19/08/2012 By dadmin 0

What to record in AIRS?

AIRS allows for recording a variety of possible values from your local device but the question remains: what to record in AIRS?

An answer depends on your particular scenario and what you want to achieve with the recordings. In the following, I will give you a few examples as to what you could record for what type of scenario:

Scenario 1: Activity recording

If you want to record a wide range of activities of what you are doing during a day, what is happening around you and where you go, this scenario is right for you:


Go to the handler settings of AIRS, and enable GPS (location settings) but don’t use network location (since it might use the cell-based location which is not good for tracking movements). Also enable BT in the Bluetooth settings. In the Media Folders settings, enable the tracking of taking camera pictures. Finally, select all the calendars you want to track in the Calendar settings.

Sensor selection

Now start the local recording with the orange button to select the following sensors:

AS: tracks the surround noise level

BM: battery temperature, gives you an idea of ambient temperature changes

BN and BT: tracks the BT devices around you, giving you a sense of crowdyness of the ambient environment

Ba: tracks your battery usage

Bc: tracks when you charge your battery

Ca: tracks events from the calendars you selected in the settings

CC: gives you a very coarse country-level location (in case everything else fails)

CR: tracks when you are roaming

CS: tracks your cellular signal strength

EB: tracks when you annotate anything via an event widget (you need to place this widget on your homescreen to work)

GI: tracks GPS longitude, latitude, and altitude

GS: tracks your speed via GPS

HS: tracks when plugging in a headset

IC: tracks incoming calls (number and name of callee)

LI: tracks ambient light levels

MO: tracks when you change your mood via a mood widget (you need to place this widget on your homescreen to work)

MP: tracks current artist, track and album being played with Google music

MW: tracks files created when shooting a picture with your camera (if selected in the settings)

OC: tracks outgoing call (name and number)

PU: tracks changes in ambient air pressure (if available on your device)

Rm: tracks available RAM on your devices

SR: tracks received SMS (content, name, number)

SS: tracks sent SMS (content, name, number)

TR: tracks running tasks

VI: tracks weather around you (requires Internet connectivity)

With all of this data, you can create a rich set of activity data. Some of the sensors might not show up in the sensor selection. In this case, the sensor might not be available on your device or it is not enabled in the settings (e.g., the GI sensor is only available when GPS usage is enabled in the GPS settings of AIRS).

Scenario 2: War Driving

War driving scenarios record GPS locations and Wifi information while walking or driving around, effectively creating location-based Wifi maps. This can be easily done in AIRS.


Enable GPS and Wifi usage in the respective GPS and Location settings of AIRS.

Sensor Selection

Select the following sensors after starting the local recording with the orange button:

GI: record GPS information for longitude, latitude and altitude

WI: record Wifi SSID information

WM: record Wifi MAC information

WS: record Wifi signal strength

Alternatively, you can also record WF instead of the last three sensors but it requires that you parse the WF recording yourself (separating the SSID, MAC and signal strength information). With this recording, you can now correlate the GPS information to the Wifi networks available, including the signal strength.

How to use my recordings?

You can use your recordings either by directly visualising the history of recordings by clicking on the notification bar icon of AIRS and selecting any of the sensors in the dialog window being shown. You set the number of values being visualised in the AIRS General settings. For most values, timeline visualisation is used. For the GPS information, a Google map is shown with your track. The same goes for the weather sensor VI (which then shows the weather information at this point when you click on a marker).

Another option is transporting the recordings off your mobile device. You can do this by synchronising the recordings regularly (see  here for how to do this) in a text file format and use the JAR file that you can find in the Github distribution of AIRS for writing the values into a MySQL database on your computer. With this, you can use any visualisation means available (such as PHP-based scripting, using the Google Visualization APIs).

Does AIRS support such templates?

AIRS supports templates being created through its Quick Start shortcut in the local tab of the main UI. When you create a quick start shortcut (which is placed on your Android launcher homescreen), the settings that are valid at the time of creating the shortcut will be saved and restored when you start AIRS with that particular Quick Start – NOTE that all settings will be overwritten with the ones that were saved when using that shortcut!

With that functionality, you can create templates by selecting all your settings and sensor selections according to examples such as below, then create a Quick Start shortcut after having set everything (a tip: rename your ‘Quick Start’ shortcut on your homescreen according to the scenario that you wanted to capture). You can change the settings then again and create another shortcut. Now, if you changed the names on the homescreen, you will have shortcuts for each of your scenarios on your homescreen!!

What do You Use AIRS for?

I’m curious what you use AIRS for to record. Please drop me an email or comment on this blog entry to reveal your personal recording settings. Is this another scenario that you are after or did you vary the above two scenarios slightly?