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ACCURATE GEOLOCATION IN THE PRESENCE OF OUTLIERS USING LINEAR

PROGRAMMING
Joseph S. Picard and Anthony J. Weiss
School of Electrical Engineering - Systems Department
Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel
phone: + 97236407460, fax: + 97236405027, email: {picard,ajw}@eng.tau.ac.il
ABSTRACT
Precise geolocation have attracted considerable interest in the
engineering literature. Almost all previous publications con-
sider small measurement errors. In this paper we discuss ge-
olocation in the presence of outliers, where several measure-
ments are severely corrupted while other measurements are
reasonably accurate. It is known that Maximum Likelihood
or Least Squares provide poor results under these conditions.
We demonstrate how using the ℓ
1
norm and linear program-
ming we can detect the outliers and use only the good mea-
surements for providing the final location estimate. More-
over, we provide bounds on the number of outliers that can
be detected and eliminated.
1. INTRODUCTION
This work has been motivated by a frequent problem in a
large scale commercial geolocation system mainly used for
tracking stolen luxury cars, controlling vehicle fleets and per-
sonal navigation [1]. The system consists of sensors dis-
tributed over a large geographical area, very much like rural
cellular base-stations. The stations intercept signals trans-
mitted by the mobile devices. The time synchronized receiv-
ing stations record the mobile device signal time of arrival
(TOA). The TOA measurements are transferred to a central
processing unit for obtaining an estimate of the mobile de-
vice location. Geolocation based on TOA has been known
for long time and is a standard non-linear estimation prob-
lem with known solutions [2]. However, the commercial
system mentioned above provides between 7 and 40 TOA
measurements for each mobile device where a considerable
number of these measurements (up to 20%) are unreliable
(outliers). The large errors may be the result of multipath, in-
terference, jamming, or even poor synchronization of some
stations. In order to provide a reliable location estimate it
is required to identify the outliers (or, equivalently, the set
of consistent measurements) and either correct the large er-
rors or eliminate the wrong measurements from the data se-
lected for location estimation. The identification of the out-
liers is known to be NP hard and therefore the relatively sim-
ple problem of location estimation based on TOA requires
excessive computer resources in the presence of outliers.
For example, the identification of k (say 10) outliers out of
m (say 40) TOA measurements requires the examination of

m
m−k

=

40
30

= 847, 660, 528 subsets of measurements when
k is known. Since the number of outliers is not known in
advance it is required to examine even more subsets.
This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grant
No. 218/08), the Institute for Future Technologies Research named for the
Medvedi, Shwartzman and Gensler Families and by the Center for Absorp-
tion in Science, Israel.
We propose to identify the outliers by using recent re-
sults in sparse representation of signals. Consider the lin-
ear set of equations s = Br where s is a vector that has a
representation r in the span of B, a.k.a. as dictionary. In
some applications the sparsest r is desired. The representa-
tion is sparse if the dictionary is over complete, i.e., B has
more columns than rows. In this case, s = Br is an under-
determined set of equations that cannot be solved uniquely
by classical methods. In recent publications, it has been
shown that if the sparsest representation is sufficiently sparse,
then not only it is unique, but it can also be easily obtained by
linear programming [3]-[5]. Conditions ensuring uniqueness
of the sparsest solution were established in [6]. The prob-
lem has been extended to a wider variety of bases in [7],[8]
including dictionaries built by concatenation of non-unitary
matrices [9],[10]. Since these approaches are all based on

1
-norm minimization, the validity of sparse representation
by ℓ
1
-norm relaxation was also studied in [11]. The theory
of sparse signal representation has also been used for outliers
identification in [12].
Recent works have exploited these advances by formulat-
ing geolocation as a sparse representation problem involving
the signals collected at several sensors [13]. This method is
known as Compressive Sensing [14], and sparsity is consid-
ered at the level of array signal processing.
Our approach is different since we address a problem oc-
curring after the extraction of location parameters from the
received signals. We assume that TOA, Angle of Arrival
(AOA), Time Difference of Arrival (TDOA) or Received Sig-
nal Strength (RSS) measurements are available, although a
subset is severely corrupted. In a linear formulation of the ge-
olocation problem, an over-determined set of equations must
be solved.
The solution that we are proposing here consists of sev-
eral ingredients. First, we write the quadratic equations of
the TOA measurements as linear equations. See [15]-[16]
for earlier applications of transforming non-linear equations
to linear equations in geolocation applications. Second, we
define an optimization problem in terms of ℓ
1
norm mini-
mization. Third, we solve the optimization problemusing ef-
ficient linear programming methods. As a result we get a list
of outliers, the size of each error and location estimate. Us-
ing the location estimate and the list of good measurements
one can now apply a final, non-linear, localization step using
digital terrain map (DTM) for the ultimate result.
The method described above can also be used for other
geolocation systems such as geolocation based on AOA or
geolocation based on RSS. The main goal of this paper is
to find the limitations of the proposed outliers identification
methods.
2. OVERVIEW
It is well known that geolocation based on AOA, TOA,
TDOA and RSS can be based on a solution of a linear set
of N equations (more details will be provided shortly),
y =Ax+e (1)
The vector x is the vector of unknown parameters which ob-
viously include the coordinates of the transmitter to be lo-
cated. The matrix A and the N×1 data vector y are func-
tions of the available measurements and the known parame-
ters such as the coordinates of the sensing devices. The en-
tries of the error vector e are assumed to be zero (or “small”)
except for a fewentries which are large and therefore referred
to as outliers. The distinction between “small” and “large”
errors is not obvious and therefore we assume, as a first at-
tempt to solve the problem at hand, that most of the entries
in e are zero and only few are different from zero. Thus, the
error vector e is sparse. We search for the vector x that is
associated with the minimal number of outliers. Define [12],
(P
0
) : min
x
Ax−y
0
(2)
(P
1
) : min
x
Ax−y
1
(3)
where ·
0
stands for the ℓ
0
-norm (the number of vector ele-
ments that are not zero) and ·
1
stands for the ℓ
1
-norm (the
sum of absolute values of the vector elements). Formally, we
look for the solution of the minimization problem (P
0
). Un-
fortunately, this problem is NP hard, and therefore one may
consider solving (P
1
). The problem (P
1
) can be solved by
linear programming and according to our numerical experi-
ence works amazingly well.
The challenge is to establish a condition ensuring that the
solution of the tractable problem (P
1
) is also the solution of
the hard problem(P
0
). In this paper, we derive this condition
and show that it depends on the number of outliers. The idea
is to identify a matrix F =0 so that FA= 0. Then equation
(1) reduces to Fy =Fe. Define
(P

