Smartphone Positioning Systems

February 27, 2014, ESB 2001

Romit Roy Choudhury

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, ECE


The sudden boom in the smartphone ecosystem has caught various branches of technology unprepared -- one of these branches is localization. An escalating number of location-based apps are demanding tailor-made solutions; the futuristic ones are even broadening the core notion of "location''. For instance, the advertisement industry is asking for semantic localization services, wherein the device's location is expressed as "Starbucks'' or "Wal-Mart''. Museums intend to precisely identify the painting a visitor is facing. Reminder apps are calling for continuous localization even though the phone runs on a limited energy budget. Social apps aim to present walking directions within a shopping mall, so Alice can find a way to reach Bob. Finally, augmented reality apps are aspiring for a technology that localizes visible objects -- the ability to look at a distant building through the phone and obtain its location. Clearly, GPS was not envisioned to serve this wide spectrum of application-specific demands. The landscape of localization needs to be revamped against the backdrop of emerging constraints and opportunities. This talk will describe our efforts in this direction -- the multiple failures, and a recent promise of success.

Speaker's Bio

Romit Roy Choudhury is an Associate Professor of ECE at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC). He joined UIUC from Fall 2013, prior to which he was an Associate Professor at Duke University. Romit received his PhD in the CS department of UIUC in Fall 2006. His research interests are in wireless protocol design mainly at the PHY/MAC layer, and in mobile computing at the application layer. Along with his students, he received a few research awards, including the NSF CAREER Award, the Google Faculty Award, best paper at Personal Wireless Communications conference, Hoffmann Krippner Award for Engineering Innovations, etc. Visit Romit's Systems Networking Research Group (SyNRG), at

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