RFC 7459

Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)                        M. Thomson
Request for Comments: 7459                                       Mozilla
Updates: 3693, 4119, 5491                                J. Winterbottom
Category: Standards Track                                   Unaffiliated
ISSN: 2070-1721                                            February 2015

            Representation of Uncertainty and Confidence in
     the Presence Information Data Format Location Object (PIDF-LO)


   This document defines key concepts of uncertainty and confidence as
   they pertain to location information.  Methods for the manipulation
   of location estimates that include uncertainty information are

   This document normatively updates the definition of location
   information representations defined in RFCs 4119 and 5491.  It also
   deprecates related terminology defined in RFC 3693.

Status of This Memo

   This is an Internet Standards Track document.

   This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force
   (IETF).  It represents the consensus of the IETF community.  It has
   received public review and has been approved for publication by the
   Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG).  Further information on
   Internet Standards is available in Section 2 of RFC 5741.

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
   and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at

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RFC 7459                Uncertainty & Confidence           February 2015

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2015 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

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Table of Contents

   1. Introduction ....................................................4
      1.1. Conventions and Terminology ................................4
   2. A General Definition of Uncertainty .............................5
      2.1. Uncertainty as a Probability Distribution ..................6
      2.2. Deprecation of the Terms "Precision" and "Resolution" ......8
      2.3. Accuracy as a Qualitative Concept ..........................9
   3. Uncertainty in Location .........................................9
      3.1. Targets as Points in Space .................................9
      3.2. Representation of Uncertainty and Confidence in PIDF-LO ...10
      3.3. Uncertainty and Confidence for Civic Addresses ............10
      3.4. DHCP Location Configuration Information and Uncertainty ...11
   4. Representation of Confidence in PIDF-LO ........................12
      4.1. The "confidence" Element ..................................13
      4.2. Generating Locations with Confidence ......................13
      4.3. Consuming and Presenting Confidence .......................13
   5. Manipulation of Uncertainty ....................................14
      5.1. Reduction of a Location Estimate to a Point ...............15
           5.1.1. Centroid Calculation ...............................16
         Arc-Band Centroid .........................16
         Polygon Centroid ..........................16
      5.2. Conversion to Circle or Sphere ............................19
      5.3. Conversion from Three-Dimensional to Two-Dimensional ......20
      5.4. Increasing and Decreasing Uncertainty and Confidence ......20
           5.4.1. Rectangular Distributions ..........................21
           5.4.2. Normal Distributions ...............................21
      5.5. Determining Whether a Location Is within a Given Region ...22
           5.5.1. Determining the Area of Overlap for Two Circles ....24
           5.5.2. Determining the Area of Overlap for Two Polygons ...25
   6. Examples .......................................................25
      6.1. Reduction to a Point or Circle ............................25
      6.2. Increasing and Decreasing Confidence ......................29
      6.3. Matching Location Estimates to Regions of Interest ........29
      6.4. PIDF-LO with Confidence Example ...........................30
   7. Confidence Schema ..............................................31
   8. IANA Considerations ............................................32
      8.1. URN Sub-Namespace Registration for ........................32
      8.2. XML Schema Registration ...................................33
   9. Security Considerations ........................................33
   10. References ....................................................34
      10.1. Normative References .....................................34
      10.2. Informative References ...................................35

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   Appendix A. Conversion between Cartesian and Geodetic
               Coordinates in WGS84 ..................................36
   Appendix B. Calculating the Upward Normal of a Polygon ............37
      B.1. Checking That a Polygon Upward Normal Points Up ...........38
   Acknowledgements ..................................................39
   Authors' Addresses ................................................39

1.  Introduction

   Location information represents an estimation of the position of a
   Target [RFC6280].  Under ideal circumstances, a location estimate
   precisely reflects the actual location of the Target.  For automated
   systems that determine location, there are many factors that
   introduce errors into the measurements that are used to determine
   location estimates.

   The process by which measurements are combined to generate a location
   estimate is outside of the scope of work within the IETF.  However,
   the results of such a process are carried in IETF data formats and
   protocols.  This document outlines how uncertainty, and its
   associated datum, confidence, are expressed and interpreted.

   This document provides a common nomenclature for discussing
   uncertainty and confidence as they relate to location information.

   This document also provides guidance on how to manage location
   information that includes uncertainty.  Methods for expanding or
   reducing uncertainty to obtain a required level of confidence are
   described.  Methods for determining the probability that a Target is
   within a specified region based on its location estimate are
   described.  These methods are simplified by making certain
   assumptions about the location estimate and are designed to be
   applicable to location estimates in a relatively small geographic

   A confidence extension for the Presence Information Data Format -
   Location Object (PIDF-LO) [RFC4119] is described.

   This document describes methods that can be used in combination with
   automatically determined location information.  These are
   statistically based methods.

1.1.  Conventions and Terminology

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].

