Clustering Wi-Fi fingerprints for indoor–outdoor detection

  • Guy Shtar
  • Bracha Shapira
  • Lior Rokach


This paper presents a method for continuous indoor–outdoor environment detection on mobile devices based solely on Wi-Fi fingerprints. Detection of indoor–outdoor switching is an important part of identifying a user’s context, and it provides important information for upper layer context aware mobile applications such as recommender systems, navigation tools, etc. Moreover, future indoor positioning systems are likely to use Wi-Fi fingerprints, and therefore Wi-Fi receivers will be on most of the time. In contrast to existing research, we believe that these fingerprints should be leveraged, and they serve as the basis of the proposed method. Using various machine learning algorithms, we train a supervised classifier based on features extracted from the raw fingerprints, clusters, and cluster transition graph. The contribution of each of the features to the method is assessed. Our method assumes no prior knowledge of the environment, and a training set consisting of the data collected for just a few hours on a single device is sufficient in order to provide indoor–outdoor classification, even in an unknown location or when using new devices. We evaluate our method in an experiment involving 12 participants during their daily routine, with a total of 828 h’ worth of data collected by the participants. We report a predictive performance of the AUC (area under the curve) of 0.94 using the gradient boosting machine ensemble learning method. We show that our method can be used for other context detection tasks such as learning and recognizing a given building or room.


Indoor positioning Indoor localization Mobile computing Context Clustering algorithms 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Software and Information System EngineeringBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeer-ShevaIsrael

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