0
) : min
e
e
0
s.t. Fy =Fe (4)
(P

1
) : min
e
e
1
s.t. Fy =Fe (5)
In [12] it has been shown that the solution e
0
of the alter-
native problem (P

0
) yields the solution x
0
of (P
0
). Since
the ℓ
0
-norm problem (P

0
) is hard, it is replaced by the alter-
native problem (P

1
). Define the matrix U whose columns
are the normalized eigenvectors of AA
T
associated with the
non-zero eigenvalues. We propose F=I
N
−UU
T
where I
N
is the N ×N identity matrix. We look for a condition en-
suring that the solution of (P

1
) is identical to the solution
of (P

0
). Denote by e
0
the solution of (P

0
) and by S the
set of indices corresponding to non-zero entries of e
0
i.e.,
S = {i ∈ [1, ..., N]|e
0
(i) = 0}. Denote by .
2
the ℓ
2
-norm,
by s the number of elements in S and by δ(S) the s×1 vector
obtained from a vector δ by removing the entries δ
i
, i / ∈ S.
Lemma 1 If any vector δ =0 that satisfies Fδ =0 also sat-
isfies δ(S)
1
<
1
2
δ
1
then the solution of (P

0
) coincides
with the solution of (P

1
).
Lemma 2 Any δ = 0 that satisfies Fδ = 0 also satisfies
δ(S)
1
≤sδ
1
max

U(ℓ, :)
2
2
¸
.
For the proofs of the lemmas, see [6], [8], [17] and [18]. By
combining the two lemmas we can get a condition that guar-
antees equivalence between (P

1
) and (P

0
). This condition is

1
max

{U(ℓ, :)
2
2
} <
1
2
δ
1
which proves Theorem 1.
Theorem 1 If the number of non-zero entries, s, in the solu-
tion of (P

0
) satisfies
s <
1
2max

U(ℓ, :)
2
2

= B (6)
Then (P

1
) and (P

0
) have the same solution and the outliers
can be identified exactly.
The bound above depends on Uwhich is strongly related
to A. In the next section, we establish the structure of the
matrix A for AOA, TOA and TDOA data. Then, in sections
4, 5 and 6 we find corresponding expressions for U. The
effects of small errors on outliers identification are discussed
in section 8. Finally, numerical results are given in section 9.
3. REPRESENTATION OF GEOLOCATION BY
LINEAR EQUATIONS
In this section we cast the usually non-linear geolocation
equations as a set of linear equations.
3.1 Geolocation based on AOA
Assume that N stations collect AOA measurements of a sin-
gle target. Let p
i
= [x
i
, y
i
]
T
represent the i-th station coordi-
nates and p
t
= [x
t
, y
t
]
T
the target coordinates. Let φ
i
be the
AOA (measured anticlockwise w.r.t. the x-axis) at the i-th
station. Then, in the absence of noise, the i-th AOA mea-
surement satisfies (y
t
−y
i
)cosφ
i
= (x
t
−x
i
)sinφ
i
. Define
s [sinφ
1
, · · · , sinφ
N
]
T
c [cosφ
1
, · · · , cosφ
N
]
T
A [s,−c] x [x
t
, y
t
]
T
y [(x
1
sinφ
1
−y
1
cosφ
1
), · · · , (x
N
sinφ
N
−y
N
cosφ
N
)]
T
Then, y =Ax, and in the presence of errors y =Ax+e.
3.2 Geolocation based on TOA
Let m
i
be the measured TOA, c the propagation speed, and
t
0
the known transmit time. In the absence of errors, the
i-th TOA measurement is given by m
i
= c
−1
p
i
−p
t

2
+
t
0
. Substituting the target and sensor coordinates we get,
c
2
(m
i
−t
0
)
2
= p
i

2
+p
t

2
−2p
T
i
p
t
. Collecting the mea-
surements from N sensors, we get y =Ax with
y [p
1

2
, · · · , p
N

2
]
T
−c
2

m⊙m+t
2
0
1
N
−2t
0
m

A

2[p
1
, p
2
, · · · , p
N
]
T
, 1
N

x [p
T
t
, −p
t

2
]
T
where m⊙mis the element-wise product, and 1
N
is an N×1
vector of ones. In the presence of errors we get y =Ax+e.
3.3 Geolocation based on TDOA
If the transmit time, t
0
, is unknown the localization method
is called TDOA. In this case we have,
y [p
1

2
, · · · , p
N

2
]
T
−c
2
(m⊙m)
A

2[p
1
, p
2
, · · · , p
N
]
T
, 1
N
, cm

x [p
T
t
, (c
2
t
2
0
−p
t

2
), −2ct
0
]
T
Again, y =Ax, and in the presence of errors y =Ax+e.
4. NUMBER OF IDENTIFIABLE OUTLIERS IN
AOA GEOLOCATION
We nowestablish the bound on the number of outliers s given
in (6) for AOA geolocation. As shown in Section 3, we have
A = [s, −c]. The eigenvectors of A are c/c and s/s
provided that c
T
s = 0. This orthogonality condition can
always be satisfied by rotating the coordinate system [18].
Thus, U= [s/s, c/c]. According to theorem 1,
B =
c
2
s
2
2max

c
2
sin
2
φ

+s
2
cos
2
φ

(7)
4.1 Application to Uniform Distribution of Sensors
Assume that the sensors are uniformly distributed within a
circular area whose radius is R and its center is at (0, 0). De-
note by (r

