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GPS-less low-cost outdoor localization for very small devices

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3 Author(s)
Bulusu, N. ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., California Univ., Los Angeles, CA, USA ; Heidemann, J. ; Estrin, D.

Instrumenting the physical world through large networks of wireless sensor nodes, particularly for applications like environmental monitoring of water and soil, requires that these nodes be very small, lightweight, untethered, and unobtrusive. The problem of localization, that is, determining where a given node is physically located in a network, is a challenging one, and yet extremely crucial for many of these applications. Practical considerations such as the small size, form factor, cost and power constraints of nodes preclude the reliance on GPS of all nodes in these networks. We review localization techniques and evaluate the effectiveness of a very simple connectivity metric method for localization in outdoor environments that makes use of the inherent RF communications capabilities of these devices. A fixed number of reference points in the network with overlapping regions of coverage transmit periodic beacon signals. Nodes use a simple connectivity metric, which is more robust to environmental vagaries, to infer proximity to a given subset of these reference points. Nodes localize themselves to the centroid of their proximate reference points. The accuracy of localization is then dependent on the separation distance between two-adjacent reference points and the transmission range of these reference points. Initial experimental results show that the accuracy for 90 percent of our data points is within one-third of the separation distance. However, future work is needed to extend the technique to more cluttered environments

Published in:

Personal Communications, IEEE  (Volume:7 ,  Issue: 5 )