|Headquarters||Boston, Massachusetts, United States|
|Key people||'Ted Morgan, CEO & Co-Founder
Mike Shean, VP of Business Development & Co-Founder
Nick Brachet, CTO
Farshid Alizadeh, CSO
Steve Solari, COO
Kipp Jones, Senior Architect
|Products||Wi-Fi Positioning System (WPS) & Loki|
|Services||Location Based Services & Positioning Technologies|
Skyhook Wireless (formerly known as Quarterscope) is a Boston-based company that developed Wi-Fi positioning system technology for determining geographical location. Using the MAC addresses of nearby wireless access points and proprietary algorithms, Skyhook's Wi-Fi Positioning System WPS can determine the position of a mobile device within 10–20 meters. It provides service similar to GPS without GPS hardware and can also integrate with GPS-enabled devices to provide hybrid positioning. Skyhook Wireless claims that with sub-second time-to-first-fix, it can obtain 10–20 meter accuracy and near 100% availability indoors and in dense urban areas.
Skyhook's database is gathered through wardriving, and includes more than 250 million wi-fi access points and covers 70 percent of population centers in the United States, Canada, Western Europe and selected Asian countries.
Skyhook Wireless offers Loki, a free 'virtual GPS' toolbar that automatically integrates a user's location with web content such as Google Maps, Fandango, Weather.com, etc. It has been now replaced by a "Find Me" page on the website, as well as tools and SDK's used for adding location-based data to sites such as WeatherBug.com.
At the Macworld Conference & Expo in January 2008, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that both the iPhone and iPod Touch would use Skyhook's WPS as the primary location engine for Google Maps and other applications. All Apple devices utilized Skyhook's WPS until the iPhone/iPad software 3.2 release in April 2010, which utilized Apple's own location technologies.
Skyhook offers a software development kit (SDK), which allows developers to create location-enabled applications. This uses Skyhook's software-only Wi-Fi Positioning System on the platform of their choice. The software development kit is compatible with all GPS NMEA applications, and provides excellent accuracy and confidence estimation.
Privacy and hacking
An article written in February 2008 by Terry Stenvold, and published in the summer 2008 edition of the magazine 2600, describes how to use the Skyhook database with an iPhone and a laptop running Linux to identify the location of any router provided that its Mac address is known. There is an associated YouTube video showing how to trick Skyhook's Location Service: the user sets his/her laptop to broadcast a wireless network. He/she sets the MAC address of this network to be the same as the MAC address of the target router. Then using a Skyhook-enabled device, the user connects to the wireless network, and looks up the device's location using Skyhook. Since Skyhook determines locations based on MAC addresses, it will pinpoint the user's location as being near to the target router's physical location, since that is where it believes the MAC address of the wireless network to be.
A 2008 article exposes the underlying protocol to query the Skyhook database for the physical location of any MAC address.
- How It Works: Coverage, Skyhook
- Skyhook powers Apple's new location apps, January 16, 2008, - Mass High Tech - The Journal of New England Technology
- Who We Are:Contact Us, Skyhook Wireless
- "More powerful maps, multi-person SMS lead new iPhone features" at Macworld
- In April, Apple Ditched Google And Skyhook In Favor Of Its Own Location Databases, By MG Siegler, July 29th, 2010, techcrunch
- Skyhook SDK
- Don't 'Locate Me' (PDF) article written in February 2008 by Terry Stenvold, and published in the summer 2008 edition of the magazine 2600
- Youtube Video of Skyhook hack
- Researchers Crack IPhone's Wi-Fi Positioning System
- Get the physical location of wireless router from its MAC address (BSSID)