September 27, 2023

Frequency Emitter Geolocation Using Signal Strength Fingerprinting Informed By 3D Propagation Modeling


This work focuses on the problem of RF geolocation in complex multipath environments. Using 3D electromagnetic propagation modeling to characterize environments of interest will enable more accurate RF geolocation. Specifically, a path-loss radio map can be generated in simulation for use in received signal strength indicators (RSSI) fingerprinting, or pattern matching. RSSI fingerprinting is an example of data-based method that takes site specific information into account which should allow for better performance than other model-based methods that use a generalized model of electromagnetic propagation. This modeling capability will also be used to evaluate the relative performance of RSSI fingerprinting, pathloss model based RSSI methods such as differential received signal strength circles (DRSS), RSSI joint gaussian estimation, and time-difference of arrival (TDOA). New methods using this simulation derived electromagnetic characterization could improve the efficacy of currently deployed and future RF spectral monitoring solutions. Wireless InSite developed by Remcom is used as the simulation tool of choice in this work. An indoor location is simulated with a grid of fixed receivers and a grid of transmit locations. Using the output of the Wireless InSite simulation the response from a given transmit location to a given receive location can be generated. During the first year of the project various geolocation methods evaluated on purely synthetic, but realistic, data. The second year focused on testing and validating the efficacy of simulation informed RF geolocation using two physical testbeds. This work has shown that data-based approaches are more accurate than model-based ones at the expensive of requiring measured or simulated site-specific training data.

Published: September 27, 2023


Clark R.T., A.W. Engel, T.E. Shenk, M.R. Huyge, S.L. McDaid, R.C. Conrad, and J. Rounds, et al. 2023. Frequency Emitter Geolocation Using Signal Strength Fingerprinting Informed By 3D Propagation Modeling Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.