Advanced MDS based Localization Algorithm for
Location Based Services in Wireless Sensor Network
Bing We Wu Chen, Xiaoli Ding
Department Land Surveying and GeoInformatics
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China
bing.wei@polyu.edu.hk
AbstractWireles s Sensor Networks (WSNs) are increasingly
being used for various information collection in the future. For
many
applications,
a l arge number of sensors in
an active
wireless network are more effective and preferabl e to a few
expensive wireless sens ors . Location discovery of sens or nodes
after they h ave been deployed is known as a challenge, especially
for moving s ensors. Algorithms bas ed on radio s ignal s trength
indication are considered as the lowest cost method to s olve
localization problem. But in practice, the accuracy of s ignal
strength indication algorithm varies with the average distances
between wireles s nodes  the nearer, the better. Th is paper
describes a new integrated dynamic localization algorithm, based
on
Received
Signal
Strength
Indication
(RSSI)
Multidimensional S caling (MDS) algorithm. In
this
and
concept,
signals with RSSI values among beacon nodes could help to
generate a real time 2D map of the n etwork by self iterations.
Un known nodes use the map to determine their locations in this
region. A software s imulator is created to tes t the performance of
the
algorithm,
and
practical
experiments
als o
show
the
development of localization accuracy and efficiency.
Keywordscomponent; Wireless Sensor Network; localization,
MDS; Location Based Service
1.
INTRODUCTION
Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs), especially 2. 4GHz
based wireless microsystems, are increasingly being deployed
for scientific research or ordinal)' applications in human lives.
In the first ten years of the new centul)', a n umber of
applications have been invented to provide more intelligent
lives for modem people.
Taking the intelligent home control system as an examp Ie,
sensors which are mounted on electrical equipments can
automatically collect and transfer useful information to the
central controller for record, calculation and making further
decisions. In this case, almost all sensors are static, and the
main function of this WSN is transfer data packets in the air
instead of in wires.
Looking beyond network establishment and topology,
services based on users' location information are more and
more welcome. Personalized services provide diverse benefits,
and can be fit for typical requirement in certain time, certain
place. By adding location based services into such an
intelligent home control system mentioned above, a lot of new
functions can be created by engineers. For example, if there is a
9781424478798/10/$26.00 2010
IEEE
terminal node located on the user's body, system can determine
which room is the user in, and then automatically control lights,
air conditions or tum on/off household appliances. In this case,
there are not only static nodes, but also moving nodes. The
topology of this WSN should provide functions for
automatically build, change or dissolve the network, and more
important, discover the user's location.
Localization problem is concerned as an important aspect in
the research of WSN, which has already attracted many
research interests in the past decades. WSNs are used to
estimate the locations of unknown nodes in environmental
monitoring, target tracking, navigation and surveying.
Generally speaking, localization applications can be classified
into three degrees based on the aspect of real time and
resolution. Figure 1 shows the general applications on different
degrees of real time performances and resolutions.
We focus our research application on navigation and
localization, which means that the location resolution should be
between I100m, and the timeliness should be in seconds.
Localization problem can be divided into twolevel computing.
As the Figure 2 shown, the first level is getting distance or
connectivity information from wireless nodes, and the second
level calculates final locations through some typical algorithms.
EveI)' localization system should include such two levels in
design, simulation and implementation.
lkm
100m
10m
Resolution
Monitoring
(climate,
earth,
oceans,
wild lives,
... )
ITS, LBS,
other
localization...
5m
1m
lcm
lmm
Data Timeliness
L____________________________
seconds
Figure I.
minutes
hours
days
eeks
A brief classification of gener al applications based on location data
Distances
(Range based)
Connectivities
(Range free)
Algorithms
Levell
Level 2
Locations
(2D/3D coordinates)
Figure 2.
T 'Ml level computing for localization problem
this paper, we propose a model to describe errors in
localization problem of WSN, and then generate an algorithm
to reduce the errors both in simulation and implementation.
In
The reset of this paper is organized as follows: In section 2,
we discuss related work. Section 3 describes the problem of
localization and discusses kinds of error from preexperiments.
