A Survey of Forensic Localization and Tracking Mechanisms in Short-Range and Cellular Networks

Stephen D. Wolthusen, Saif Al-Kuwari

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Localization and tracking are critical tools in criminal and, increasingly, forensic investigations, which we show to be greatly aided by the proliferation of mobile phone and other wireless devices even if such devices are not suitable for communication and hence interception. In this paper we therefore provide a survey and taxonomy of both established and novel techniques for tracking the whereabouts of individuals and devices for different environments and platforms as well as the underlying assumptions and limitations in each case. In particular, we describe cellular, wireless, and personal area networks in infrastructure and ad-hoc environments. As individual localization and tracking methods do not always yield the required precision and accuracy, may require collaboration, or will exhibit gaps in densely built-up or highly active radio frequency environments, we additionally discuss selected approaches derived from multisensor data fusion and tracking applications for enhancing performance and assurance. This paper also briefly discusses possible attacks against a localization/tracking process and how trustworthy the measurement estimations are, an aspect that has been evidently less investigated so far.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDigital Forensics and Cyber Crime
Subtitle of host publicationFirst International ICST Conference ICDF2C
ISBN (Print)978-3-642-11534-9
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009

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