Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Kaveh Pahlavan, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Andrew Clark, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Emmanuel O. Agu, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Allen H. Levesque, Committee Member




Recently, indoor localization becomes a hot topic no matter in industry or academic field. Smart phones are good candidates for localization since they are carrying various sensors such as GPS, Wi-Fi, accelerometer, barometer and etc, which can be used to estimate the current location. But there are still many challenges for 3D indoor geolocation using smart phones, among which the map selection and 3D performance evaluation problems are the most common and crucial. In the indoor environment, the popular outdoor Google maps cannot be utilized since we need maps showing the layout of every individual floor. Also, layout of different floors differ from one another. Therefore, algorithms are required to detect whether we are inside or outside a building and determine on which floor we are located so that an appropriate map can be selected accordingly. For Wi-Fi based indoor localization, the performance of location estimation is closely related to the algorithms and deployment that we are using. It is difficult to find out a general approach that can be used to evaluate any localization system. On one hand, since the RF signal will suffer extra loss when traveling through the ceilings between floors, its propagation property will be different from the empirical ones and consequently we should design a new propagation model for 3D scenarios. On the other hand, properties of sensors are unique so that corresponding models are required before we analyze the localization scheme. In-depth investigation on the possible hybrid are also needed in case more than one sensor is operated in the localization system. In this thesis, we firstly designed two algorithms to use GPS signal for detecting whether the smart device is operating inside or outside a building, which is called outdoor-indoor transition detection. We also design another algorithm to use barometer data for determining on which floor are we located, which is considered as a multi-floor transition detection. With three scenarios designed inside the Akwater Kent Laboratory building (AK building) at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), we collected raw data from an Android phone with a version of 4.3 and conducted experimental analysis based on that. An efficient way to quantitatively evaluate the 3D localization systems is using Cramer-Rao Lower Bound (CRLB), which is considered as the lower bound of the estimated error for any localization system. The characteristics of Wi-Fi and barometer signals are explored and proper models are introduced as a foundation. Then we extended the 2D CRLB into a 3D format so that it can fit the our 3D scenarios. A barometer-assisted CRLB is introduced as an improvement for the existing Wi-Fi Receive Signal Strength (RSS)-only scheme and both of the two schemes are compared with the contours in every scenario and the statistical analysis.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Electrical & Computer Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





Cramer-Rao Lower Bound (CRLB), Barometer-Assisted, Performance Evaluation, Map Selection, 3D Indoor Localization