Saturday, August 20, 2005

WiGLE - Plotting WiFi on Maps

WiGLE - Wireless Geographic Logging Engine - Plotting WiFi on Maps:

"Worldwide database and mapping of 3,608,479 wireless networks, since September 2001."

If used with JiGLE (it's Java, desktop client), a GPS unit and a laptop - you can map your own WiFi hotspots in your area or wherever you take your laptop.

The database is extremely comprehensive and it isn't all that difficult to use.

You can find a installation & usage demo video at:

The only significant downside (but easily overcome) is that it uses it's own, custom generated maps that aren't part of any real standard or easily convertable to a typical format for GIS use. The reason for this seems to be that the developers have created their own mapping engine for the desktop clients (map viewing programs).

That doesn't mean you can't use the WiFi points in the database in a standard GIS application, such as ArcGIS. You just need to download the points and create a shapefile (or other) from them on your own. Go to the Query page (must be registered) and perform your query. Download the points (includes Lat/Long) and you can then build your shapefile (or other) from that.

Their is an API available & published on the site, so that you can write a script/program to download this information with little to no user interaction and create/update your shapefiles on the fly.

If you are very ambitious you could create a program that converted the mappacks to a standard GIS format...but you'll have to dig through the JiGLE code to figure out the internal workings/format of the mappack files.


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