- Original article
- Open Access
Tag location method integrating GNSS and RFID technology
© The Author(s) 2016
- Received: 16 July 2016
- Accepted: 18 July 2016
- Published: 4 November 2016
Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology has become one of the most prosperous positioning technologies due to its advantages in non-contact and non-line-of-sight sensing. Most of the current positioning applications using RFID were implemented by setting a few RFID readers in some known locations, which were only suitable for the indoor or small area of outdoor positioning. This paper proposed a positioning algorithm by combining vehicle Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and mobile RFID readers. The positioning accuracy is better than ±5 m with an identification distance of 160 m. This method can be used in the outdoor positioning with a rapid and accurate locating of the target objects, which is very helpful for the specific objects positioning and change detection in daily urban management and regulations.
- Tag position
According to Gartner Inc., location-awareness is one of the key technologies in the next few years (GARTNER 2012). Location services are traditional determined by using network and/or mobile-device-based technology (Schmidt-Dannert & SNET 2011). Technologies include cell of origin (also known as cell ID), Angle of arrival (AOA), time of arrival (TOA) and Global Position System (GPS) or assisted GPS (Jing et al. 2015). Location services are widely used in urban management business. Many urban management components, such as breakfast cart, newsstands and billboards, are movable which often resulted in the negative influence on the traffic, cityscape and urban environment (Wu et al. 2008). How to location these movable urban management components rapidly and effectively has become an urgent issue for the urban management administrator.
Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) can be used outdoor without network modification but requires signal availability which is weak in urban complex environment. Therefore, the GNSS location methods can not enough for the dynamic location requirement of urban management business. With the rapid development of the Internet of Things (IOT), automated locating technologies such as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) have proven to be beneficial in management and tracking urban infrastructures. For application research, RFID and ontology are used to location the roadside tree (Kikushige et al. 2011). RFID is used to vehicle location in complex environments such as tunnel and built-ups (Ning et al. 2013). Liu researched location application of urban signboard by RFID (Liu et al. 2012). Integrated method based on GPS and RFID is used to automate the identification and localization of construction components on large project, in which the GPS is for outdoor devices position and RFID is for indoor or lower signal (Torrent & Caldas 2009). For location algorithm research, to overcome some uncertainty in RFID location, Hierarchical Algorithm by fusing an RFID system with an ultrasonic sensor system was proposed (Byoung-Suk et al. 2011). An improved GPS/RFID integration method based on Sequential Iterated Reduced Sigma Point Kalman Filter (SIR-SPKF) was proposed for vehicle navigation application (Peng et al. 2012). For the large shadowing fading problem in wireless indoor location, an indoor location algorithm based on maximum likelihood estimation was developed (Wei et al. 2006). Nearest neighbor algorithm based on reference tags is the most common used algorithm in RFID location (Ni et al. 2003). Based on the historical track of object tags, a method dynamic setting of k value was developed to improve nearest neighbor algorithm accuracy (Wang et al. 2010). Although many research for RFID location, the coordination of RFID was often jointed computed by fixed RFID network (components with RFID readers or tags) with known coordination (Ashok & Marie 2013; Ning et al. 2013; Kuriakose et al. 2014) in above studies. In other words, a prepared network with reference tags or RFID readers must be used, which is cost and impractical for big city.
This paper proposed a novel tag positioning method based on Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and RFID. The location device is composed of GNSS and RFID reader which are mounted on vehicle. The GNSS provides the vehicle position. The RFID reader can get the distance to target RFID tags. Based on the vehicle coordinate and distance, the target tags can be located. This paper is organized as follow. In Tag location method based on GNSS and RFID section, we provide the detail design and implementation of proposed method. Experiments section presents the experiment and data analysis. Conclusion section draws conclusion and gives suggestion for future work.
Components for positioning system
Workflow of location algorithm
Data capture including both GNSS and RFID data when vehicle is moving.
Data optimization includes filtering bad ranging points data and GNSS data.
Data synchronization for ranging points and GNSS points based on time.
Data classification which means the data with specific ID is assigned to the corresponding target tag;
Target tag’ coordinate calculation based on more than 3 ranging points.
Where, A(x a , y a ) and B(x b , y b ) are two known points, the distance between A and P is d a , and d b is the distance between B and P, and then the P(x p , y p ) is the calculated coordinate. But, based on theory of triangle geometry, there are two triangles if known all three sides of a triangle. It is means there are two possible position of target point P (point P and P 1 , as shown in Fig. 4b), which are lies two side of line A and B. From the algebra, equation (1) is a binary quadratic polynomial, and may be has 0, 1 or 2 possible solutions. Integrating the triangle geometry, in this paper, it has two solutions. To determine the right position for target tag, three or more ranging points are included in calculation. Each two of these ranging points jointed target point can form a triangle and get two possible target tag positions. But one of two positions is the same to all possible target tags. For example in Fig. 4b, ranging points A and B can form a triangle with target tag, and get two possible position P and P1. Ranging point B and C can form another triangle and get two candidate positions P and P2. Point P is the common point in two triangles; therefore P is the right target tag position.
For ranging data verification, a 200 m base line composed of 20 points with interval 10 m is designed, as shown in Fig. 5a. The true value of 20 points is gotten by Leica GPS (a high accurate survey device). The accuracy of ranging data is compared to its’ true value. Therefore, the threshold ranging data is validated for higher accuracy.
For tag position accuracy verification, several fixed points with true value are selected and deployed a tag respectively, shown in Fig. 5b. As the vehicle moving along route, target tag coordinate are calculated. Comparing the measured tag position and true value of points, the accuracy is validated.
Ranging experiment data
Preset distance (m)
Measured distance (m)
Preset distance (m)
Measured distance (m)
Tag positioning data and error
Calculated coordinate value
Closing error (m)
The coordinates of the movable tags are calculated based on many position fixed radio frequency RFID readers in the traditional radio frequency positioning method. This paper proposed an algorithm by using a single movable radio frequency RFID reader and vehicle GNSS to compute the position of static tags. A vehicle inspection and supervision system has been developed based on this algorithm. The positioning accuracy achieved in this system is better than 5 m within a distance of 160 m, such that this system is good enough for the management of the breakfast vendors, newsstands, billboards and other urban management case studies, which provides a new convenient and accurate approach for the urban supervision and management.
The authors would like to express appreciations to colleagues in our laboratory for their valuable comments and other helps. This research is partially supported by Beijing Natural Science Foundation (Series B) granted No.KZ201210016016, Key Laboratory for Urban Geomatics of National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation granted NO.20141204NY and Science Foundation of Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture granted NO.ZF15071.
All authors have seen the manuscript and approved to submit to this journal. The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
MD, CJ and MD conceived and designed the study. MD and CJ developed the system and process the figures. MD contributed in the preparation of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript.
Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
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