor, N1 building, KAIST. Four kinds of radio ing survey must collect fingerprints at every 4 cm, whereas
maps were constructed at the experiment buildings by using the PMC was assumed to collect fingerprints at every 3 m
the PMC, walking survey, semisupervised learning, and unsu- just by varying the number of fingerprints collected at each
pervised learning methods. A Samsung Galaxy S3 was used measurement point.
to collect fingerprints with a sampling rate of 1 Hz. A simple Similar results were obtained in the N5 building. When
kNN method (k = 3) [31] was used for the localization test 800 fingerprints were used, the walking survey achieved an
in the evaluation. All programs for the evaluation were imple- accuracy of 2 m; PMC, 2.5 m; semisupervised learning, 5.5;
mented in Java and run on a 3.40-GHz Intel Core i7 CPU with and unsupervised learning, 10 m. When 4400 fingerprints were
8GB of memory. used, the walking survey achieved an accuracy of 1.5 m; PMC,
Approximately 2000 fingerprints were collected on the sev- 2.1 m; semisupervised learning, 2.9 m; and unsupervised
enth floor, N1 building, and approximately 4400 fingerprints learning, 4.3 m.
in the N5 building for each method. Fig. 9 shows the eval- Although the semisupervised and unsupervised learning
uation results. When 400 fingerprints were collected for the methods achieved accuracies slightly worse than the manual
learnings, the walking survey achieved an accuracy of 1.7 m; calibrations, the results were promising because they were
PMC, 2.3 m; semisupervised learning, 4.5 m; and unsuper- within the accuracy range that can be used by practical
vised learning, 5.3 m. The accuracy gradually improved and positioning systems.
then the improvement was saturated with the increase in the
amount of learning data for all methods. The radio map types
also converted from a sparse, to a dense, and then to a highly B. Performance Evaluation of Proposed Probabilistic
dense radio map with the increment in the number of finger- Tracking Algorithm
prints. When 2000 fingerprints were used, the walking survey The evaluation of EVA was conducted on the seventh floor,
achieved an accuracy of 1.2 m; PMC, 1.7 m; semisupervised N1, KAIST. As three extensions were proposed, the exten-
learning, 3.2 m; and unsupervised learning, 3.7 m. The walking sions were applied to the basic VA in stages. First, SFM-based


ranged from 8% to 14% against EVA, and from 21% to 29%

against VA.
The cost of training to label locations of unlabeled finger-
prints is a major hurdle in building a crowdsourcing-based
indoor positioning system. It is closely related to the amount of
data required for the training. Because the proposed position-
ing algorithm can achieve high positioning accuracy even if
only a few training samples are available at a location, it can be
used for practical crowdsourcing-based positioning systems to
reduce the cost of constructing radio maps with crowdsourced

C. Examples of Using KAILOS

Fig. 10. Change of positioning accuracies with the increment of the number Since the release of KAILOS in the middle of 2014, the
of training fingerprint samples at each measure point. indoor positioning systems for subway stations, indoor shop-
ping malls, and buildings on university campuses have been
developed on KAILOS. Table I is the summary of the areas,
buildings, and stores for which KAILOS has been used.
emission probabilities, dynamic transition probabilities, and The indoor positioning and navigation systems of COEX and
their combination were applied to VA, separately; we denote KAIST were released integrated with myCoex 3.0 and Campus
them by EVA (SFM), EVA (dynamic transition), and EVA, Atlas apps in the Google Play store to direct pedestrians to
respectively. Then, the three best results of EVA were used to their destinations. The indoor positioning systems for shop-
evaluate the effect of considering multiple best trajectories on ping malls and game rooms on KAILOS were developed to
positioning accuracy; this configuration is denoted by 3-EVA. issue coupons or game items for the promotion of particu-
Fig. 10 plots the average error distances of the algorithms lar stores, events, and games. The coupons or game items are
with the increment of fingerprint samples at a location. As notified to users when they are detected at particular areas.
shown in the figure, all of the extensions and their combina- In addition, a company started registering indoor maps and
tions were revealed to be effective for accurate positioning. constructing radio maps of subway stations on KAILOS to
EVA (SFM) was more effective than VA, especially when provide an indoor positioning service at subway stations in
using a few training samples. It provided 15% improved posi- Seoul. The indoor and radio maps of five subway stations were
tioning accuracy against VA when the number of samples was collected along with POIs. The collection activity should be
two at a location, whereas the improvement of using 20 sam- conducted at as many as 600 subway stations for the com-
ples was 10%. Since an SFM was constructed using plenty of plete installation of the subway indoor positioning system in
samples from every locations, EVA (SFM) was less sensitive Seoul. The indoor positioning systems of sea vessels were also
to the lack of samples. developed on KAILOS for the safety management of crew
The improvement made by dynamic transition probabilities members. The working locations of crew members are dis-
was also significant as shown by EVA (dynamic transition) played on a monitoring panel in an upper deck control room,
in Fig. 10. The strategy of considering multiple trajectories and when someone is working or staying in dangerous working
was also revealed to be effective. The improvements of 3-EVA areas, an alarm is activated on the panel to watch the situation.