, θ

) the polar coordinates of the ℓ-th sensor. The
angles θ

are uniformly distributed in [0, 2π] and the ranges
r

are distributed in [0, R] according to the probability density
function f
r
(r) =
2r
R
2
. For large N, c
2
and s
2
tend to
N
2
.
Then B(N) =
N
4
+o(N).
4.2 Application to Circular Sensor Array
The sensors are uniformly distributed on a circle with radius
R. The coordinates of the ℓ-th sensor are x

= Rcosθ

, y

=
Rsinθ

where θ

= 2πℓ/N. Assume that the transmitter is
located on the x-axis at coordinates (d, 0) where d > 0. We
show in [18] that for large N the bound tends to N/4 for
a transmitter within the circle of sensors, and to N/6 for a
remote transmitter. Furthermore, for any N, including small
N, if d ∈ [0, R] then B(N) ≥
N
4

1
2
.
4.3 Application to Concentric Circular Sensor Arrays
Consider K concentric circles. Assume that N
k
sensors are
located on the k-th circle and that N
k
= R
k
N
1
, where N
1
≫1
is the number of sensors on the smallest circle whose radius
is R
1
= 1. Further, assume that R
1
< R
2
< · · · < R
K
. Then,
for a transmitter located at coordinates (d, 0),
B
a
(N) =

N
4
d ≤R
1
N
1
4

1
d
2

k−1
j=1
R
3
j
+∑
K
j=k
R
j

d ∈ [R
k−1
, R
k
]
N
2

2R
2
K

K
j=1
R
j

K
j=1
R
3
j
+1

−1
d ≫R
K
converges asymptotically to a bound stricter than B(N) [18].
5. NUMBER OF IDENTIFIABLE OUTLIERS IN
TOA GEOLOCATION
As shown in section 3, A = [2x
b
, 2y
b
, 1
N
] where x
b
, y
b
are
the x and y coordinates of all the sensors. The eigenvec-
tors of A are x
b
/x
b
, y
b
/y
b
and 1
N
/

N provided that
1
T
N
x
b
= 1
T
N
y
b
= x
T
b
y
b
= 0. These orthogonality assump-
tions can always be satisfied by a coordinate system rotation
and an addition of an appropriate artificial outlier measure-
ment [18], which slightly loosens the bound but in turn yields
closed form expressions. Then U =

x
b
x
b

,
y
b
y
b

,
1
N

N

. Ac-
cording to Theorem 1,
B =
x
b

2
y
b

2
2max

¸
y
b

2
x
2

+x
b

2
y
2

¸
+2x
b

2
y
b

2
/N
(8)
5.1 Application to Uniform distribution of sensors
Assume that the sensors are uniformly distributed as in 4.1.
Then x
b

2
=y
b

2
=
NR
2
4
+o(N). Thus, B(N) =
N
10
+o(N)
without any limitation on the location of the transmitter.
5.2 Application to Uniform Circular Sensor Array
Consider a uniform circular array of N sensors as in 4.2.
Then x
b

2
= y
b

2
= NR
2
/2. From (8) we obtain the
bound on the number of outliers is B = N/6.
5.3 Application to Concentric Circular Sensor Arrays
Consider L uniform concentric circular sensor arrays cen-
tered on (0, 0). Assume that the ℓ-th circular array consists
of N

≥ 3 sensors. The coordinates of the k-th sensor of the
ℓ-th array of radius r

are

r

cos(θ
ℓ,k


), r

sin(θ
ℓ,k


)

where α

∈ [0, 2π] and θ
ℓ,k
= 2πk/N

for k = 1, ..., N

. De-
fine r
2

1
N

L
ℓ=1
N

r
2

. Then we get from (8) the bound
B = N/(4max
¸
r
2

/r
2
¸
+2) for any N.
5.4 Application to Uniform Linear Sensor Array
Consider a uniform linear array of sensors placed on the
x axis between −R/2 and R/2. The sensor separation is
R/(N −1). Observe that y
b

2
= 0 and x
b

2
= R
2 N
12
N+1
N−1
.
Since y
b
= 0 the eigenvectors of the matrix A are U =
[
x
b
x
b

,
1
N

N
]. Then, B = N/(6
N−1
N+1
+2) and B tends to
N
8
.
6. NUMBER OF IDENTIFIABLE OUTLIERS IN
TDOA GEOLOCATION
As shown in section 3, A= [2x
b
, 2y
b
, 1
N
, cm]. The eigen-
vectors of A are
x
b
x
b

,
y
b
y
b

,
1
N

N
and
m
m
provided that they
are orthogonal. These orthogonality conditions can always
be satisfied by coordinate system rotation and translation and
an addition of an appropriate artificial outlier measurement
[18]. Under these orthogonality conditions the bound is
B =

2max

x
2

x
b

2
+
y
2

y
b

2
+
m
2

m
2
¸
+
2
N

−1
(9)
6.1 Application to Uniform Distribution of Sensors
Consider a uniform distribution of sensors as in 5.1. Without
loss of generality, select t
0
=−
E{r

}
c
. We show in [18] that
B(N) =
N
18
+o(N).
6.2 Application to Uniform Circular Sensor Array
Consider a uniformcircular array of sensors as in 4.2. Again,
assume that t
0
= −
E{r

}
c
where r

is the range between the
transmitter and the ℓ-th sensor. We show in [18] that for
N ≥3 the bound is B(N) =

2max

m
2

m
2
+
6
N

−1
and
B(N) =

N/6 d = 0
N/10 d = 0
+
or d ≫R
Np/(4p +4)+o(N) d = R where p = 2 −
16
π
2
Further, for finite N a good approximation for B is
B
a
(N) =

