On the Feasibility of Using Two Mobile Phones and WLAN Signal to Detect Co-Location of Two Users for Epidemic Prediction

Khuong Nguyen, Zhiyuan Luo, Chris Watkins

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


An epidemic may be controlled or predicted if we can monitor the history of physical human contacts. As most people have a smart phone, a contact between two persons can be regarded as a handshake between the two phones. Our task becomes how to detect the moment the two mobile phones are close. In this paper, we investigate the possibility of using the outdoor WLAN signals, provided by public Access Points, for off-line mobile phones collision detection. Our method does not require GPS coverage, or real-time monitoring. We designed an Android app running in the phone’s background to periodically collect the outdoor WLAN signals. This data are then analysed to detect the potential contacts. We also discuss several approaches to handle the mobile phone diversity, and the WLAN scanning latency issue. Based on our measurement campaign in the real world, we conclude that it is feasible to detect the co-location of two phones with the WLAN signals only.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProgress in Location-Based Services 2014
EditorsGeorg Gartner, Haosheng Huang
Place of PublicationGermany
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-11879-6
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-11878-9
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography


  • epidemic tracking
  • co-localisation
  • wlan signals

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