Smartphone-Based Detection of Location Changes Using WiFi Data

  • Anja ExlerEmail author
  • Matthias Urschel
  • Andrea Schankin
  • Michael Beigl
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering book series (LNICST, volume 192)


Context information, in particular location changes as indicator for motoric activity, are indicators for state changes of patients suffering from affective disorders. Traditionally, such information is assessed via self-report questionnaires. However, this approach is obtrusive and requires direct involvement of the patient. Related work already started to rely on unobtrusively gathered smartphone data. Despite its ubiquitousness, WiFi data was barely considered yet. Due to the increasing availability of public hot spots we want to focus on this data source. We investigate the usefulness of WiFi data in two use cases: detect location changes and estimate the number of nearby persons. In a two-week study we captured MAC addresses, WiFi SSIDs and timestamps to identify current location and location changes of ten subjects in a five minute interval. We achieved a recall of 98% for location changes which proves the usability of WiFi data for this purpose. We confirm a basic feasibility of using WiFi data for unobtrusive, opportune and energy-efficient detection of location changes.


Mobile sensing WiFi Location changes 


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Copyright information

© ICST Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anja Exler
    • 1
    Email author
  • Matthias Urschel
    • 1
  • Andrea Schankin
    • 1
  • Michael Beigl
    • 1
  1. 1.Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)TECOKarlsruheGermany

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