(N/10)

1 −
1
3
d
R

0 < d ≤R
(N/10)

1 −
R
5d−2R

d > R
7. HIDDEN ERRORS
We show nowthat some measurement errors do not affect the
consistency of the linear equations set. According to section
3, the AOA k-th linear equation is {y}
k
=x
k
sinφ
k
−y
k
cosφ
k
where φ
k
is the errorless AOA measurement. In the presence
of perturbations, denote by ε
k
the k-th measurement error and
by
ˆ
φ
k

k

k
the k-th actual measurement. We showin [18]
that e
k
= 2r
k
sin(ε
k
/2)cos(ε
k
/2 +φ
k
−θ
k
).The cosine term
is zero for ε
k
= 2(θ
k
−φ
k
) ±π. Then e
k
= 0 although ε
k
= 0.
Thus, there are cases of errors in the measurements that do
not appear as an error in the linear equations and therefore
do not affect the correct solution.
Similarly, according to section 3, and under the assump-
tion that t
0
= 0, the exact TOA measurements are m
k
=
1
c
p
k
−p
t
and the corresponding linear equation is {y}
k
=
p
k

2
−c
2
m
2
k
. If the k-th TOA measurement ˆ m
k
is impre-
cise, we have ˆ m
k
= m
k
+
ε
k
c
where ε
k
is the ranging error.
Then e
k
= −ε
k
(2p
k
−p
t

k
), see [18] for details. If
ε
k
= −2p
k
−p
t
then e
k
= 0, meaning that this measure-
ment error does not affect the linear equations and their solu-
tion. Note that this measurement error corresponds to ˆ m
k
<t
0
and therefore is likely to be removed from the TOA data set.
If t
0
is unknown, as in TDOA, the error cannot be detected
easily before emitter localization.
We have revealed the existence of hidden errors that af-
fect the measurements and therefore the nonlinear estima-
tion problem, but do not affect the linear set of equations.
Of course, hidden errors are not likely to occur since they
must satisfy the condition e
k
= 0 described above. However,
the probability of small values for e
k
may not be negligible.
Thus, we extend the concept of hidden outliers to any large
ε
k
for which e
k
is small.
Proposition 2 Robustness to Hidden Outliers - In the pres-
ence of small errors, solving nonlinear localization problems
by means of a linear set of equations ensures robustness to
hidden outliers.
8. STABILITY IN THE PRESENCE OF SMALL
ERRORS
Recall that our model in (1) assumed that the error vector e
consists of a few large entries called outliers and all other
entries are zero. This model assumes that small errors do not
exist. The original problem can be written as (P

1,0
) where
(P

1,ε
) : min
e
e
1
s.t. Fy−Fe
2
2
≤ε
In the presence of small errors we add a non-sparse vector
n, y = Ax+e +n. Assuming bounded small errors, pro-
jection using F yields Fy = Fe +Fn and Fn ≤ ε. Thus
we are interested in solving (P

1,ε
) with ε > 0. Denote by e
and e
n
the solutions of (P

1,ε
) in the absence and in the pres-
ence of small errors. By continuity of the penalty and con-
straint functions, we can justify the existence of a function
f (ε) so that lim
ε→0
f (ε) =0 and |e(k)−e
n
(k)| < f (ε) for any k.
For a non-outlier entry we have e(k) = 0 and |e
n
(k)| < f (ε).
Thus, the solutions e and e
n
have identical support provided
that all the entries of e
n
satisfying |e
n
(k)| < f (ε) are set to
0. Therefore, outliers identification in the presence of suffi-
ciently small errors can be achieved by linear programming.
0 5 10 15 20 25 30
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Number of sensors N
B
o
u
n
d

o
n

t
h
e

n
u
m
b
e
r

o
f

o
u
t
l
i
e
r
s


B
e
B
B
a
Figure 1: The experimental bound, (B
e
), the theoretical
bound on the number of outliers, (B), and its approximation,
(B
a
), versus the number N of TOA sensors in the circular
array
9. NUMERICAL EXAMPLES
In previous sections, we discussed a sufficient condition en-
suring the identification of outliers within a set of AOA, TOA
or TDOA measurements by means of linear programming.
The condition limits the number of identifiable outliers by an
upper bound. In this section we examine the tightness of the
upper bound by numerical simulations.
9.1 Outliers identification in TOA models
Recall that a range measurement error ε
k
generates a linear
equation error e
k
= −ε
k
(2r
k

k
) where r
k
is the distance
of the k-th sensor from the transmitter. We define an er-
ror as an outlier if |ε
k
| ≥ αr
k
with α = 0.1 Furthermore,
for a given topology one can generally establish an upper
bound on the largest distance between the transmitter and the
sensors. Range measurements with excessively large errors
can be removed before processing. Thus, one can define a
topology-dependent scalar D so that 0 ≤r
k

k
≤D for any
k. Thus, an outlier error e
k
resulting from ε
k
, satisfies
e
k

−D
2
+r
2
k
, −α(2 +α)r
2
k

αr
2
k
, (2 −α)r
2
k

(10)
In the simulations the outlier error have been uniformly dis-
tributed within the interval defined in (10).
In this example, small errors have not been simulated.
Consider a uniform circular array of TOA sensors. Assume
the array has a radius of 1 distance unit [DU] and that the
emitter is located within this array. The maximum distance
between the transmitter and the sensors is 2 [DU]. Thus,
D = 2 [DU]. The bound B
a
= N/6 is independent of the
transmitter location. For each of the N
e
= 200 experiments
the transmitter location is selected at random within the cir-
cular area of the sensor array, and we identify the smallest
number of outliers for which identification fails. The result
of the i-th experiment is denoted by k
i
. The experimental
bound is B
e
= min
1≤i≤N
e
k
i
. Denote by ˆ e the estimate of e by
solving (P