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   This document assumes a basic understanding of the principles of
   mathematics, particularly statistics and geometry.

   Some terminology is borrowed from [RFC3693] and [RFC6280], in
   particular "Target".

   Mathematical formulae are presented using the following notation: add
   "+", subtract "-", multiply "*", divide "/", power "^", and absolute
   value "|x|".  Precedence follows established conventions: power
   operations precede multiply and divide, multiply and divide precede
   add and subtract, and parentheses are used to indicate operations
   that are applied together.  Mathematical functions are represented by
   common abbreviations: square root "sqrt(x)", sine "sin(x)", cosine
   "cos(x)", inverse cosine "acos(x)", tangent "tan(x)", inverse tangent
   "atan(x)", two-argument inverse tangent "atan2(y,x)", error function
   "erf(x)", and inverse error function "erfinv(x)".

2.  A General Definition of Uncertainty

   Uncertainty results from the limitations of measurement.  In
   measuring any observable quantity, errors from a range of sources
   affect the result.  Uncertainty is a quantification of what is known
   about the observed quantity, either through the limitations of
   measurement or through inherent variability of the quantity.

   Uncertainty is most completely described by a probability
   distribution.  A probability distribution assigns a probability to
   possible values for the quantity.

   A probability distribution describing a measured quantity can be
   arbitrarily complex, so it is desirable to find a simplified model.
   One approach commonly taken is to reduce the probability distribution
   to a confidence interval.  Many alternative models are used in other
   areas, but study of those is not the focus of this document.

   In addition to the central estimate of the observed quantity, a
   confidence interval is succinctly described by two values: an error
   range and a confidence.  The error range describes an interval and
   the confidence describes an estimated upper bound on the probability
   that a "true" value is found within the extents defined by the error.

   In the following example, a measurement result for a length is shown
   as a nominal value with additional information on error range (0.0043
   meters) and confidence (95%).

      e.g., x = 1.00742 +/- 0.0043 meters at 95% confidence

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   This measurement result indicates that the value of "x" is between
   1.00312 and 1.01172 meters with 95% probability.  No other assertion
   is made: in particular, this does not assert that x is 1.00742.

   Uncertainty and confidence for location estimates can be derived in a
   number of ways.  This document does not attempt to enumerate the many
   methods for determining uncertainty.  [ISO.GUM] and [NIST.TN1297]
   provide a set of general guidelines for determining and manipulating
   measurement uncertainty.  This document applies that general guidance
   for consumers of location information.

   As a statistical measure, values determined for uncertainty are found
   based on information in the aggregate, across numerous individual
   estimates.  An individual estimate might be determined to be
   "correct" -- for example, by using a survey to validate the result --
   without invalidating the statistical assertion.

   This understanding of estimates in the statistical sense explains why
   asserting a confidence of 100%, which might seem intuitively correct,
   is rarely advisable.

2.1.  Uncertainty as a Probability Distribution

   The Probability Density Function (PDF) that is described by
   uncertainty indicates the probability that the "true" value lies at
   any one point.  The shape of the probability distribution can vary
   depending on the method that is used to determine the result.  The
   two probability density functions most generally applicable to
   location information are considered in this document:

   o  The normal PDF (also referred to as a Gaussian PDF) is used where
      a large number of small random factors contribute to errors.  The
      value used for the error range in a normal PDF is related to the
      standard deviation of the distribution.

   o  A rectangular PDF is used where the errors are known to be
      consistent across a limited range.  A rectangular PDF can occur
      where a single error source, such as a rounding error, is
      significantly larger than other errors.  A rectangular PDF is
      often described by the half-width of the distribution; that is,
      half the width of the distribution.

   Each of these probability density functions can be characterized by
   its center point, or mean, and its width.  For a normal distribution,
   uncertainty and confidence together are related to the standard
   deviation of the function (see Section 5.4).  For a rectangular
   distribution, the half-width of the distribution is used.

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   Figure 1 shows a normal and rectangular probability density function
   with the mean (m) and standard deviation (s) labeled.  The half-width
   (h) of the rectangular distribution is also indicated.

                                *****             *** Normal PDF
                              **  :  **           --- Rectangular PDF
                            **    :    **
                           **     :     **
                |        **       :       **        |
                |       **        :        **       |
                |      * <-- s -->:          *      |
                |     * :         :         : *     |
                |    **           :           **    |
                |   *   :         :         :   *   |
                |  *              :              *  |
                |**     :         :         :     **|
               **                 :                 **
            *** |       :         :         :       | ***
        *****   |                 :<------ h ------>|   *****

      Figure 1: Normal and Rectangular Probability Density Functions

   For a given PDF, the value of the PDF describes the probability that
   the "true" value is found at that point.  Confidence for any given
   interval is the total probability of the "true" value being in that
   range, defined as the integral of the PDF over the interval.