Fig. 11. Bird’s eye view on (a) KAIST Campus, Daejeon, and (b) COEX, Seoul.

Among the examples, we introduce the details of two The path finding routine of KAI-Navi was tested to confirm
examples: 1) KAIST indoor/outdoor integrated campus nav- if it correctly finds the paths from any source to destinations
igation system deployed at KAIST in 2015 and 2) COEX after specifying paths on floor maps. KAILOS provides a tool
indoor positioning and navigation system deployed at the to visualize the paths specified for testing. Actually the tests
COEX mall in 2014. In both cases, a walking survey was were exhaustively performed using a tool of KAI-Navi, and
used for the collection of fingerprints using the tools pro- some errors were detected by the tests. Most of the errors
vided by KAILOS. The KAIST campus accommodates around were revealed to be originated from the mistakes of path spec-
40 four-, five-, and ten-story buildings in an area of 1 km2 ification. These problems can be easily addressed by adding
[see Fig. 11(a)]. The fingerprints were collected from these missing paths and modifying already specified paths.
buildings for the construction the positioning system, mainly The positioning accuracies of KAI-Pos were evaluated with
from public spaces, such as corridors, stairways, lobbies, and the tests data that were collected after the construction of radio
classrooms. The outdoor areas near entrances to each building maps. The average error distances of most of the buildings
were included for the collection activity to support seamless were around 2–5 m, which were relatively more accurate than
switching between the indoor Wi-Fi and the outdoor GPS the other cases listed in Table I. This is because most of the
positioning systems. KAIST campus buildings accommodate research rooms that
Before the fingerprint collection activity, user-friendly floor are filled with abundant Wi-Fi signals. The average error dis-
maps were drawn by a designer for the buildings based on tances of some buildings such as gymnasiums were over 10 m
CAD maps obtained from the campus management office. The because they were either big open space or were not filled with
floor maps were then registered to KAILOS via KAI-Indoor abundant Wi-Fi signals.
Map, and survey lines were specified along with paths using The COEX area comprises Asia’s largest underground shop-
the path drawing tool of KAI-Radio Map. The survey lines ping mall area, three five-star hotels, one 55-story and one
were then downloaded along with the maps into collecting 41-story premier office tower, a big department store, a sub-
devices for the collection activity. The total length of the sur- way station, a city airport terminal, and other buildings
vey lines were approximately 18 km, and it took five days for [see Fig. 11(b)]. The COEX indoor positioning and naviga-
five collectors to collect fingerprints along the survey lines. tion system is a good example of the advantage of using
Because the fingerprint collection was sparse, EVA was cho- KAILOS. Actually, the first version of the COEX indoor posi-
sen for the positioning algorithm of the system. The PoIs, such tioning and navigation system was deployed in 2010 without
as offices, research rooms, and classrooms are also registered the utilization of KAILOS [10]. At that time, PMC was used
into floor maps via KAI-Indoor Map for navigation services. to collect 20 fingerprints at each location, and the collection
The paths for the navigation service were specified for out- activity took two weeks for 15 collectors. After the deploy-
door campus areas as well as indoor areas. Finally, a graph ment of the first version, the PMC was repeated once a year
with around 700 nodes was created for the paths. Fig. 11(a) is for the maintenance of the system. Note that Wi-Fi fingerprints
the sketch of the created graph. are often outdated due to changes in WLAN environments