1
) using linear programming. We define failure
when some outliers are not identified or some good measure-
ments are classified as outliers. Since the experiments are
based on numerical solutions, we define perfect outliers iden-
tification when max
1≤i≤N
| ˆ e
i
−e
i
| < 10
−6
. In Fig. 1, we plotted
the bounds B
e
, B and B
a
versus N. The bound B appears to
be rather tight.
0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 0.3
0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
Standard deviation σ of ranging measurement noise [DU]
R
M
S
E

o
f

l
o
c
a
t
i
o
n

e
s
t
i
m
a
t
e
s

[
D
U
]


0 outliers, LS
0 outliers, LP+LS
5 outliers, LS
5 outliers, LP+LS
10 outliers, LS
10 outliers, LP+LS
Figure 2: RMSE of LS location estimates versus standard
deviation of ranging small errors. Thin lines show results of
straightforward LS while thick lines show results with out-
liers removal step.
9.2 Localization in the Presence of Small Errors and
Outliers
In this section we examine the precision of least squares (LS)
location estimates with and without outliers identification.
The measurements in the presence of noise (small errors) and
outliers are given by y =Ax+e+n. The LS estimate of x
is given by ˆ x
0
=A

y where A

is the pseudo-inverse of A.
A better way to estimate x may be to first apply linear pro-
gramming in order to estimate the error vector

e+n. Then
apply LS to the modified data ˆ x
e
=A

(y−

e+n).
We performed 200 experiments with a uniform circular
array of radius 1 [DU] consisting of N = 30 TOA sensors.
The number of outliers s was successively set to 0, 5 and 10,
corresponding to 0%, 16% and 33% of the equations. The
outliers size correspond to (10). The small ranging errors
are realizations of zero-mean gaussian randomvariables with
standard deviation σ. Fig. 2 shows the RMSE of location
estimates versus σ. Note that σ = 0.3 [DU] is not negligi-
ble compared with the error-free measurements and therefore
the number of outliers is occasionally increased. According
to Fig. 2, in the presence of 5 or 10 outliers, it is always
significantly advantageous to remove the outliers by linear
programming before LS estimation, regardless of the noise
variance. In the absence of outliers, a slight performance
degradation may be observed if preprocessing is used. Note
however that if no outlier is found the preprocessing can be
ignored.
10. CONCLUSION
We have invoked the theory of sparse signal representation
in the context of positioning. We have shown that in the ab-
sence of noise, AOA, TOA and TDOA data sets corrupted
by unknown outliers can be corrected using linear program-
ming, provided that the number of outliers does not exceed
a limit given in Theorem 1. In Sections 4, 5 and 6 the limit
given in (6) has been evaluated for several geometries. For
each case, the exact expression of the bound and simple ap-
proximations were presented. In followup work we focus on
outliers in the presence of small errors.
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with the solution of (P1 Lemma 2 Any δ = 0 that satisfies Fδ = 0 also satisfies δ (S) 1 ≤ s δ 1 max U(ℓ. / Lemma 1 If any vector δ = 0 that satisfies Fδ = 0 also sat′ isfies δ (S) 1 < 1 δ 1 then the solution of (P0 ) coincides 2 ′ ). · · · . Then. p2 . · · · .2 Geolocation based on TOA min e In [12] it has been shown that the solution e0 of the alter′ native problem (P0 ) yields the solution x0 of (P0 ). Define [12].t. − pt 2 ]T where m⊙m is the element-wise product. Then equation (1) reduces to Fy = Fe. pN ]T .. it is replaced by the alter′ native problem (P1 ). 3. The idea is to identify a matrix F = 0 so that FA = 0. cos φN ]T [s. and therefore one may consider solving (P1 ). yi ]T represent the i-th station coordinates and pt = [xt . yt ]T the target coordinates. this problem is NP hard. −2ct0 ]T Again.. y = Ax. . TOA and TDOA data. s. Finally. 2 the ℓ2 -norm.t. The matrix A and the N × 1 data vector y are functions of the available measurements and the known parameters such as the coordinates of the sensing devices. · · · .−c] x [xt . We look for a condition en′ suring that the solution of (P1 ) is identical to the solution ′ ). Denote by e the solution of (P′ ) and by S the of (P0 0 0 set of indices corresponding to non-zero entries of e0 i. y = Ax. t0 . y = Ax + e (1) For the proofs of the lemmas. · · · . ℓ The vector x is the vector of unknown parameters which obviously include the coordinates of the transmitter to be located. This condition is 2 1 s δ 1 max{ U(ℓ.2. i ∈ S. We search for the vector x that is associated with the minimal number of outliers. and t0 the known transmit time. the x-axis) at the i-th station. c2 (mi − t0 )2 = pi 2 + pt 2 − 2pT pt . Since ′ the ℓ0 -norm problem (P0 ) is hard. 3. REPRESENTATION OF GEOLOCATION BY LINEAR EQUATIONS In this section we cast the usually non-linear geolocation equations as a set of linear equations. 3. Fy = Fe s. we look for the solution of the minimization problem (P0 ). Collecting the meai surements from N sensors. The distinction between “small” and “large” errors is not obvious and therefore we assume. · · · . is unknown the localization method is called TDOA. :) 2 . The effects of small errors on outliers identification are discussed in section 8. Define the matrix U whose columns are the normalized eigenvectors of AAT associated with the non-zero eigenvalues. In this case we have. 3. numerical results are given in section 9. (P0 ) : (P1 ) : min Ax − y x Theorem 1 If the number of non-zero entries. The entries of the error vector e are assumed to be zero (or “small”) except for a few entries which are large and therefore referred to as outliers.e. the error vector e is sparse. [8]. sin φN ]T c [cos φ1 . 5 and 6 we find corresponding expressions for U. The challenge is to establish a condition ensuring that the solution of the tractable problem (P1 ) is also the solution of the hard problem (P0 ). Substituting the target and sensor coordinates we get. p2 . and in the presence of errors y = Ax + e. We propose F = IN − UUT where IN is the N × N identity matrix. The problem (P1 ) can be solved by linear programming and according to our numerical experience works amazingly well. we derive this condition and show that it depends on the number of outliers. (xN sin φN − yN cos φN )]T 0 1 (2) (3) min Ax − y x where · 0 stands for the ℓ0 -norm (the number of vector elements that are not zero) and · 1 stands for the ℓ1 -norm (the sum of absolute values of the vector elements). Define ′ (P0 ) : ′ (P1 ) : min e e e 0 1 s. we get y = Ax with y A 2 [ p1 2 . 1N . · · · . Thus. see [6]. in the solu′ tion of (P0 ) satisfies s< ′ (P1 ) ′ (P0 ) 1 2 max U(ℓ. yt ]T [(x1 sin φ1 − y1 cos φ1 ) . In this paper. [17] and [18]. Formally. cm 2 [ptT . Define s A y [sin φ1 . TDOA and RSS can be based on a solution of a linear set of N equations (more details will be provided shortly). pN ]T . Fy = Fe (4) (5) Then. pN 2 ]T − c2 (m ⊙ m) 2[p1 . y A x [ p1 2 . Let pi = [xi .r. (c2t0 − pt 2 ). as a first attempt to solve the problem at hand. and 1N is an N ×1 vector of ones. In the presence of errors we get y = Ax + e.. pN 2 ]T − c2 m ⊙ m + t0 1N − 2t0m 2[p1 .t. in the absence of noise. we establish the structure of the matrix A for AOA. TOA. In the absence of errors.. by s the number of elements in S and by δ (S) the s × 1 vector obtained from a vector δ by removing the entries δi . Denote by .1 Geolocation based on AOA Assume that N stations collect AOA measurements of a single target. Unfortunately. 1N x [ptT . Then. that most of the entries in e are zero and only few are different from zero. · · · . The bound above depends on U which is strongly related to A. the i-th AOA measurement satisfies (yt − yi ) cos φi = (xt − xi ) sin φi . in sections 4. :) 2 } < 2 δ 1 which proves Theorem 1. In the next section. . c the propagation speed. N]|e0 (i) = 0}. and in the presence of errors y = Ax + e. OVERVIEW It is well known that geolocation based on AOA. 2 ℓ Let mi be the measured TOA. S = {i ∈ [1. the i-th TOA measurement is given by mi = c−1 pi − pt 2 + t0 .3 Geolocation based on TDOA If the transmit time. :) ℓ 2 2 =B ∆ (6) Then and have the same solution and the outliers can be identified exactly. Let φi be the AOA (measured anticlockwise w. By combining the two lemmas we can get a condition that guar′ ′ antees equivalence between (P1 ) and (P0 ).

