WiFi Positioning Databases

WiFi Positioning Databases

WiFi positioning databases store the BSSID, GPS coordinates and RSSI value. The information is collected by wardriving efforts and/or crowd sourced using mobile phones such as the iPhone and Android phones. Below are several companies that maintain WiFi positioning databases also known as BSSID databases and WiFi triangulation/trilateration databases.

skyhook-wirelessSkyhook Wireless – “The first location technologies, GPS and cell tower triangulation, were inadequate – leaving frustrated mobile consumers with slow and inaccurate positioning information. In response, Skyhook developed the Wi-Fi Positioning System (WPS). Taking advantage of the hundreds of millions of Wi-Fi access points throughout populated areas, WPS consistently provides accurate location information indoors and in urban areas.”

navizonNavizon – “Navizon relies on a global community of more than 1 million registered users from all over world to build its database. Thanks to its innovative technical features and incentive programs such as the rewards and referral programs, Navizon has seen a truly viral growth over the past few years, growing from 50,000 users to more than a million in approximately one year. In addition to covering all the wireless technologies (Wi-Fi, GSM, CDMA and 3G towers), Navizon’s database is truly dynamic and gets updated every day with a constant flow of more than 500,000 data points every day.”

Google – “The data which we collect is used to improve Google’s location based services, as well as services provided by the Google Geo Location API. For example, users of Google Maps for Mobile can turn on “My Location” to identify their approximate location based on cell towers and WiFi access points which are visible to their device. Similarly, users of sites like Twitter can use location based services to add a geo location to give greater context to their messages.”

fraunhofer-iisFraunhofer IIS – “Over the past few years, the satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS) has established itself as the leading
positioning technology. However, despite recent improvements to its receiver technology, GPS is inherently not suited to indoor environments, and since a large part of public life takes place in inner cities and enclosed spaces such as shopping malls, office buildings and railroad or subway stations, those are the very places where location-based services are most important. Indoor positioning capability is also crucial to professional applications, for example in warehouses or museums. To address this need, Fraunhofer IIS has developed a position determination solution that uses existing wireless networks. awilocâ„¢ Fraunhofer IIS’s self-contained Wireless LAN Positioning Technology for Cities and Buildings.”

placeenginePlaceEngine – PlaceEngine is a Japan focused “service that makes it possible for users to easily estimate current location by utilizing Wi-Fi devices, so that they can find out more about their surroundings and gain access to local information. Any device equipped with Wi-Fi can easily estimate its location without utilizing GPS. PlaceEngine uses Wi-Fi information sent from Wi-Fi access points, enabling a device to determine its location even indoors or underground, where it might normally not be possible with GPS.”

appleApple – “To provide the high quality products and services that its customers demand, Apple must have access to comprehensive location-based information. For devices running iPhone OS versions 1.1.3 to 3.1, Apple relied on (and still relies on) databases maintained by Google and Skyhook Wireless (“Skyhook”) to provide location-based services. Beginning with the iPhone OS version 3.2 released in April 2010, Apple relies on its own databases to provide location-based services and for diagnostic purposes. These databases must be updated continuously to account for, among other things, the ever-changing physical landscape, more innovative uses of mobile technology, and the increasing number of Apple’s customers. Apple has always taken great care to protect the privacy of its customers.” [source]

simplegeoSimpleGeo – I think SimpleGeo is an aggregator of several location services. “We originally began as a mobile gaming startup. We quickly discovered that the location services and infrastructure needed to support our ideas didn’t exist, so we began building it all ourselves. We found what we were doing so exciting and challenging that we decided to do it full-time – and thus, SimpleGeo was born.”

Please contact me @WLANBook if you know of other WiFi positioning databases.

WiFi Positioning Databases in Action

OUI lookup tool provides a way to look up OUIs, MAC address prefixes, and full MAC addresses. If a full MAC address is searched an option to geolocate the BSSID is provided.