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Wardriving (take 1)

Started: 2004-08-14 20:45:46

Submitted: 2004-08-14 21:15:07

Visibility: World-readable

This afternoon, Bitscape and I wandered around Louisville and Lafayette (they're co-joined small cities in Colorado, just in case anyone was wondering) in Tobias with Elssbett, my GPS, and wireless card searching for wireless access points.



  • Elssbett, a powerful Dell Inspiron 7000 Pentium II 366 MHz.
  • Garmin eTrex Vista and serial cable.
  • Netgear MA111 USB 802.11b adapter. (I used a USB extension to set it on the dashboard in hopes of getting a better signal.)
  • Tobias, a Plymouth Neon, circa 2000.


I spent the first fifteen minutes trying to figure out if Kismet was doing what I wanted it to do; once I found the log files (Debian tosses them in /var/log/kismet), I was happy. Until I was underway, I didn't discover that integrating GpsDrive and Kismet in real time requires MySQL, so I ended up running gpsd and watching the map in one window while Kismet sniffed (and logged) merrily away in another window. Bitscape and I spent about an hour and a half driving around, mostly in a bizarre figure-eight pattern. We found plenty of networks in the upper-middle-class neighborhoods we drove through, and even a few in bizarre places on otherwise-empty roads.

That map was generated using gpsmap, which is part of kismet. In theory, the colors are supposed to indicate the combined power of the wireless networks, although I abused the power interpolation feature (which is really supposed to be used with regular sampling throughout the area in question); I'm posting this picture mostly because I think it looks cool. The base satellite photography came from Terraserver. The incantations I used (since I'm fairly confident I'll want to know what they were in the future) were:

gpsmap -S 2 -d 1024,768 -s 14 --draw-power --draw-track /var/log/kismet/Kismet-Aug-14*.gps
Bitscape, age 26, is a highly sought white hat hacker and an agent of
social subversion. An avid fan of salsa, developer-centric web design,
and cheesy pop music, Bitscape co-creates a world of love and
acceptance by sharing his vision. He enjoys helping low-tech firms
define their offline strategy, and he's advised many anonymous
unknowns, including the homeless on Pearl Street, escaped mental
patients, and hookers on East Colfax. As an aspiring web bum, he
applies his knowledge to a community venture, the Content Collective.
Bitscape resides in Westminster, Colorado, but may soon be moving into
a van down by the river. For speaking arrangements, don't bother
calling. Your bits will be lost in the noise.
- Bitscape's Lounge splash screen, October 2002