U = [s/ s . assume that R1 < R2 < · · · < RK . 4 2 4. θℓ ) the polar coordinates of the ℓ-th sensor. yb . B = N/(4 max rℓ 5.2.. Furthermore. 5. The coordinates of the ℓ-th sensor are xℓ = R cos θℓ .3 Application to Concentric Circular Sensor Arrays Consider K concentric circles.2 Application to Uniform Circular Sensor Array Consider a uniform circular array of N sensors as in 4. These orthogonality conditions can always be satisfied by coordinate system rotation and translation and an addition of an appropriate artificial outlier measurement [18]. Observe that yb 2 = 0 and xb 2 = R2 12 N+1 . Thus.  N d ≤ R1 4   N1 1 k−1 3 K d ∈ [Rk−1 . 2π ] and the ranges rℓ are distributed in [0. Then. Nℓ . Rk ] Ba (N) = 4 d 2 ∑ j=1 R j + ∑ j=k R j  −1 ∑K R j N  2R2 j=1 + 1  d ≫ RK 2 K ∑K 3 j=1 R j 6.1 Application to Uniform Distribution of Sensors Consider a uniform distribution of sensors as in 5.k = 2π k/Nℓ for k = 1. 0). NUMBER OF IDENTIFIABLE OUTLIERS IN AOA GEOLOCATION We now establish the bound on the number of outliers s given in (6) for AOA geolocation. This orthogonality condition can always be satisfied by rotating the coordinate system [18]. 2yb . . which slightly loosens the bound but in turn yields 1 closed form expressions. The sensor separation is N R/(N − 1). 2yb . B= 2 max ℓ m2 ℓ 6 +N −1 and  d=0 N/6 d = 0+ or d ≫ R B(N) = N/10  16 N p/(4p + 4)+ o(N) d = R where p = 2 − π 2 Further. A = [2xb . The angles θℓ are uniformly distributed in [0. −c]. The eigenvec√ tors of A are xb / xb . 0). for a transmitter located at coordinates (d. For large N. NUMBER OF IDENTIFIABLE OUTLIERS IN TOA GEOLOCATION As shown in section 3. Then xb 2 = yb 2 = NR2 /2. R] then B(N) ≥ N − 1 . yb are the x and y coordinates of all the sensors. B = N/(6 N−1 + 2) and B tends to N . As shown in Section 3. √N ]. Again.1. 4 4. and to N/6 for a remote transmitter. Assume that the ℓ-th circular array consists of Nℓ ≥ 3 sensors.2. 2π ] and θℓ. 0) where d > 0. According to theorem 1. Denote by (rℓ .. 2 Then B(N) = N + o(N). These orthogonality assumpb tions can always be satisfied by a coordinate system rotation and an addition of an appropriate artificial outlier measurement [18]. 5. 2 N Then xb 2 = yb 2 = NR + o(N).k + αℓ ). N−1 Since yb = 0 the eigenvectors of the matrix A are U = 1 [ xb . B= 2 max ℓ 5. √N . yℓ = R sin θℓ where θℓ = 2π ℓ/N. yb / yb and 1N / N provided that T T 1N xb = 1N yb = xT yb = 0. for any N.1 Application to Uniform Distribution of Sensors Assume that the sensors are uniformly distributed within a circular area whose radius is R and its center is at (0. B(N) = 10 + o(N) 4 without any limitation on the location of the transmitter.1. From (8) we obtain the bound on the number of outliers is B = N/6. R] according to the probability density 2r function fr (r) = R2 . Thus. We show in [18] that c N B(N) = 18 + o(N). The eigenvectors of A are c/ c and s/ s provided that cT s = 0. Assume that Nk sensors are located on the k-th circle and that Nk = Rk N1 . Then U = xb . Further. 6.1 Application to Uniform distribution of sensors Assume that the sensors are uniformly distributed as in 4. The eigen1 vectors of A are xb .3 Application to Concentric Circular Sensor Arrays Consider L uniform concentric circular sensor arrays centered on (0. c 2 and s 2 tend to N . where N1 ≫ 1 is the number of sensors on the smallest circle whose radius is R1 = 1. Under these orthogonality conditions the bound is B = 2 max ℓ x2 ℓ xb 2 + y2 ℓ yb 2 + m 2 m2 ℓ 2 +N −1 (9) 6. De1 L 2 fine r2 N ∑ℓ=1 Nℓ rℓ . 1N ] where xb .4. for finite N a good approximation for B is Ba (N) = d (N/10) 1 − 1 R 3 R (N/10) 1 − 5d−2R xb 2 yb 2 yb 2 x2 + xb 2 y2 + 2 xb ℓ ℓ 2 yb 2 /N (8) 0<d ≤R d>R . cm].4 Application to Uniform Linear Sensor Array Consider a uniform linear array of sensors placed on the x axis between −R/2 and R/2. c/ c ]. NUMBER OF IDENTIFIABLE OUTLIERS IN TDOA GEOLOCATION As shown in section 3. √N and m provided that they xb yb m N are orthogonal.2 Application to Uniform Circular Sensor Array Consider a uniform circular array of sensors as in 4. We show in [18] that for large N the bound tends to N/4 for a transmitter within the circle of sensors. rℓ sin(θℓ. 0). select t0 = − E{rℓ } . we have A = [s. Acxb yb N cording to Theorem 1. if d ∈ [0. Without loss of generality.k + αℓ ) where αℓ ∈ [0. N+1 8 x N b c 2 s 2 c 2 sin2 φℓ + s 2 cos2 φ ℓ (7) 4. We show in [18] that for N ≥ 3 the bound is B(N) = 2 max ℓ m 2 converges asymptotically to a bound stricter than B(N) [18]. A = [2xb .. Then we get from (8) the bound 2 /r2 + 2) for any N. Then. E{r } assume that t0 = − c ℓ where rℓ is the range between the transmitter and the ℓ-th sensor. 1N . including small N.2 Application to Circular Sensor Array The sensors are uniformly distributed on a circle with radius R. yb . The coordinates of the k-th sensor of the ℓ-th array of radius rℓ are rℓ cos(θℓ. Assume that the transmitter is located on the x-axis at coordinates (d. 5.