Section 4 and section 5 show traditional and advanced MDS
based localization algorithms. Computer simulation results and
experiment analysis are shown in section 6 and 7. Section 8
concludes our work.
II.
RE LATED W ORK
Node localization technique has been an important research
topic in the past 30 years. Yemin i [1] presents some theoretical
algorithmic aspects of the positionlocation problem. A
detailed survey of this area is provided by Hightower and
Borriello [2]. Nowadays, many systems use some kinds of
range based methods and others rely on range free techniques.
In range based methods, ToA, TDoA, AoA and RSSI are
considered as the most common techniques in obtaining
distances or angles between wireless nodes. RSSI is widely
used for location discoveries because it needs no extra
hardware, RSSI value could be provided by the sensor nodes.
The RSSI value could obtain a good accuracy in short distance
while it varies when distance is larger than a typical range.
ToAITDoA methods have better accuracy, but may require
additional hardware on sensor nodes to receive a signal which
has a smaller propagation speed than ordinal)' radio, such as
ultrasound [3][4]. AoA [5] also needs extra antennas to achieve
enough accuracy for angle measurement. Many systems use
some kind of range or distance information and many of them
rely on powerful beacon nodes with unusual capabilities, such
as radio or laser ranging devices. Others use distance or angle
measures from a fixed set of reference points or anchor nodes.
For example, the system designed by Bulusu et al. [6] uses a
grid of anchor nodes. Each unknown node sets its position to
the centroid of the beacons near the unknown node. The
position accuracy is about onethird of the separation distance
between beacons. The method needs a high beacon density to
work well.
Several range free methods are introduced by He [7],
including APIT, Centroid, DVHop and Amorphous scheme.
APIT is a geometl)' algorithm, which calculates the location
estimation by doing Boolean operation in triangles. Centroid
localization scheme uses anchor beacons to estimate node
positions by a centroid formula. DVHop approach by
Niculescu and Nath [8] is simple and efficient, which is among
the best of triangulationbased methods. Each receiving node
maintains the minimum counter value per anchor of all beacons
it receives and ignores those beacons with higher hop count
values. Beacons are flooded outward with hop count values
incremented at evel)' intermed iate hop. In this algorithm, a ll
nodes in the network get the shortest distance in hops to evel)'
anchor. The amorphous localization algorithm [9] proposed
independently from DVHop. Firstly, each node obtains the
hop distance to distributed anchors; secondly, the hopdistance
is obtained through local averaging from anchor estimates.
Doherty's [10] convex constraint satisfaction approach
describes a simple method for localization based only on
connectivity of the network. This method formulates the
localization problem with isotropic communication as a
feasibility problem with convex radial constraints. It requires
centralized computation. This method has a disadvantage that
needs anchor nodes (Beacons) to be placed out of boundal)',
preferably at the comers, to make the constraints sufficiently
tight. When all anchors are located in the interior of the
network, the position estimation of outer nodes can easily
collapse toward the center, which leads to large estimation
errors.
MDSMAP is a new method on Level 2 calculation, which
uses connectivity or local d istance measures between unknown
nodes and anchors to calculate the locations of all unknown
nodes in a whole map for better localization results. Shang et al.
[11][ 12] created different algorithms based on MDS. It uses an
optimization method to find the minimum localization errors in
average. In the connectivityonly approach, MDSMAP obtains
each pairwise distance by multiplying the shortest hop
distances with the range of radio signals, which can be
improved with available PRI measurements.
In this paper, we design a new algorithm which combined
by RSSI range estimation and MDS method as the level l and
2 techniques.
III.
A.
LOCAL I ZATION PROB LEM DESCRIPTION
Problem formulation
Consider a WSN with n wireless nodes labeled 1, 2, 3 ...
n, with RSSI data between each two nodes available. By using
RSSI, each node estimates the distance to its neighbors. Denote
that the distance measured between node i and J. as dl,} So
given the network of n nodes, our objective is to produce a set
of
(i
coordinate
points
Xi' Yi
for
each
node
{I, 2, ..., n} ) such that after running the algorithm, the
estimated Euclidean position of each node closely resembles
(ideally identical to) the actual (or the ground truth) Euclidean
position
(X;,y;) of
each node up to a global mapping
(translation, scaling and rotation, etc.).