      The probability of the "true" value falling between two points is
      found by finding the area under the curve between the points (that
      is, the integral of the curve between the points).  For any given
      PDF, the area under the curve for the entire range from negative
      infinity to positive infinity is 1 or (100%).  Therefore, the
      confidence over any interval of uncertainty is always less than

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   Figure 2 shows how confidence is determined for a normal
   distribution.  The area of the shaded region gives the confidence (c)
   for the interval between "m-u" and "m+u".

                    *:::::::::::: c ::::::::::::*
               **  |:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::|  **
            ***    |:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::|    ***
        *****      |:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::|      *****
                   |              |              |
                 (m-u)            m            (m+u)

               Figure 2: Confidence as the Integral of a PDF

   In Section 5.4, methods are described for manipulating uncertainty if
   the shape of the PDF is known.

2.2.  Deprecation of the Terms "Precision" and "Resolution"

   The terms "Precision" and "Resolution" are defined in RFC 3693
   [RFC3693].  These definitions were intended to provide a common
   nomenclature for discussing uncertainty; however, these particular
   terms have many different uses in other fields, and their definitions
   are not sufficient to avoid confusion about their meaning.  These
   terms are unsuitable for use in relation to quantitative concepts
   when discussing uncertainty and confidence in relation to location

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2.3.  Accuracy as a Qualitative Concept

   Uncertainty is a quantitative concept.  The term "accuracy" is useful
   in describing, qualitatively, the general concepts of location
   information.  Accuracy is generally useful when describing
   qualitative aspects of location estimates.  Accuracy is not a
   suitable term for use in a quantitative context.

   For instance, it could be appropriate to say that a location estimate
   with uncertainty "X" is more accurate than a location estimate with
   uncertainty "2X" at the same confidence.  It is not appropriate to
   assign a number to "accuracy", nor is it appropriate to refer to any
   component of uncertainty or confidence as "accuracy".  That is,
   saying the "accuracy" for the first location estimate is "X" would be
   an erroneous use of this term.

3.  Uncertainty in Location

   A "location estimate" is the result of location determination.  A
   location estimate is subject to uncertainty like any other
   observation.  However, unlike a simple measure of a one dimensional
   property like length, a location estimate is specified in two or
   three dimensions.

   Uncertainty in two- or three-dimensional locations can be described
   using confidence intervals.  The confidence interval for a location
   estimate in two- or three-dimensional space is expressed as a subset
   of that space.  This document uses the term "region of uncertainty"
   to refer to the area or volume that describes the confidence

   Areas or volumes that describe regions of uncertainty can be formed
   by the combination of two or three one-dimensional ranges, or more
   complex shapes could be described (for example, the shapes in

3.1.  Targets as Points in Space

   This document makes a simplifying assumption that the Target of the
   PIDF-LO occupies just a single point in space.  While this is clearly
   false in virtually all scenarios with any practical application, it
   is often a reasonable simplifying assumption to make.

   To a large extent, whether this simplification is valid depends on
   the size of the Target relative to the size of the uncertainty
   region.  When locating a personal device using contemporary location
   determination techniques, the space the device occupies relative to

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   the uncertainty is proportionally quite small.  Even where that
   device is used as a proxy for a person, the proportions change

   This assumption is less useful as uncertainty becomes small relative
   to the size of the Target of the PIDF-LO (or conversely, as
   uncertainty becomes small relative to the Target).  For instance,
   describing the location of a football stadium or small country would
   include a region of uncertainty that is only slightly larger than the
   Target itself.  In these cases, much of the guidance in this document
   is not applicable.  Indeed, as the accuracy of location determination
   technology improves, it could be that the advice this document
   contains becomes less relevant by the same measure.

3.2.  Representation of Uncertainty and Confidence in PIDF-LO

   A set of shapes suitable for the expression of uncertainty in
   location estimates in the PIDF-LO are described in [GeoShape].  These
   shapes are the recommended form for the representation of uncertainty
   in PIDF-LO [RFC4119] documents.

   The PIDF-LO can contain uncertainty, but it does not include an
   indication of confidence.  [RFC5491] defines a fixed value of 95%.
   Similarly, the PIDF-LO format does not provide an indication of the
   shape of the PDF.  Section 4 defines elements to convey this
   information in PIDF-LO.

   Absence of uncertainty information in a PIDF-LO document does not
   indicate that there is no uncertainty in the location estimate.
   Uncertainty might not have been calculated for the estimate, or it
   may be withheld for privacy purposes.

   If the Point shape is used, confidence and uncertainty are unknown; a
   receiver can either assume a confidence of 0% or infinite
   uncertainty.  The same principle applies on the altitude axis for
   two-dimensional shapes like the Circle.

3.3.  Uncertainty and Confidence for Civic Addresses

   Automatically determined civic addresses [RFC5139] inherently include
   uncertainty, based on the area of the most precise element that is
   specified.  In this case, uncertainty is effectively described by the
   presence or absence of elements.  To the recipient of location
   information, elements that are not present are uncertain.

