Energy-efficient localization: GPS duty cycling with radio ranging

Raja Jurdak*, Peter Corke, Alban Cotillon, Dhinesh Dharman, Chris Crossman, Guillaume Salagnac

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


GPS is a commonly used and convenient technology for determining absolute position in outdoor environments, but its high power consumption leads to rapid battery depletion in mobile devices. An obvious solution is to duty cycle the GPS module, which prolongs the device lifetime at the cost of increased position uncertainty while the GPS is off. This article addresses the trade-off between energy consumption and localization performance in a mobile sensor network application. The focus is on augmenting GPS location with more energy-efficient location sensors to bound position estimate uncertainty while GPS is off. Empirical GPS and radio contact data from a large-scale animal tracking deployment is used to model node mobility, radio performance, and GPS. Because GPS takes a considerable, and variable, time after powering up before it delivers a good position measurement, we model the GPS behavior through empirical measurements of two GPS modules. These models are then used to explore duty cycling strategies for maintaining position uncertainty within specified bounds. We then explore the benefits of using short-range radio contact logging alongside GPS as an energy-inexpensive means of lowering uncertainty while the GPS is off, and we propose strategies that use RSSI ranging and GPS back-offs to further reduce energy consumption. Results show that our combined strategies can cut node energy consumption by one third while still meeting application-specific positioning criteria.

Original languageEnglish
Article number23
Pages (from-to)1-33
Number of pages33
JournalACM Transactions on Sensor Networks
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


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