Furthermore, suppose the number of beacons, whose
locations are all known already, is m (m < n), so there are
n  m unknown nodes should be localized in this problem. In
this scenario, nodes know the approximate distances d;,
j
(calculated from RSSI or other techniques) between each two
of them with limited accuracy.
There are two possible outputs when dealing with problem.
One is a relative map output, and the other is an absolute map
output. Relative location information is obtainable before
getting absolute locations from map of beacons. The task of
getting an absolute map is to determine the absolute Euclidean
coordinates of all unknown nodes.
B.
introduce an indirect mapping algorithm based on RSSI. The
most significant difference of our approach with other indirect
mapping algorithms is that we use RSSI to obtain estimated
distance (Level l) and then use a MDS based algorithm to
approximate the mapping (Level 2), which is shown to be more
effective in both simulation and implementation results.
The mean signal attenuation described by the pathloss (PL)
model decays exponentially with distance. However, the signal
strength varies considerably around its mean value due to the
constructive and destructive superposition of multiple
propagation paths between a beacon and the mobile. In an
indoor environment, this effect is particularly important due to
a typically obstructed line of sight, and reflections on walls and
other objects (tables, shelves, etc.). A general PL model that
has been widely validated by experimental data is given by
Error in localization problem
Compared with some other location technology, such as
GPS or GNSS, localization based on RSSI in WSNs has much
more errors. Relative error is always used to describe the
localization accuracy in WSN.
Consider a network with n wireless nodes, including m
beacons, and n  m unknown nodes, the average distance in
this WSN is defined as:
Defination 1: Average nodes' distance D,
(1)
where
RSSlo
is an RSSI value measured in dB at a
reference distance do in meters (close to the transmitter) and a
is the pathloss exponent. The random variable X"  N(O, Ii)
accounts for lognormal shadowing. More specifically, X"
models the fact that measured signal levels at the same
transmitterreceiver separation have a normal distribution
around a distancespecific mean.
In order to get the relationship between RSSI value and
distances, we built a testbed based on 802.15. 4 wireless
module. The test result shows that:
70
Suppose the relative error of distance measurement for one
unknown node is:
72
74
Defination 2: Relative error,
(2)
Where
dij
is the real distance between node i and j, and
d is the result comes from RSSI measurement. Relative error
ij
indicates the performance of R SSI signal, and also has positive
relation with localization result.
RSSI / dBm
76
78
80
82
84
86
88
90
C.
R S S I signal propagation model and preexperiment
RS SI value has already been used for localization recently.
Generally speaking, RSSI is an easy way to enhance
localization accuracy on classic RF devices. In Google map, a
WiFi device can be located by compare the MAC address of
WiFi router with existing database of its geographic address.
By using RSsr value, localization error could be lower than 50
meter in Google map, while the WiFi signal can be detected in
range of 100 meter.
The existing RSSI based algorithms use RSSI in two
different ways, one is direct mapping between RSSI and
distance, the other one is indirect mapping. In this paper, we
Figure 3,
50
100
150
200
250
Time / sec
300
350
400
450
St ability ofRSSI v alue between beamns in a W SN
Figure 3 shows the RSSI value stability in a WSN
communication experiment, Red, blue and black points mean
three different RSSI group between node 1, 2 and 3, At the
very beginning, all three color lines have less than 4 dBm
errors, but after over 360 seconds, the error of blue line is as
much as 10 dBm, because the change of the whole WSN
working environment. So, the self iteration algorithm is
necessary for keeping update of environment, and better
calibration accuracy,
d J(RSSI,e)+a'
o 
'\
60
IV.
' ,rJ
80
10 0
Where e is a parameter, wh ich refers to different directions
in signal propagation. Details will be introduced in following
sections as AMDS algorithm.
