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Open Source Wireless Networking

OpenWLANMap: Free WLAN-Based GPS Replacement 39

Posted by timothy
from the another-side-to-crowd-mapping dept.
flok writes "There are a couple of commercial products which can tell you where you are by the MAC addresses of access points in your neighbourhood. E.g. the iphone uses a system like this. There's now an open offering for this: OpenWLANMap. With this website, you can enter your access point mac address with your GPS location and then others can use that to navigate. There is also an app for your mobile which automatically enters this data, and you can upload data from e.g. Airomap and other wardriving applications."
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OpenWLANMap: Free WLAN-Based GPS Replacement

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  • Better project (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @10:43AM (#43401221)

    There's already a better project.
    http://wigle.net/

  • It's pretty trivial to spoof a MAC address, should be easy to fool users if it's a simple list of MACs and coordinates?
    • Yep, if the software relies on a single AP to tell you that you're in Nowheresville because that's the only AP it has on file for it, and you're in Someotherhamlet that has no APs on file, and you set up there with your AP spoofing the Nowheresville one, people visiting Someotherhamlet will be utterly confused about why their devices are telling them they're in Nowheresville. Pretty trivial.

      Good luck trying that in a more data-rich environment, though. You'd have to spoof the multiple APs of place A, atte

      • Yes it has to be robust enough to cope with this - never mind the spoofing, there's the fact that people move and take their wifi routers with them.

      • by SQLGuru (980662)

        Actually, this would be more interesting to set up multiple routers with a New York MAC, a Los Angeles MAC, a Tokyo MAC, and a London MAC. That way no one can pinpoint your location with this technology. Instant stealth mode.

      • More likely they'd spoof that you're at Starbucks while in reality it's Muggers Alley.
  • WiGLE.net already exists. In fact it is fairly trivial to scrape information off of their site as well, although they make no guarantees of any kind of stable API whatsoever. They also have an android app for wardriving.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    1) It won't work when there is a local electrical power outage.

    2) When people move ( they do this, and quite often these days )
              their AP will no longer be "there".

    3) A real GPS which uses both GLONASS and the US GPS sats is
              trivially cheap to buy and will work in any situation short of all out
              nuclear war.

    • But a "real GPS" isn't great in urban areas - precisely where there are the most APs to get a location from (and which tend to have reasonable power uptimes). With a reasonable number of users of the app it should be possible to keep the db reasonably up to date, and if you have 3 APs matching to London, and one to Oxford, it's not that hard to know which one to ignore (or you go from one city to another in a few seconds).
      • But a "real GPS" isn't great in urban areas - precisely where there are the most APs to get a location from (and which tend to have reasonable power uptimes).

        That's only true if you limit your definition of "urban" to "dense high rise city cores (where GPS signals are blocked)", which is an infinitesimally small fraction of the area usually described as "urban" and an invisibly small fraction of the total land area of pretty much any country. There's also an awful lot of us who live where WLAN 'coverage' i

        • That's a good point, but to my mind the real test will be how well this integrates with GPS for the receiver - in my experience although the urban canyons are fairly small areas, they are almost by definition quite highly travelled, and there are much larger urban areas where the GPS is patchy - maybe all right for driving in the middle of the street, but walking next to the bulidings with half the sky blocked is a different matter. Of course, as most mobile navigation devices now have wifi built in, it's
    • by Haegar (1160)

      The biggest problem with GPS is that it does not work inside a building.

      With dense enough Wifi AP mapping you are able to still at least point to the right house/street.

  • Just paint a target on your AP for the bombers... and/or SWAT teams.

  • by ssam (2723487) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @11:21AM (#43401765)

    and they offer full database dumps.
    http://openbmap.org/ [openbmap.org]

  • Which is used by Chrome and Firefox to provide w3C geolocation support. You can call like the following example:

    > curl "https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/browserlocation/json?browser=firefox&sensor=true&wifi=mac:00-14-bf-28-80-69|ssid:10160|ss:-26&wifi=mac:00-26-50-38-ca-11|ssid:2WIRE084|ss:-69"

    {
    "accuracy" : 27.0,
    "location" : {
    "lat" : 37.32097479999999,
    "lng" : -122.0276630
    },
    "status" : "OK"
    }
    • by ssam (2723487)

      i am sure a lot of people would be grateful for a database dump they could download, so that a) that can figure out where they are without incurring data charges, b) without uploading details about their location to a website. in that case the openbmap database dumps look good.

      • by eladts (1712916)
        The problem is that without (b), there is no way to maintain a comprehensive and up to date database.
        • by ssam (2723487)

          i might not mind manually turning on logging, and then uploading the data somewhere after a few weeks with the date and time stripped out.

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