we discussed a sufficient condition ensuring the identification of outliers within a set of AOA.1 Outliers identification in TOA models Recall that a range measurement error εk generates a linear equation error ek = −εk (2rk + εk ) where rk is the distance of the k-th sensor from the transmitter. We define failure when some outliers are not identified or some good measurements are classified as outliers. 1. In Fig. Similarly. we define perfect outliers identification when max |ei − ei | < 10−6 . outliers identification in the presence of sufficiently small errors can be achieved by linear programming. Consider a uniform circular array of TOA sensors. The bound B appears to be rather tight. Then ek = 0 although εk = 0. versus the number N of TOA sensors in the circular array 9. According to section 3. If t0 is unknown. 8. B and Ba versus N. STABILITY IN THE PRESENCE OF SMALL ERRORS Recall that our model in (1) assumed that the error vector e consists of a few large entries called outliers and all other entries are zero. Assuming bounded small errors. Thus. We define an error as an outlier if |εk | ≥ α rk with α = 0.In the presence of small errors. and its approximation. Proposition 2 Robustness to Hidden Outliers . Since the experiments are based on numerical solutions. We have revealed the existence of hidden errors that affect the measurements and therefore the nonlinear estimation problem. For each of the Ne = 200 experiments the transmitter location is selected at random within the circular area of the sensor array. satisfies 2 2 2 2 ek ∈ −D2 + rk . an outlier error ek resulting from εk . Denote by e ′ ) in the absence and in the presand en the solutions of (P1. we have mk = mk + c where εk is the ranging error. the probability of small values for ek may not be negligible. The maximum distance between the transmitter and the sensors is 2 [DU]. Of course.0 ) where ′ (P1. one can define a topology-dependent scalar D so that 0 ≤ rk + εk ≤ D for any k. as in TDOA. ˆ Then ek = −εk (2 pk − pt + εk ). (B). −α (2 + α )rk ∪ α rk . there are cases of errors in the measurements that do not appear as an error in the linear equations and therefore do not affect the correct solution. we plotted ˆ 1≤i≤N 1≤i≤Ne For a non-outlier entry we have e(k) = 0 and |en (k)| < f (ε ). y = Ax + e + n. If the k-th TOA measurement mk is impreˆ k εk cise. the bounds Be . NUMERICAL EXAMPLES In previous sections. The original problem can be written as (P1. hidden errors are not likely to occur since they must satisfy the condition ek = 0 described above. the error cannot be detected easily before emitter localization. In this example. Note that this measurement error corresponds to mk < t0 ˆ and therefore is likely to be removed from the TOA data set. Thus. denote by εk the k-th measurement error and ˆ by φk = φk + εk the k-th actual measurement. The experimental bound is Be = min ki . (2 − α )rk (10) min e e 1 s. Thus ′ we are interested in solving (P1. projection using F yields Fy = Fe + Fn and Fn ≤ ε . the solutions e and en have identical support provided that all the entries of en satisfying |en (k)| < f (ε ) are set to 0. D = 2 [DU]. the AOA k-th linear equation is {y}k = xk sin φk − yk cos φk where φk is the errorless AOA measurement. solving nonlinear localization problems by means of a linear set of equations ensures robustness to hidden outliers. we can justify the existence of a function f (ε ) so that lim f (ε ) = 0 and |e(k) − en (k)| < f (ε ) for any k. Thus. TOA or TDOA measurements by means of linear programming. ε →0 In the simulations the outlier error have been uniformly distributed within the interval defined in (10). In the presence of perturbations. small errors have not been simulated. Thus. The bound Ba = N/6 is independent of the transmitter location. Thus. and we identify the smallest number of outliers for which identification fails. the exact TOA measurements are mk = 1 c pk − pt and the corresponding linear equation is {y}k = pk 2 − c2 m2 .t. . If εk = −2 pk − pt then ek = 0. The result of the i-th experiment is denoted by ki . However. but do not affect the linear set of equations. (Be ). We show in [18] that ek = 2rk sin (εk /2)cos (εk /2 + φk − θk ). and under the assumption that t0 = 0. (Ba ). This model assumes that small errors do not ′ exist. according to section 3. Denote by e the estimate of e by ˆ ′ solving (P1 ) using linear programming. see [18] for details.ε ) with ε > 0.1 Furthermore. Assume the array has a radius of 1 distance unit [DU] and that the emitter is located within this array. the theoretical bound on the number of outliers. Range measurements with excessively large errors can be removed before processing. HIDDEN ERRORS We show now that some measurement errors do not affect the consistency of the linear equations set. we extend the concept of hidden outliers to any large εk for which ek is small. Thus. Fy − Fe 2 2 ≤ε In the presence of small errors we add a non-sparse vector n. meaning that this measurement error does not affect the linear equations and their solution.7. 9.The cosine term is zero for εk = 2(θk − φk ) ± π . Therefore.ε ) : Bound on the number of outliers 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 0 5 10 15 20 Number of sensors N 25 30 Be B Ba Figure 1: The experimental bound. By continuity of the penalty and constraint functions. for a given topology one can generally establish an upper bound on the largest distance between the transmitter and the sensors. The condition limits the number of identifiable outliers by an upper bound. In this section we examine the tightness of the upper bound by numerical simulations.ε ence of small errors.