20
10
20
30
40
50
60
Distance
70
80
lJ1i
90
100
Fitted curve , RSSI vs. Di& ance, (OlOOm)
20
15
A.\
"
5
1,
Id.J
INJ1 V r
J
Pu
I"
'"
(RSSI data) between two nodes i and j are
mapped into distances
du'
Assume there is an
dimensional
MDS configuration X consisting of all nodes, for which we
use the general term proximity
10
coordinates
15
Pu
are given for each pair of
( Y) of all nodes. MDS attempts to proximities
x,
by distance obtained between nodes in the MDS space.
o
10
20
FigureS.
30
40
50
60
Distance
70
80
90
100
(7)
Errors inRSSI vs. Di&atlce (OlOOm)
RSSI value is more accurate between 0 to 10 meter (strong
signal), but varies beyond 10 meters (weak signal), and RSSI
errors is going larger and larger with longer distance.
Traditional logarithm model is not fit for the whole
propagation area of RSSI. Our algorithm should consider the
difference between strong and weak signals.
A.
Stepl: Compute the shortest paths between all pairs of
nodes in the region of consideration. The shortest path
distances are used to construct the distance matrix D for
MDS.
Step2: Apply MDS to 0, retaining the first 2 largest
eigenvalues and eigenvectors to construct a 20 relative
map.
Step3: Given sufficient beacons, transform the relative
map to an absolute map by doing linear transform based
on absolute positions of beacons.
such description, RSSI could be considered as a function
RSSI J(d)+a
=
(4)
d means the distance, and a means noise when
calculating RSSI from the distance. a is the random error,
which
and point out the best accuracy of localization by this WSN
system. All we need to do is find a proper algorithm to reduce
the system error and tl)' to achieve the best accuracy and
stability. On the other hand, distance could also be calculated
from RSSI as:
d J(RSSI)+a'
=
(5)
In preexperiments we found that, different relationships
between RSSI and distance are shown in different directions,
because of signal propagation caused by anisotropic antennas,
and val)'ing environments . So, function above could be
changed as:
MDSMA P concept:
like:
In
BASED ALGORITHMS
MDS models are defined by specifYing how the given
similarity data
10
In
MDS
MultiD imensional Scaling (MDS) is a set of mathematical
techniques which have their origins in psychometrics and
psychophysics. It is often used as part of exploratory data
analysis or information visualization. It is related to principal
component analysis, factor analysis and cluster analysis. MDS
has been applied in many fields, such as machine learning and
computational chemistI)'. When used for localization, MDS
takes full advantage of connectivity or distance information
between known and unknown nodes, unlike other distance
based approaches.
l\
Figure 4.
20
(6)
B.
Classical MDS algorithm:
Use T
[tulxn
to denote the true locations of the set of
n sensor nodes in 2dimensional space.
di,j (T)
represents
the real distance between sensor i and j based on their
location in T , so we have
(8)
The distance between sensor i and j is calculated from
RSSI value between sensor i and j as
errors in distance measurement,
liij
liij'
if we ignore the
should equal to
di/ (T).
We will discuss the error effects to location estimation cause
ij
by the differences between Ii and
X=
Xij
xn
dij (T) later.
denotes the estimated locations of the set of
n sensor nodes in 2dimensional space. If all pairwise
distances of sensors in T are collected, we can use the
classical MDS algorithm to estimate the locations of sensors.
Classical MDS algorithm is shown as follows:
Compute the matrix of squared distance D2;
Step
Step 2: Compute the matrix J with J = I  e * e / n ,
I:
where
(1 1 ...1) .
,
lxn'
Step 3: Apply double centering to this matrix with
H= !JD2J.'
2
Step 4: Compute the eigendecomposition H
Step 5: Suppose we want to get the i dimensions of the
UVUT;
solution (in 2D case, i = 2), we denote the matrix of
largest i eigenvalue by
V,
and Ui the first i columns of
U . The coordinate matrix of classical scaling is
1
X=UV2
I
C.
MDS algorithm:
1)
R SSI propagation
initial period, eve!), beacon broadcasts a specific number
of beacon messages, and receive RSSI values between each of
them if the signal is good enough. At the end of initial period,
each beacon has reached an ID number, with R SSI value
between each of them. An RSSI matrix for beacons has been
built like this:
In
3) Localization estimation
When sensor node I obtains enough information after the
initial RSSI propagation stage, it can make use of the
information to calculate it own location. The pseudocode of
this algorithm is shown in Figure 6.
