Whereabouts Project


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Whereabouts is a project at the University of Michigan to build a location sensing network using widely available off-the-shelf components, such as RFID sensors and 802.11 stations.

Our goal is to build a network of sensors that will allow users and computers to detect and share their location information, and provide an interface to query and monitor that information. This network and query interface will serve as infrastructure for research in areas such as ubiquitous computing, privacy, large and rapidly changing databases, and whatever else we come up with.

Note that this project will in no way involve the tracking of anybody who does not wish to be tracked. Anybody who prefers not to participate can simply not wear a tag. We further plan on providing privacy options which will allow users who do decide to wear tags to control what information is disclosed.

Currently, we have created a building-wide location infrastructure in our CSE building, location middleware to allow location data to be handled in a uniform and privacy-sensitive way, and a tour guide application to demonstrate the system and acquaint new visitors with our building. We also have a variety of student projects which have built on the location system.

This work has resulted in several publications, and in some software available from our Web site. We are in the process of making more of our software available.

Many people are involved in and have participated in this project.

Quite a bit of other information is available on the Whereabouts project Wiki.

This work is funded in part by the National Science Foundation under grant EIA-0303587 as "An Infrastructure for Wide Area Pervasive Computing" and by a grant from Intel. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation or Intel.