52. No. vol. J. 1984. 100. 6.ituran. Donoho. pp. Mallat. RMSE of location estimates [DU] 0. The number of outliers s was successively set to 0. 12.1 0. [9] J. “On Sparse Representations in Pairs of Bases”. Abel. In Sections 4. 1. A. M. pp.il [2] D. 183-198. IEEE Trans. Donoho. 2005. Thin lines show results of straightforward LS while thick lines show results with outliers removal step. 2. S. C. “Time-frequency localization operators: A geometric phase space approach”. Tsaig. Fig. LS 0 outliers. pp. on Information Theory. CONCLUSION We have invoked the theory of sparse signal representation in the context of positioning. on pure and applied math. L. “A Passive Localization Algorithm and its Accuracy Analysis. Mar. June 2004. IEEE Trans. on Signal Proc. Cetin. TOA and TDOA data sets corrupted by unknown outliers can be corrected using linear programming. IEEE Trans. Mar. “Decoding by Linear Programming”. Jan. 50. Theory.25 Standard deviation σ of ranging measurement noise [DU] 0. No. pp. AOA. it is always significantly advantageous to remove the outliers by linear programming before LS estimation.0. on Info. no. OE-12. “The Spherical Interpolation Method of Source Localization. [6] D. “Robust Uncertainty Principles: Exact Signal Reconstruction From Highly Incomplete Frequency Information”. Proc. A. Signal Proc. on Information Theory. no.1 0 0 0. pp. Fuchs. L. IEEE Trans. 2. no. Weiss. pp. 2008. J. 9. Chen. Note that σ = 0. vol. Tao. The measurements in the presence of noise (small errors) and outliers are given by y = Ax + e + n. 5 and 6 the limit given in (6) has been evaluated for several geometries. vol. no. 53. “For Most Large Underdetermined Systems of Linear Equations the Minimal ℓ1 -norm Solution is also the Sparsest Solution”. 1579-1581. [13] D. [17] E. LP+LS REFERENCES [1] http://www. D. 86. T. Daubechies. 49. “Matching Pursuit in a TimeFrequency Dictionary”. [3] I. 1. Gurbuz. “Compressive Wireless Arrays for Bearing Estimation”. 10. vol. OE-12. 41. 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X. 2845-2862. on Signal Proc. Signal Processing. 2006.5 0 outliers. pp. [12] E. Smith. SIAM Journal on Scientific Comp. provided that the number of outliers does not exceed a limit given in Theorem 1. M. 907-934. L. Jun. AES-20. IEEE Trans. Vol. 2006. vol. no. The LS estimate of x is given by x0 = A† y where A† is the pseudo-inverse of A. 33-61.. J. vol.2 0.3 [DU] is not negligible compared with the error-free measurements and therefore the number of outliers is occasionally increased.2 Localization in the Presence of Small Errors and Outliers In this section we examine the precision of least squares (LS) location estimates with and without outliers identification.05 0. 605-612. 16% and 33% of the equations. Zhang. [7] S. T. pp. IEEE Trans. A. For each case. Tao.4 0. 8. Candes. “Statistical Theory of Passive Location System. Aug. “Breakdown of Equivalence between the Minimal ℓ1 -norm Solution and the Sparsest Solution”. LS 5 outliers. 47. on Aerospace and Electronic Systems. 7. Wiley. 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