II assume that sensor node I wants to calculate its location
II Input:
II
Location Estimation 0
{
Nu mberOfNodes
N={};
Nu mberOfBeacons
NB={};
R={};
RadioRange
UnknownNodeSpeed
Speed={};
Err={};
MaxError
Stepl: [X,Y] = Beacon locations;
Step2: Set initial location of unknownl moving nodes, and
calculate distance between each two nodes in the
network, generate RSSI matrix and Distance matrix;
Step3: Process MDS algorithm, get relative coordinates for
unknown nodes, [Rx, Ry];
Step4: Transform relative coordinates to absolute
coordinates by using linear transforrn of beacons;
Step5: Calculate localization error, derr= distance between
initial locations and calculated locations of unknown
nodes;
RelativeErr: RErr= derr I Err;
If RErr < threshold, go to Step 7;
Step6: Refresh RSSIIDistance matrix, go to Step3;
Step7: return;
}
Figure 6.
V.
M DSM AP Algorithm f or L ocation Eltimation
A DVANC E D MDS BASED A LGORITHM
The key idea of the AMDS algorithm is:
2) Adding sensor nodes
During this period, sensor nodes with unknown location
information will be adding into the network, and also get their
own ill. Any sensor node that receives the RSSI message will
record the related information. The RSSI matrix will be
extended to:
Generate a RSSI matrix automatically by following the
latest RSSI value between each two beacons, with the
coordinate information to fit for different directions mapping,
and then calculate the distance between unknown nodes and
beacons according the RSSI matrix.
For example, suppose there are m beacons connected in a
WSN, the whole node number is n. Distance between beacon
nodes could be calculated by existing coordinates of beacons.
By adding RSSI data between beacons and unknown nodes, the
distance matrix can be described as follows:
[Rss ](nxn)
[Dis ] Beacon (mxm)
[Dis ](nxn)
( Xh, ) h=,I 2,3,...,m
el
St p
e
St p2
2SO
[Dis ](nxn)
) Xk,
(9)
200
I:) k=m+,l m+2,.,n
150 f
(10)
After getting matrix of the whole nx nmatrix for distances,
by adding coordinates of beacons, we can calculate the 2D
coordinates of all nodes except beacons.
100 f::
50 f
11.1.
o UI

10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 110% 120% 130%
Error Percentage of Result
VI.
S IMULATION
In the software simulation part, we assess the average
performance of the localization techniques presented on Matlab
200SA on 2dimensional networks of at least 6 nodes deployed
in a typical field.
..,.r,,..__,
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. 1141
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aJ
In the simulation, sample is selected as 1000. Errors which
are added into original coordinates are 100% uniform
distributions as the range of average nodes' distance. Result
shows, MDS algorithm could reduce errors, and most of errors
are in the 30%50% region.
If we change errors added in from 100% to 50% uniform
distributions of average nodes' distance, result could be
changed as:
..
"
!O
010
!I)
f;I)
o
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350
A.
_.
200
Il
100 50 0 
Simulation platform
Matlab 200SA, generate a task to simulate the AMDS
method.
f I I
150
All nodes are assumed to have the same radio range R,
which is modeled as a eire Ie with a predefined radius. We do
not consider models of nonuniform radio propagation or widely
varying ranging errors.
1
_.
1
250
lnterfuce of Soft'MITe Simulation in M atlab
1
300
Figure 7.
Relative error in simulation
. ..... .
........ , .. ......, ...... ,.... ....,.. ....
"
"rrr,...,,
"
Figure 8.
Figure 9.
 _ [ L (
4
 
10
L'_,11 12 13
Compared different relative errors
In
Steps:
1.
Build 1000 random nodes
1000 ..,.900
800
Select beacons, others are unknown nodes
600
3.
Add errors on calculated distances, based on that model
500
4.
Calculate distance matrix
5.
Do MDS .. MAP processing
6.
Get a result matrix, which describes the measured
distances between nodes
7.
