WiFi Location Data

The University of Michigan’s wireless infrastructure and associated WiFi access points, managed by Information and Technology Services (ITS), provide, monitor and maintain WiFi network connectivity for faculty, students, staff, and guests on the Ann Arbor campus. As part of this work, the system collects basic location data as wireless devices (e.g., computers, phones, tablets, etc.) connect to different WiFi access points as they move around campus.

What WiFi Location Data We Collect

  • User and Device Information
    such as uniqname and device identifier (e.g. MAC address, IP address)
  • Location Information
    such as latitude and longitude of the access point, in addition to the building, floor, and room where the access point to which you are connecting is located
  • Logging Information
    such as date and timestamp for when you connect to and disconnect from each access point

How We Use WiFi Location Data

The University of Michigan uses WiFi location data to enable:

  • Service Support
    Ensure system stability and positive user experience by monitoring network performance and providing end-user support.
  • Life on Campus
    Support transportation planning, wayfinding, public safety and security, and other campus services by analyzing aggregated and anonymized data on access point location, session time, and count of devices.
  • Institutional Planning
    Improve the WiFi service, space utilization, and teaching and learning outcomes by analyzing trends in aggregated or anonymized WiFi location data.
  • Research
    U-M faculty can use de-identified WiFi location data for research purposes. Researchers do not have access to identifiable WiFi location data without student consent. If you wish to share your WiFi location information with a particular faculty member for their research, you need to download your own data and forward it to the faculty member.

The use of WiFi location data for the purposes outlined above is safeguarded through several mechanisms, including Information Assurance, the Institutional Review Board (IRB), and the U-M Standard Practice Guide.

How We Collect WiFi Location Data

  • Automatically
    when you connect to WiFi access points.

How We Share WiFi Location Data

The University of Michigan will not share your personally identifiable location data without your explicit consent, except in matters of health, safety, where legally required, and in accordance with SPG 601.11 - Privacy and the Need to Monitor and Access Records.

In rare cases, data is requested by the Department of Public Safety and Security to address health, safety, legal cases, or ongoing theft investigations. All requests of this nature are considered and approved by the IT User Advocate in consultation with the Office of the General Counsel.