Virtual Compass: Relative Positioning to Sense Mobile Social Interactions

  • Nilanjan Banerjee
  • Sharad Agarwal
  • Paramvir Bahl
  • Ranveer Chandra
  • Alec Wolman
  • Mark Corner
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6030)


There are endless possibilities for the next generation of mobile social applications that automatically determine your social context. A key element of such applications is ubiquitous and precise sensing of the people you interact with. Existing techniques that rely on deployed infrastructure to determine proximity are limited in availability and accuracy. Virtual Compass is a peer-based relative positioning system that relies solely on the hardware and operating system support available on commodity mobile handhelds. It uses multiple radios to detect nearby mobile devices and places them in a two-dimensional plane. It uses adaptive scanning and out-of-band coordination to explore trade-offs between energy consumption and the latency in detecting movement. We have implemented Virtual Compass on mobile phones and laptops, and we evaluate it using a sample application that senses social interactions between Facebook friends.


Mobile Phone Mobile Device Cloud Service Receive Signal Strength Indication Neighbor Graph 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nilanjan Banerjee
    • 1
  • Sharad Agarwal
    • 2
  • Paramvir Bahl
    • 2
  • Ranveer Chandra
    • 2
  • Alec Wolman
    • 2
  • Mark Corner
    • 3
  1. 1.University of Arkansas Fayetteville 
  2. 2.Microsoft Research Redmond 
  3. 3.University of Massachusetts Amherst 

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