   To apply the concept of uncertainty to civic addresses, it is helpful
   to unify the conceptual models of civic address with geodetic
   location information.  This is particularly useful when considering

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   civic addresses that are determined using reverse geocoding (that is,
   the process of translating geodetic information into civic

   In the unified view, a civic address defines a series of (sometimes
   non-orthogonal) spatial partitions.  The first is the implicit
   partition that identifies the surface of the earth and the space near
   the surface.  The second is the country.  Each label that is included
   in a civic address provides information about a different set of
   spatial partitions.  Some partitions require slight adjustments from
   a standard interpretation: for instance, a road includes all
   properties that adjoin the street.  Each label might need to be
   interpreted with other values to provide context.

   As a value at each level is interpreted, one or more spatial
   partitions at that level are selected, and all other partitions of
   that type are excluded.  For non-orthogonal partitions, only the
   portion of the partition that fits within the existing space is
   selected.  This is what distinguishes King Street in Sydney from King
   Street in Melbourne.  Each defined element selects a partition of
   space.  The resulting location is the intersection of all selected

   The resulting spatial partition can be considered as a region of

   Note:  This view is a potential perspective on the process of
      geocoding -- the translation of a civic address to a geodetic

   Uncertainty in civic addresses can be increased by removing elements.
   This does not increase confidence unless additional information is
   used.  Similarly, arbitrarily increasing uncertainty in a geodetic
   location does not increase confidence.

3.4.  DHCP Location Configuration Information and Uncertainty

   Location information is often measured in two or three dimensions;
   expressions of uncertainty in one dimension only are rare.  The
   "resolution" parameters in [RFC6225] provide an indication of how
   many bits of a number are valid, which could be interpreted as an
   expression of uncertainty in one dimension.

   [RFC6225] defines a means for representing uncertainty, but a value
   for confidence is not specified.  A default value of 95% confidence
   should be assumed for the combination of the uncertainty on each
   axis.  This is consistent with the transformation of those forms into

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   the uncertainty representations from [RFC5491].  That is, the
   confidence of the resultant rectangular Polygon or Prism is assumed
   to be 95%.

4.  Representation of Confidence in PIDF-LO

   On the whole, a fixed definition for confidence is preferable,
   primarily because it ensures consistency between implementations.
   Location generators that are aware of this constraint can generate
   location information at the required confidence.  Location recipients
   are able to make sensible assumptions about the quality of the
   information that they receive.

   In some circumstances -- particularly with preexisting systems --
   location generators might be unable to provide location information
   with consistent confidence.  Existing systems sometimes specify
   confidence at 38%, 67%, or 90%.  Existing forms of expressing
   location information, such as that defined in [TS-3GPP-23_032],
   contain elements that express the confidence in the result.

   The addition of a confidence element provides information that was
   previously unavailable to recipients of location information.
   Without this information, a location server or generator that has
   access to location information with a confidence lower than 95% has
   two options:

   o  The location server can scale regions of uncertainty in an attempt
      to achieve 95% confidence.  This scaling process significantly
      degrades the quality of the information, because the location
      server might not have the necessary information to scale
      appropriately; the location server is forced to make assumptions
      that are likely to result in either an overly conservative
      estimate with high uncertainty or an overestimate of confidence.

   o  The location server can ignore the confidence entirely, which
      results in giving the recipient a false impression of its quality.

   Both of these choices degrade the quality of the information

   The addition of a confidence element avoids this problem entirely if
   a location recipient supports and understands the element.  A
   recipient that does not understand -- and, hence, ignores -- the
   confidence element is in no worse a position than if the location
   server ignored confidence.

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4.1.  The "confidence" Element

   The "confidence" element MAY be added to the "location-info" element
   of the PIDF-LO [RFC4119] document.  This element expresses the
   confidence in the associated location information as a percentage.  A
   special "unknown" value is reserved to indicate that confidence is
   supported, but not known to the Location Generator.

   The "confidence" element optionally includes an attribute that
   indicates the shape of the PDF of the associated region of
   uncertainty.  Three values are possible: unknown, normal, and

   Indicating a particular PDF only indicates that the distribution
   approximately fits the given shape based on the methods used to
   generate the location information.  The PDF is normal if there are a
   large number of small, independent sources of error.  It is
   rectangular if all points within the area have roughly equal
   probability of being the actual location of the Target.  Otherwise,
   the PDF MUST either be set to unknown or omitted.

   If a PIDF-LO does not include the confidence element, the confidence
   of the location estimate is 95%, as defined in [RFC5491].

   A Point shape does not have uncertainty (or it has infinite
   uncertainty), so confidence is meaningless for a Point; therefore,
   this element MUST be omitted if only a Point is provided.

4.2.  Generating Locations with Confidence

   Location generators SHOULD attempt to ensure that confidence is equal
   in each dimension when generating location information.  This
   restriction, while not always practical, allows for more accurate
   scaling, if scaling is necessary.