and therefore should be updated for maintaining positioning measurements usually form a cluster at each labeled location,
accuracy. In fact, we found that usually 30%–40% of APs whereas incorrectly labeled inputs will not be included in the
was removed, and 30%–50% was newly installed every year cluster, and they usually remain as outliers.
in COEX. Unlike the explicit collection, the reliability problem is
In contrast to the previous deployment, the version deployed not a main issue for the implicit collection because location
in 2014 was constructed on KAILOS. The KAILOS walking information is not manually labeled by participants. Instead,
survey tool was used for the collection of fingerprints, and it the implicit collection usually suffers from high computa-
took just a week with five collectors. Note that only one or tional cost and lack of data problems. The implicit collection
two fingerprints are usually collected at each location by the collects signal measurements without location information
walking survey, whereas 20 fingerprints were collected by the during the normal operation of wireless devices. Therefore,
PMC for the previous deployment. Although much fewer fin- the problem of assigning correct locations to crowdsourced
gerprints were used in 2014 deployment, no degradation was fingerprints should be addressed. A complex methodology,
observed in the positioning accuracies due to the advanced such as semisupervised learning or unsupervised learning, is
positioning algorithm, EVA of KAILOS. On the B1 floor of required to address this problem. These methodologies usually
the COEX (304 × 652 m in size), an accuracy of approxi- require a significant computational cost for their optimiza-
mately 3–8 m was achieved by the walking survey, which was tion task [14], [21]. Moreover, they are more sensitive to the
a similar level to the results achieved by the PMC in 2010 [10]. lack of data than a manual labeling method as illustrated in
The man-month (MM) estimation to deploy an indoor posi- Fig. 9. As the studies on the implicit collections have not
tioning system in a building could be reduced to a tenth been matured yet, more in-depth studies should be conducted
by using KAILOS. In 2010, approximately 20 MM were to address computational cost and lack of data issues.
required for the development of the COEX indoor positioning Meanwhile, device heterogeneity has long been an issue
and navigation system. In contrast, when we used KAILOS in Wi-Fi fingerprinting. The differences in Wi-Fi chipsets
for the deployment in 2014, only two MM were required. and antenna designs cause different signal measurements even
Fingerprint collection, indoor map drawing, POI registration, at the same location, resulting in considerable positioning
indoor area modeling, and survey planning were included errors. The problem could be more critical in crowdsourced
in the MM estimations. The COEX examples confirmed the fingerprints because diverse devices were to be involved in
benefits of using KAILOS for keeping positioning accuracy crowdsourcing [3]. To mitigate this problem, several studies
and reducing the time and effort needed to deploy indoor have used the differences between RSS values as a loca-
positioning systems. tion fingerprint instead of the value itself [39]–[41]. Another
typical solution for the problem is to use a linear transfor-
mation to calibrate the RSS variations among devices [42].
VI. D ISCUSSION KAILOS adopted this strategy; pre-examined transforma-
It seems that there is no other option but crowdsourcing tion functions for nine popular smartphone models were
to realize a GIPS for the present because a GIPS should used for the crowdsourcing of fingerprints and positioning
cover every building being filled with Wi-Fi signals all over services.
the world. This paper raised several technical issues for The maintenance and update of radio maps are nagging
implementing a GIPS via crowdsourcing, and then intro- issues in Wi-Fi fingerprint-based positioning. Radio maps are
duced an experimental GIPS system, KAILOS. There are outdated over time due to the changes of WLAN environ-
still many other issues to be further discussed. In this sec- ments, such as addition, removal, and relocation of APs, as
tion, we discuss other research topics for the construction of we have reported with the COEX case in Section V-C. To
a crowdsourcing-based GIPS. address this problem, several researches have been conducted
Typically, crowdsourcing-based systems have to deal with focusing on the update of radio maps in accordance with the
problems related to the quantity and quality of collected data. changes of WLAN environments. Crowdsourcing paradigm
In case of a GIPS, somewhat different problems are raised could be effectively used for the update of radio maps because
depending on the way of collecting data through crowd- fingerprints are supposed to be continuously collected from
sourcing. In fact, the collection of data for the construction the ever changing environments. Semisupervised learning-
of a GIPS could be performed either explicitly or implic- or unsupervised learning-based methods can simply repeat
itly. Explicit collection requires explicit efforts of users for their learning tasks for newly-crowdsourced data. The semisu-
location-labeling or indoor map uploading, which are not pervised learning-based methods can take a more efficient
required for implicit collection. strategy; if a previously learned radio map is used as the initial
One of main issues to be addressed for the explicit collec- point of the new learning for the radio map update, the need
tion is the reliability of collected data. For example, PMC or for a set of new labeled data could be obviated. Unsupervised
a walking survey can be used for an explicit collection, but learning-based method also can be modified to enhance the
the participants may assign incorrect location information for efficiency of radio map updates by using incremental learning
signal measurements by mistake. To reduce the influence of paradigm [40]. In KAILOS, we extended the proposed unsu-
errors included in the contributions, a clustering-based filtering pervised learning algorithm, ULM, adopting an incremental
method can be used for the checking of location labeling of learning method for regular updates of previously constructed
the data collected from numerous users [38]. The correct RSS radio maps.

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A calibration-free solution for handling differences in signal strength,” with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and
in Proc. IEEE PerCom, Hong Kong, Mar. 2008, pp. 110–116. Technology, Daejeon, South Korea.
[41] A. M. Hossain, Y. Jin, W. S. Soh, and H. N. Van, “SSD: A robust His research interests include computer networks,
RF location fingerprint addressing mobile devices’ heterogeneity,” IEEE indoor positioning, machine learning, and their
Trans. Mobile Comput., vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 65–77, Jan. 2013. applications to pervasive computing.
[42] A. Haeberlen et al., “Practical robust localization over large-scale
802.11 wireless networks,” in Proc. MOBICOM, Philadelphia, PA, USA,
Sep./Oct. 2004, pp. 70–84.
[43] S.-U. Guan and F. Zhu, “An incremental approach to genetic-algorithms-
based classification,” IEEE Trans. Syst., Man, Cybern. B, Cybern.,
vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 227–239, Apr. 2005.

Suk-Hoon Jung received the Ph.D. degree in Dongsoo Han (M’13) received the Ph.D. degree in
information and communications engineering from information science from Kyoto University, Kyoto,
the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Japan.
Technology (KAIST), Daejeon, South Korea. He is a Professor of Computer Science with
He is a Researcher of Computer Science with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and
KAIST. His current research interests include net- Technology, Daejeon, South Korea. His cur-
work analytics, machine learning, and their applica- rent research interests include indoor positioning,
tions to pervasive computing. pervasive computing, and location-based mobile