Transfer Learning-Based Outdoor Position Recovery with Cellular Data

Yige Zhang, Aaron Yi Ding, Jorg Ott, Mingxuan Yuan, Jia Zeng, Kun Zhang, Weixiong Rao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Telecommunication (Telco) outdoor position recovery aims to localize outdoor mobile devices by leveraging measurement report (MR) data. Unfortunately, Telco position recovery requires sufficient amount of MR samples across different areas and suffers from high data collection cost. For an area with scarce MR samples, it is hard to achieve good accuracy. In this paper, by leveraging the recently developed transfer learning techniques, we design a novel Telco position recovery framework, called sf TLoc, to transfer good models in the carefully selected source domains (those fine-grained small subareas) to a target one which originally suffers from poor localization accuracy. Specifically, sf TLoc introduces three dedicated components: 1) a new coordinate space to divide an area of interest into smaller domains, 2) a similarity measurement to select best source domains, and 3) an adaptation of an existing transfer learning approach. To the best of our knowledge, sf TLoc is the first framework that demonstrates the efficacy of applying transfer learning in the Telco outdoor position recovery. To exemplify, on the 2G GSM and 4G LTE MR datasets in Shanghai, sf TLoc outperforms a non-transfer approach by 27.58 and 26.12 percent less median errors, and further leads to 47.77 and 49.22 percent less median errors than a recent fingerprinting approach NBL.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8967172
Pages (from-to)2094-2110
Number of pages17
JournalIEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Cellular data
  • data driven approach
  • outdoor position
  • transfer learning


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