Description: I am trying to create a map to see how people carrying a cellphone move inside of a given region (e.g. a building). Since not everybody has Bluetooth or Wi-Fi turned on, I was trying to rely on the 5G network or other passive signals that would allow me to triangulate the cellphone position (lat/lon) at any given instant (t). In this way I would be able to reconstruct the trajectory.

Question: Are you aware of any potential project/tutorial that would allow me to achieve this task? Maybe some open source library which may include also buying some antennas or whatsover?

PS: with regards to data privacy, I am not interested in personal data rather to the position of the device which could have an anonymous id.

  • To be able to find the position and then track people, you would need to be able to identify the signal from each device, which would probably require a bit more decoding than just detecting a signal and a direction.
    – jcaron
    Jul 14, 2022 at 14:55
  • @jcaron thanks for the info. Which type of decoding are you referring to for example? Jul 14, 2022 at 15:20
  • Actually decoding the signal at least (which probably uses pretty advanced modulations for any recent generation network). No idea if at that stage there is any identifier you can use to track successive transmissions by the same device, though. Otherwise you may end up needing decryption, which would normally be impossible. No idea if that would be the case or not, there’s probably at least some identifier to find the right encryption settings.
    – jcaron
    Jul 14, 2022 at 16:36
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    Another thing you should consider is that phones are not transmitting continuously. Given the fact it’s a pretty power-consuming activity, they actually try to transmit as little as possible.
    – jcaron
    Jul 14, 2022 at 23:11
  • @jcaron oh I see, I though the signal was somehow constant since I see on my phone the "signal bars" updating quite often. Ok anyways good to know, I will try to find another approach then :) Thanks anyways! Jul 15, 2022 at 8:50


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