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International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks
Volume 2 (2006), Issue 1, Pages 1-21
Original Article

Range-Free Localization with Aerial Anchors in Wireless Sensor Networks

Department of Electrical Engineering, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan

Copyright © 2006 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Localization is one of the essential issues in wireless sensor networks. Randomly deployed sensor nodes that do not own any positioning device need to determine their locations for further purposes. Range-based schemes typically utilize extra hardware to provide higher accuracy based on either node-to-node distances or angles. On the other hand, range-free mechanisms support coarse localization without the specific equipment. The paper presents a range-free localization scheme with aerial anchor nodes. Each aerial anchor flies across the sensing field and also periodically broadcasts its location information obtained from its GPS receiver. The sensor nodes use the information and geometry principles to calculate their positions. With the mechanism, the sensor nodes do not need distance-probing hardware or additional communication among them. The localization mechanism has been evaluated and the results show that the mechanism had better performance than other range-free mechanisms.