   A confidence element MUST be included with all location information
   that includes uncertainty (that is, all forms other than a Point).  A
   special "unknown" is used if confidence is not known.

4.3.  Consuming and Presenting Confidence

   The inclusion of confidence that is anything other than 95% presents
   a potentially difficult usability problem for applications that use
   location information.  Effectively communicating the probability that
   a location is incorrect to a user can be difficult.

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   It is inadvisable to simply display locations of any confidence, or
   to display confidence in a separate or non-obvious fashion.  If
   locations with different confidence levels are displayed such that
   the distinction is subtle or easy to overlook -- such as using fine
   graduations of color or transparency for graphical uncertainty
   regions or displaying uncertainty graphically, but providing
   confidence as supplementary text -- a user could fail to notice a
   difference in the quality of the location information that might be

   Depending on the circumstances, different ways of handling confidence
   might be appropriate.  Section 5 describes techniques that could be
   appropriate for consumers that use automated processing.

   Providing that the full implications of any choice for the
   application are understood, some amount of automated processing could
   be appropriate.  In a simple example, applications could choose to
   discard or suppress the display of location information if confidence
   does not meet a predetermined threshold.

   In settings where there is an opportunity for user training, some of
   these problems might be mitigated by defining different operational
   procedures for handling location information at different confidence

5.  Manipulation of Uncertainty

   This section deals with manipulation of location information that
   contains uncertainty.

   The following rules generally apply when manipulating location

   o  Where calculations are performed on coordinate information, these
      should be performed in Cartesian space and the results converted
      back to latitude, longitude, and altitude.  A method for
      converting to and from Cartesian coordinates is included in
      Appendix A.

         While some approximation methods are useful in simplifying
         calculations, treating latitude and longitude as Cartesian axes
         is never advisable.  The two axes are not orthogonal.  Errors
         can arise from the curvature of the earth and from the
         convergence of longitude lines.

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   o  Normal rounding rules do not apply when rounding uncertainty.
      When rounding, the region of uncertainty always increases (that
      is, errors are rounded up) and confidence is always rounded down
      (see [NIST.TN1297]).  This means that any manipulation of
      uncertainty is a non-reversible operation; each manipulation can
      result in the loss of some information.

5.1.  Reduction of a Location Estimate to a Point

   Manipulating location estimates that include uncertainty information
   requires additional complexity in systems.  In some cases, systems
   only operate on definitive values, that is, a single point.

   This section describes algorithms for reducing location estimates to
   a simple form without uncertainty information.  Having a consistent
   means for reducing location estimates allows for interaction between
   applications that are able to use uncertainty information and those
   that cannot.

   Note:  Reduction of a location estimate to a point constitutes a
      reduction in information.  Removing uncertainty information can
      degrade results in some applications.  Also, there is a natural
      tendency to misinterpret a Point location as representing a
      location without uncertainty.  This could lead to more serious
      errors.  Therefore, these algorithms should only be applied where

   Several different approaches can be taken when reducing a location
   estimate to a point.  Different methods each make a set of
   assumptions about the properties of the PDF and the selected point;
   no one method is more "correct" than any other.  For any given region
   of uncertainty, selecting an arbitrary point within the area could be
   considered valid; however, given the aforementioned problems with
   Point locations, a more rigorous approach is appropriate.

   Given a result with a known distribution, selecting the point within
   the area that has the highest probability is a more rigorous method.
   Alternatively, a point could be selected that minimizes the overall
   error; that is, it minimizes the expected value of the difference
   between the selected point and the "true" value.

   If a rectangular distribution is assumed, the centroid of the area or
   volume minimizes the overall error.  Minimizing the error for a
   normal distribution is mathematically complex.  Therefore, this
   document opts to select the centroid of the region of uncertainty
   when selecting a point.

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RFC 7459                Uncertainty & Confidence           February 2015

5.1.1.  Centroid Calculation

   For regular shapes, such as Circle, Sphere, Ellipse, and Ellipsoid,
   this approach equates to the center point of the region.  For regions
   of uncertainty that are expressed as regular Polygons and Prisms, the
   center point is also the most appropriate selection.

   For the Arc-Band shape and non-regular Polygons and Prisms, selecting
   the centroid of the area or volume minimizes the overall error.  This
   assumes that the PDF is rectangular.

   Note:  The centroid of a concave Polygon or Arc-Band shape is not
      necessarily within the region of uncertainty.  Arc-Band Centroid

   The centroid of the Arc-Band shape is found along a line that bisects
   the arc.  The centroid can be found at the following distance from
   the starting point of the arc-band (assuming an arc-band with an
   inner radius of "r", outer radius "R", start angle "a", and opening
   angle "o"):

      d = 4 * sin(o/2) * (R*R + R*r + r*r) / (3*o*(R + r))

   This point can be found along the line that bisects the arc; that is,
   the line at an angle of "a + (o/2)".  Polygon Centroid

   Calculating a centroid for the Polygon and Prism shapes is more
   complex.  Polygons that are specified using geodetic coordinates are
   not necessarily coplanar.  For Polygons that are specified without an
   altitude, choose a value for altitude before attempting this process;
   an altitude of 0 is acceptable.

