Practical Metropolitan-Scale Positioning for GSM Phones
This paper examines the positioning accuracy of a GSM beacon-based location system in a metropolitan environment. We explore five factors effecting positioning accuracy: location algorithm choice, scan set size, simultaneous use of cells from different providers, training and testing on different devices, and calibration data density. We collected a 208-hour, 4350Km driving trace of three different GSM networks covering the Seattle metropolitan area. We show a median error of 94m in downtown and 196m in residential areas using a single GSM network and the best algorithm for each area. Estimating location using multiple providers’ cells reduces median error to 65-134 meters and 95% error to 163m in the downtown area, which meets the accuracy requirements for E911. We also show that a small 60-hour calibration drive is sufficient for enabling a metropolitan area similar to Seattle.
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