Force-directed approaches to sensor localization

Alon Efrat, David Forrester, Anand Iyer, Stephen G. Kobourov, Cesim Erten, Ozan Kilic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


As the number of applications of sensor networks increases, so does the interest in sensor network localization, that is, in recovering the correct position of each node in a network of sensors from partial connectivity information such as adjacency, range, or angle between neighboring nodes. In this article, we consider the anchor-free localization problem in sensor networks that report possibly noisy range information and angular information about the relative order of each sensor's neighbors. Previously proposed techniques seem to successfully reconstruct the original positions of the nodes for relatively small networks with nodes distributed in simple regions. However, these techniques do not scale well with network size and yield poor results with nonconvex or nonsimple underlying topology. Moreover, the distributed nature of the problem makes some of the centralized techniques inapplicable in distributed settings. To address these problems we describe a multiscale dead-reckoning (MSDR) algorithm that scales well for large networks, can reconstruct complex underlying topologies, and is resilient to noise. The MSDR algorithm takes its roots from classic force-directed graph layout computation techniques. These techniques are augmented with a multiscale extension to handle the scalability issue and with a dead-reckoning extension to overcome the problems arising with nonsimple topologies. Furthermore, we show that the distributed version of the MSDR algorithm performs as well as, if not better than, its centralized counterpart, as shown by the quality of the layout, measured in terms of the accuracy of the computed pairwise distances between sensors in the network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number27
JournalACM Transactions on Sensor Networks
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Force-directed
  • Node localization
  • Sensor networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications


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