Where am I? Using Mobile Sensor Data to Predict a User’s Semantic Place with a Random Forest Algorithm

  • Elisabeth Lex
  • Oliver Pimas
  • Jörg Simon
  • Viktoria Pammer-Schindler
Part of the Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering book series (LNICST, volume 120)


We use mobile sensor data to predict a mobile phone user’s semantic place, e.g. at home, at work, in a restaurant etc. Such information can be used to feed context-aware systems, that adapt for instance mobile phone settings like energy saving, connection to Internet, volume of ringtones etc. We consider the task of semantic place prediction as classification problem. In this paper we exploit five feature groups: (i) daily patterns, (ii) weekly patterns, (iii) WLAN information, (iv) battery charging state and (v) accelerometer data. We compare the performance of a Random Forest algorithm and two Support Vector Machines, one with an RBF kernel and one with a Pearson VII function based kernel, on a labelled dataset, and analyse the separate performances of the feature groups as well as promising combinations of feature groups. The winning combination of feature groups achieves an accuracy of 0.871 using a Random Forest algorithm on daily patterns and accelerometer data.

A detailed analysis reveals that daily patterns are the most discriminative feature group for the given semantic place labels. Combining daily patterns with WLAN information, battery charging state or accelerometer data further improves the performance. The classifiers using these selected combinations perform better than the classifiers using all feature groups. This is especially encouraging for mobile computing, as fewer features mean that less computational power is required for classification.


Support Vector Machine Feature Group Accelerometer Data Daily Pattern Semantic Place 
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

© ICST Institute for Computer Science, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elisabeth Lex
    • 1
  • Oliver Pimas
    • 1
  • Jörg Simon
    • 1
  • Viktoria Pammer-Schindler
    • 1
  1. 1.Know-CenterGrazAustria

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