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Wireless Sensor Networks for Pilgrims Tracking

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4 Author(s)
Mohamed Mohandes ; Dept of EE, King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia ; Mohamed Haleem ; Mohamed Deriche ; Kaviarasu Balakrishnan

Every year, and for five days, about three million pilgrims gather in the small city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia, to perform the rituals of Hajj (Pilgrimage). Tracking the movement of such a large number of people is crucial to the pilgrims themselves and the authorities managing the whole event. This letter reports a real-time pilgrim tracking system that has been designed and implemented. The system relies on a dedicated delay-tolerant wireless sensor network (WSN). This WSN is interfaced to the Internet through gateway(s) available from an internet service provider (ISP). Energy efficiency, robustness, and reliability are key factors in the design of the system. Each pilgrim is given a mobile sensor unit which includes a GPS chip, a microcontroller, and antennas. A network of fixed units is installed in the Holy area for receiving and forwarding data. Periodically, each mobile unit sends its user identification (UID), latitude, longitude, and a time stamp. A central server maps the latitude and longitude information on a geographical information system (GIS). The developed system can be used to track a specific or a group of pilgrims. The developed system was tested during the last two pilgrim seasons. The pilot system was able to successfully track all pilgrims who participated in the experiment.

Published in:

IEEE Embedded Systems Letters  (Volume:4 ,  Issue: 4 )