Detailed Project Instructions

Before You Start

  1. You must be in a group, preferably four people, although 3 and 5 person groups are okay if you've talked to me.
  2. Everyone in your group must be trained.
  3. You must know your map assignment and group number.
  4. Go to wifimaps.com and sign up for an account -one per group.
  5. Get a decent map besides the xeroxed one I gave you - make sure you know exactly where you are going and how to get around there.

Configuring the Equipment

See the equipment page for specifics about each set of equipment and diagrams.

First: be in the car, or near the car.

  1. Put the wi-fi card in the laptop, if it's not already in.
  2. Boot up the laptop.
  3. Set up the GPS unit. This is different depending on what GPS unit you have.
Note: The serial port is sort of metal and rectangular. It looks sort of like this:

A USB port looks like this crappy picture:


Here's a picture of a GPS unit hooked up to a laptop:

Get in the car and launch Netstumbler.

Using Netstumbler

1. Open Netstumbler by clicking on the netstumbler icon on your desktop. 2. Look at the bottom of the application. You should see "GPS: Enabled" or "GPS: Listening" and "1 AP active" or "No AP's active". If you see this, everything's working fine. If you don't see this, you may need to replug in the GPS unit, etc. See the Troubleshooting section of the website.

Here's a screenshot of NetStumbler working properly:

Note: in your case, GPS should read "ENABLED" or "LISTENING" if the GPS is still looking for satellites.

Here's an example with more than one network:

You can see the three networks listed:

CapHillCafe1 (the public internet café wifi network)

Let's look at CapHillCafe1. Clicking on the SSID's menu on the left hand side and opening the CapHillCafe1 menu, clicking on the live green circle brings up this:

The green represents the signal strength of the wireless connection.

If everything appears to be working properly, you should be ready to go.


Before you start driving, familiarize yourself with your assigned area of the city [link coming soon] and work our a driving route that will take you on every street at least once. Have a copy of the map with you in the car, and make sure the driver is just driving and not handling equipment at the same time.

NOTE: GPS may come in and out, especially if you go through tunnels, under overpasses, behind hills, etc. If you're having problems with the GPS, put the laptop on the dash; bend the screen down (but don't close the laptop, that will turn it off). The GPS will work better if it's closer to the window. You may have to hold it outside the car window or at the far edge of your front window as you drive. You will also have to be careful about holding it at the right angle (upright with the screen facing you, not flat).

At this point, as you drive around, Netstumbler will detect all the various wireless networks in the area. You do NOT need to do anything except drive around and listen to Netstumbler pick up networks. It uses audio feedback to tell you what's going on - you should hear a series of chimes, tones, beeps, etc.

If you're not picking up any wireless networks, something is wrong. Check that all the equipment is working correctly and try again.


Uploading Files

At this point, you should have a full screen of wireless points you've picked up. Your next step is to save this data.

1. Go to File > Save As.
2. Name the file Com300_yourmapassignment.ns1.
a. Example: Com300_map1.ns1 or Com300_map2.ns1
3. Keep the ".ns1" file extension. This is a Network Stumbler File.
4. Save the file somewhere you can find it, like the desktop or the My Documents folder.

Once you've saved the file, you need to upload it. GO SOMEWHERE WITH A WIRELESS INTERNET CONNECTION.

1. Go to http://www.wifimaps.com.

2. Login using the account information you previously registered. You should see a screen like this:

3. Click "Upload" at the top of the page.

4. You'll see the following screen:

5. Click "Browse" in the "Send this File" box.

6. In the "Choose File" dialogue, find the .ns1 file you just saved. Click "OK".

7. Click "Send File".

You're done!!

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