How Wireless Technology is Changing Life on the MIT Campus

New wireless communications technologies are changing the way we live and work. This fact is particularly evident at MIT, thanks to the presence of two conditions: 1) the very high percentage of laptop computer ownership on campus; and 2) the existence of one of the most pervasive wireless Internet networks on earth, which includes over 2,800 access points and was completed at the end of October 2005.

The iSPOTS project aims at describing changes in living and working at MIT by mapping the dynamics of the wireless network in real-time. Thus, the complex and dispersed individual movement patterns that make up the daily life of the campus can be revealed, helping TO answer many questions: Which physical spaces are preferred for work in the MIT community? How could future physical planning of the campus suit the community's changing needs? Which location-based services would be most helpful for students and academics?

Also, as many cities around the world are launching extensive wireless initiatives, the analysis of the MIT environment could provide valuable insights for the future. Will today's MIT be tomorrow's norm? Click for more...


This map shows how wireless Internet is used on the MIT campus in real-time. The animation plays through the changing patterns of the last 24 hours and then stops longer at the current condition. Log files indicating the number of users connected to each WiFi access point are collected at 15-minute intervals and then interpolated as a color field, providing a visual comparison between different areas of the campus. Red indicates a large number of users per access point, black a small number.

The top graph shows the total amount of wireless activity on the MIT network during the past seven days. Peaks show daily patterns, while the right-most side of the graph indicates the current condition. The four lower graphs show the same information about specific buildings on campus. Please enter a building number (e.g., 10floor number (e.g., 10-2number (e.g., 10-250rooms of your interest. Only rooms with access-points can be displayed.

This map computes the traces of individuals passing through the MIT campus. Users who are mapped have given their agreement and are managing their visibility at their own will.

:: Click here for the iSPOTS paper [.pdf]

:: Download the images [.zip]

:: See the iSPOTS Poster

iSPOTS team:

Andres Sevtsuk (coordinator), Sonya Huang, Daniel Gutierrez, Justin Moe, David Lee, Xiongjiu Liao, Jia Lou.

In collaboration with MIT IS&T and the MIT Museum