      The method described in this section is simplified by assuming
      that the surface of the earth is locally flat.  This method
      degrades as polygons become larger; see [GeoShape] for
      recommendations on polygon size.

   The polygon is translated to a new coordinate system that has an x-y
   plane roughly parallel to the polygon.  This enables the elimination
   of z-axis values and calculating a centroid can be done using only x
   and y coordinates.  This requires that the upward normal for the
   polygon be known.

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   To translate the polygon coordinates, apply the process described in
   Appendix B to find the normal vector "N = [Nx,Ny,Nz]".  This value
   should be made a unit vector to ensure that the transformation matrix
   is a special orthogonal matrix.  From this vector, select two vectors
   that are perpendicular to this vector and combine these into a
   transformation matrix.

   If "Nx" and "Ny" are non-zero, the matrices in Figure 3 can be used,
   given "p = sqrt(Nx^2 + Ny^2)".  More transformations are provided
   later in this section for cases where "Nx" or "Ny" are zero.

          [   -Ny/p     Nx/p     0  ]         [ -Ny/p  -Nx*Nz/p  Nx ]
      T = [ -Nx*Nz/p  -Ny*Nz/p   p  ]    T' = [  Nx/p  -Ny*Nz/p  Ny ]
          [    Nx        Ny      Nz ]         [   0      p       Nz ]
                 (Transform)                    (Reverse Transform)

               Figure 3: Recommended Transformation Matrices

   To apply a transform to each point in the polygon, form a matrix from
   the Cartesian Earth-Centered, Earth-Fixed (ECEF) coordinates and use
   matrix multiplication to determine the translated coordinates.

      [   -Ny/p     Nx/p     0  ]   [ x[1]  x[2]  x[3]  ...  x[n] ]
      [ -Nx*Nz/p  -Ny*Nz/p   p  ] * [ y[1]  y[2]  y[3]  ...  y[n] ]
      [    Nx        Ny      Nz ]   [ z[1]  z[2]  z[3]  ...  z[n] ]

          [ x'[1]  x'[2]  x'[3]  ... x'[n] ]
        = [ y'[1]  y'[2]  y'[3]  ... y'[n] ]
          [ z'[1]  z'[2]  z'[3]  ... z'[n] ]

                         Figure 4: Transformation

   Alternatively, direct multiplication can be used to achieve the same

      x'[i] = -Ny * x[i] / p + Nx * y[i] / p

      y'[i] = -Nx * Nz * x[i] / p - Ny * Nz * y[i] / p + p * z[i]

      z'[i] = Nx * x[i] + Ny * y[i] + Nz * z[i]

   The first and second rows of this matrix ("x'" and "y'") contain the
   values that are used to calculate the centroid of the polygon.  To
   find the centroid of this polygon, first find the area using:

      A = sum from i=1..n of (x'[i]*y'[i+1]-x'[i+1]*y'[i]) / 2

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   For these formulae, treat each set of coordinates as circular, that
   is "x'[0] == x'[n]" and "x'[n+1] == x'[1]".  Based on the area, the
   centroid along each axis can be determined by:

      Cx' = sum (x'[i]+x'[i+1]) * (x'[i]*y'[i+1]-x'[i+1]*y'[i]) / (6*A)

      Cy' = sum (y'[i]+y'[i+1]) * (x'[i]*y'[i+1]-x'[i+1]*y'[i]) / (6*A)

   Note:  The formula for the area of a polygon will return a negative
      value if the polygon is specified in a clockwise direction.  This
      can be used to determine the orientation of the polygon.

   The third row contains a distance from a plane parallel to the
   polygon.  If the polygon is coplanar, then the values for "z'" are
   identical; however, the constraints recommended in [RFC5491] mean
   that this is rarely the case.  To determine "Cz'", average these

      Cz' = sum z'[i] / n

   Once the centroid is known in the transformed coordinates, these can
   be transformed back to the original coordinate system.  The reverse
   transformation is shown in Figure 5.

      [ -Ny/p  -Nx*Nz/p  Nx ]     [       Cx'        ]   [ Cx ]
      [  Nx/p  -Ny*Nz/p  Ny ]  *  [       Cy'        ] = [ Cy ]
      [   0        p     Nz ]     [ sum of z'[i] / n ]   [ Cz ]

                     Figure 5: Reverse Transformation

   The reverse transformation can be applied directly as follows:

      Cx = -Ny * Cx' / p - Nx * Nz * Cy' / p + Nx * Cz'

      Cy = Nx * Cx' / p - Ny * Nz * Cy' / p + Ny * Cz'

      Cz = p * Cy' + Nz * Cz'

   The ECEF value "[Cx,Cy,Cz]" can then be converted back to geodetic
   coordinates.  Given a polygon that is defined with no altitude or
   equal altitudes for each point, the altitude of the result can be
   either ignored or reset after converting back to a geodetic value.

