A study of localization metrics: evaluation of position errors in wireless sensor networks
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For wireless sensor network applications that require location information for sensor nodes, locations of nodes can be estimated by a number of localization algorithms, which inevitably may introduce various types of errors in their estimations. How an application is affected from errors and a location error metric's response to errors may depend on the error characteristics. Therefore it is important to use the right error metric to evaluate the error performance of alternative localization techniques that is possible to use for an application. To date, unfortunately, only simplistic error metrics that depend on the Euclidean distance between an actual node position and its estimate in isolation to the rest of the network has been considered for evaluation of localization algorithms. In this paper, we first clarify the problem with this traditional approach and then propose some alternative and new metrics that consider an overall network topology and its estimate in computing a metric value. We compared the existing and new metrics via simulation experiments done using some typical application and error scenarios, and observed that some new metrics are more sensitive to some type of errors and therefore can distinguish better among alternative localization algorithms for applications that are more sensitive to those types of errors. We also go through a case study with some localization algorithms from literature to give an idea about the practical use of our approach. Finally, we provide a step-by-step guideline for selecting the best metric to use for a given sensor network application. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.