Project Basics

The project has the following steps. Read these carefully!
Also, make sure you check the schedule.

1. Form groups of four students.
At least one student must have access to a car. It would behoove you to group with people with similar schedules to your own, as you will need to spend several hours together being trained on the equipment and undertaking the wardriving project.

When you've formed your group, please fill out this catalyst form with your information BY THURSDAY 11/18 NIGHT.

Alice is not forming groups. It is your responsibility to find a group. If you do not have a group, you are responsible for viewing the current group lists and contacting people on your own.

2. Sign up for a training session.
Training takes approximately 1 hour. Each training session has room for 3 groups of 4 students. Training will take place Friday, 11/19 and Monday, 11/22. Sign up for training on the form outside Alice's office, COM 340L in the grad student hallway.

3. Choose an equipment sign-up date.
Each group will be able to sign out a set of equipment for a full day, or a Friday night morning-Monday morning shift. Equipment includes a laptop running Windows XP, a wi-fi card, a GPS unit and associated cables. You will be expected to take good care of the equipment and treat it as though you were borrowing it from a particularly cantankerous neighbor. Choose your date with care. Dates will fill up FAST and you will want to make sure you have time to get the project done before the final due date. Sign up for equipment in the binder during training or in class 11/18.

4. Get your map assignment.
Each group will be assigned a segment of Seattle. Assignments are here. Each area is different, but they are approximately 25-30 blocks each and comprise areas throughout Downtown, the International District, Capitol Hill, Lower Queen Anne and the Denny Regrade. We will provide you with a xeroxed map of the area, but you should probably get a better map (they are not very detailed). It is your responsibility to figure out how to get to your area.

5. On the appropriate day, pick up the equipment.
Equipment will be available in the 1st floor main Communication office (NOT the undergrad office!) from Nancy Dosmann.

6. Go wardriving!
At this point, you have your group, your car, and your equipment. You will have been trained on how to use the equipment. Basically, you drive around each block in your assigned area with the GPS unit hooked up to a laptop with wi-fi card enabled, running a piece of software called Netstumbler.

Netstumbler uses wi-fi and GPS to detect wireless networks in an area and associate them with a location (latitude & longitude). These can be open wi-fi connections (like the ones at internet cafes) or closed wi-fi connections (like in an office). This is not hacking and it is not illegal or shady in any way; it's just a method for detecting whether or not a connection is present.

The data you collect will be associated with a location. Once you're finished driving around your block, you will save the Netstumbler log file and upload it to a particular account at wifimaps.com.

7. Save and upload your data.
Detailed instructions on how to do this are on the instructions page.

8. Return the equipment by 9:00 a.m. the next morning.

It's okay if this seems confusing! PLEASE try to read all the documentation and ask your classmates before contacting your TA's.

university of washington | department of communication | intro to new media