Coordinate transform to get the absolute locations
S.
Calculate errors, according to (2)
Followings are simulation results:
700
2.
II
400
!
/
300
200
/'
/
II
/
I
II
I
'r
r
100
o
10
12
14
Figure 10. Interface of Soft'Mlre Simulati on in M atlab
According to Figure 9 and 10, compared with the former
one, 50% error causes much more error reducing. Over 80% of
relative errors in result have been reduced lower than 30%.
VI I.
A.
EXPERIMENTAL SETUP
Testbed Introcuction
Figure 11 shows the designed
layout. Jennie JN5139.
IEEE
Error(x,y) Coor(x'Y)M Coor(x,y)o
E / D% Error / Disbeacon Error / 20%
=
(3)
(4)
By using RSSIOistance model, which is discussed in
Section 3, the results show that, in the 28 data, there are 15 data
whose ElO% < 10%. More detailed statistics are shown below
in Figure 9.
802. 15. 4 Node PCB
16 
The heart of all units is a hybrid chip Jennie JN5 139. It
combines 32bit M CO and IEEE 802. 15.4 radio chip. The
MCU contains all software for distance measurement and a
wireless communication driver based on a SMAC. The hybrid
chip, the antenna and the supporting circuits are located on a
separate development board connected to other circuits, such as
power supply, power switch and buttons.
1,/ .
12 
10 .
6 .
./ .
2 .
<10%
1020% 2030% 30./0% ./050% 5060% 6070% 7080%
>80%
Figure 13_ Statisitics of the static localization te& resuh
By using AMOS algorithm, which is discussed in Section
5, the results show that, in the 360 data, there are 267 data
whose ElO% < 10%. Over 90% of relative errors are less than
20%. More detailed statistics are shown below in Figure 14.
300 r .. t ..r, .r ,
Figure
B.
II.
Ph otos of wireless nodes based on JN5139
250
200
Prototype System Tests and Analysis
I)
Static localization test
this test, node 1, 2 and 3 are three static nodes. Node 4
changes its location in this region, from point A to 0, 13
different locations.
150
In
100
50
3m
20m
<10%
1020% 2030% 3040% 4050% 5060% 6070% 7080%
>80%
Figure 14_ Statisitics of the static localization test resuh
E
4m

u..

>
18m
.'Ii.
2)
Dynamic localization test
this test, we choose a typical construction field of
residence in Hong Kong Island as test environment. Node 1 to
Node 6 are static beacons. Node 7 is a moving node in area A,
whose route is shown as red lines in Figure 15.
In
c
M
20m
B
A
Figure 12_ Static localization te&
4m
In Figure 16, the left one is the result of MOS and right one
is AMOS. Figure 17 and 18 also show the relative error
comparison between MOS and AMOS. Obviously, AMOS
Figure 18. Relative errors,dynamic te&, AMDS
got better results than traditional MDS algorithm when the
RS SI value is the same.
VIII.
Mobile
Node
A
CONCLUSION
In conclusion building a localization system for wireless
devices based on wireless sensor network is feasible. RS SI
measurement is a low cost, easy deployment concept for
building a self updating 2D map with beacons. In this paper, a
new wireless signal  distance model is introduced, which is
much accurate than traditional models. Results of tests show
that the performance is acceptable, less than 10% of the
average distance between beacons.
ACKNOWLE DGEMENT
Figure 15. Te& roue in area A, 6 be acons,1 moving node
The authors would thank Mr. Xuesong Shen and Miss Rui
Xu for their assistance in experiments, as well as the technical
service engineers in Jennie Ltd for their feedback throughout
programming and debugging the embedded system.
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[1]
Y. Yemini, "Some theoretical aspects of p osition location problems,"
Fo undations of Co mpuer Science, Annual IEEE Symp o sium on, Los
Alamitos, CA,USA: IEEE Computer Society,1979, pp. 18.
[2]
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Figure 16 . Co parison of resultsM DS and AMDS
40 ,,,c""" ,. , , ,
35
30
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20
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10
Figure 17. Relative errors, dynamic te&,MDS
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