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   The centroid of the Prism shape is found by finding the centroid of
   the base polygon and raising the point by half the height of the
   prism.  This can be added to altitude of the final result;
   alternatively, this can be added to "Cz'", which ensures that
   negative height is correctly applied to polygons that are defined in
   a clockwise direction.

   The recommended transforms only apply if "Nx" and "Ny" are non-zero.
   If the normal vector is "[0,0,1]" (that is, along the z-axis), then
   no transform is necessary.  Similarly, if the normal vector is
   "[0,1,0]" or "[1,0,0]", avoid the transformation and use the x and z
   coordinates or y and z coordinates (respectively) in the centroid
   calculation phase.  If either "Nx" or "Ny" are zero, the alternative
   transform matrices in Figure 6 can be used.  The reverse transform is
   the transpose of this matrix.

    if Nx == 0:                              | if Ny == 0:
        [ 0  -Nz  Ny ]       [  0   1  0  ]  |            [ -Nz  0  Nx ]
    T = [ 1   0   0  ]  T' = [ -Nz  0  Ny ]  |   T = T' = [  0   1  0  ]
        [ 0   Ny  Nz ]       [  Ny  0  Nz ]  |            [  Nx  0  Nz ]

               Figure 6: Alternative Transformation Matrices

5.2.  Conversion to Circle or Sphere

   The circle or sphere are simple shapes that suit a range of
   applications.  A circle or sphere contains fewer units of data to
   manipulate, which simplifies operations on location estimates.

   The simplest method for converting a location estimate to a Circle or
   Sphere shape is to determine the centroid and then find the longest
   distance to any point in the region of uncertainty to that point.
   This distance can be determined based on the shape type:

   Circle/Sphere:  No conversion necessary.

   Ellipse/Ellipsoid:  The greater of either semi-major axis or altitude

   Polygon/Prism:  The distance to the farthest vertex of the Polygon
      (for a Prism, it is only necessary to check points on the base).

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   Arc-Band:  The farthest length from the centroid to the points where
      the inner and outer arc end.  This distance can be calculated by
      finding the larger of the two following formulae:

         X = sqrt( d*d + R*R - 2*d*R*cos(o/2) )

         x = sqrt( d*d + r*r - 2*d*r*cos(o/2) )

   Once the Circle or Sphere shape is found, the associated confidence
   can be increased if the result is known to follow a normal
   distribution.  However, this is a complicated process and provides
   limited benefit.  In many cases, it also violates the constraint that
   confidence in each dimension be the same.  Confidence should be
   unchanged when performing this conversion.

   Two-dimensional shapes are converted to a Circle; three-dimensional
   shapes are converted to a Sphere.

5.3.  Conversion from Three-Dimensional to Two-Dimensional

   A three-dimensional shape can be easily converted to a two-
   dimensional shape by removing the altitude component.  A Sphere
   becomes a Circle; a Prism becomes a Polygon; an Ellipsoid becomes an
   Ellipse.  Each conversion is simple, requiring only the removal of
   those elements relating to altitude.

   The altitude is unspecified for a two-dimensional shape and therefore
   has unlimited uncertainty along the vertical axis.  The confidence
   for the two-dimensional shape is thus higher than the three-
   dimensional shape.  Assuming equal confidence on each axis, the
   confidence of the Circle can be increased using the following
   approximate formula:

      C[2d] >= C[3d] ^ (2/3)

   "C[2d]" is the confidence of the two-dimensional shape and "C[3d]" is
   the confidence of the three-dimensional shape.  For example, a Sphere
   with a confidence of 95% can be simplified to a Circle of equal
   radius with confidence of 96.6%.

5.4.  Increasing and Decreasing Uncertainty and Confidence

   The combination of uncertainty and confidence provide a great deal of
   information about the nature of the data that is being measured.  If
   uncertainty, confidence, and PDF are known, certain information can
   be extrapolated.  In particular, the uncertainty can be scaled to
   meet a desired confidence or the confidence for a particular region
   of uncertainty can be found.

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   In general, confidence decreases as the region of uncertainty
   decreases in size, and confidence increases as the region of
   uncertainty increases in size.  However, this depends on the PDF;
   expanding the region of uncertainty for a rectangular distribution
   has no effect on confidence without additional information.  If the
   region of uncertainty is increased during the process of obfuscation
   (see [RFC6772]), then the confidence cannot be increased.

   A region of uncertainty that is reduced in size always has a lower

   A region of uncertainty that has an unknown PDF shape cannot be
   reduced in size reliably.  The region of uncertainty can be expanded,
   but only if confidence is not increased.

   This section makes the simplifying assumption that location
   information is symmetrically and evenly distributed in each
   dimension.  This is not necessarily true in practice.  If better
   information is available, alternative methods might produce better

5.4.1.  Rectangular Distributions

   Uncertainty that follows a rectangular distribution can only be
   decreased in size.  Increasing uncertainty has no value, since it has
   no effect on confidence.  Since the PDF is constant over the region
   of uncertainty, the resulting confidence is determined by the
   following formula:

      Cr = Co * Ur / Uo

   Where "Uo" and "Ur" are the sizes of the original and reduced regions
   of uncertainty (either the area or the volume of the region); "Co"
   and "Cr" are the confidence values associated with each region.

   Information is lost by decreasing the region of uncertainty for a
   rectangular distribution.  Once reduced in size, the uncertainty
   region cannot subsequently be increased in size.

5.4.2.  Normal Distributions

   Uncertainty and confidence can be both increased and decreased for a
   normal distribution.  This calculation depends on the number of
   dimensions of the uncertainty region.

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   For a normal distribution, uncertainty and confidence are related to
   the standard deviation of the function.  The following function
   defines the relationship between standard deviation, uncertainty, and
   confidence along a single axis:

      S[x] = U[x] / ( sqrt(2) * erfinv(C[x]) )

   Where "S[x]" is the standard deviation, "U[x]" is the uncertainty,
   and "C[x]" is the confidence along a single axis.  "erfinv" is the
   inverse error function.

   Scaling a normal distribution in two dimensions requires several
   assumptions.  Firstly, it is assumed that the distribution along each
   axis is independent.  Secondly, the confidence for each axis is
   assumed to be the same.  Therefore, the confidence along each axis
   can be assumed to be:

      C[x] = Co ^ (1/n)

   Where "C[x]" is the confidence along a single axis and "Co" is the
   overall confidence and "n" is the number of dimensions in the

   Therefore, to find the uncertainty for each axis at a desired
   confidence, "Cd", apply the following formula:

      Ud[x] <= U[x] * (erfinv(Cd ^ (1/n)) / erfinv(Co ^ (1/n)))

   For regular shapes, this formula can be applied as a scaling factor
   in each dimension to reach a required confidence.

5.5.  Determining Whether a Location Is within a Given Region

   A number of applications require that a judgment be made about
   whether a Target is within a given region of interest.  Given a
   location estimate with uncertainty, this judgment can be difficult.
   A location estimate represents a probability distribution, and the
   true location of the Target cannot be definitively known.  Therefore,
   the judgment relies on determining the probability that the Target is
   within the region.

   The probability that the Target is within a particular region is
   found by integrating the PDF over the region.  For a normal
   distribution, there are no analytical methods that can be used to
   determine the integral of the two- or three-dimensional PDF over an
   arbitrary region.  The complexity of numerical methods is also too
   great to be useful in many applications; for example, finding the
   integral of the PDF in two or three dimensions across the overlap

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   between the uncertainty region and the target region.  If the PDF is
   unknown, no determination can be made without a simplifying

   When judging whether a location is within a given region, this
   document assumes that uncertainties are rectangular.  This introduces
   errors, but simplifies the calculations significantly.  Prior to
   applying this assumption, confidence should be scaled to 95%.

   Note:  The selection of confidence has a significant impact on the
      final result.  Only use a different confidence if an uncertainty
      value for 95% confidence cannot be found.

   Given the assumption of a rectangular distribution, the probability
   that a Target is found within a given region is found by first
   finding the area (or volume) of overlap between the uncertainty
   region and the region of interest.  This is multiplied by the
   confidence of the location estimate to determine the probability.
   Figure 7 shows an example of finding the area of overlap between the
   region of uncertainty and the region of interest.

                  .'          `.    _ Region of
                 /              \  /  Uncertainty
              ..+-"""--..        |
           .-'  | :::::: `-.     |
         ,'     | :: Ao ::: `.   |
        /        \ :::::::::: \ /
       /          `._ :::::: _.X
      |              `-....-'   |
      |                         |
      |                         |
       \                       /
        `.                   .'  \_ Region of
          `._             _.'       Interest

          Figure 7: Area of Overlap between Two Circular Regions

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   Once the area of overlap, "Ao", is known, the probability that the
   Target is within the region of interest, "Pi", is:

      Pi = Co * Ao / Au

   Given that the area of the region of uncertainty is "Au" and the
   confidence is "Co".

   This probability is often input to a decision process that has a
   limited set of outcomes; therefore, a threshold value needs to be
   selected.  Depending on the application, different threshold
   probabilities might be selected.  A probability of 50% or greater is
   recommended before deciding that an uncertain value is within a given
   region.  If the decision process selects between two or more regions,
   as is required by [RFC5222], then the region with the highest
   probability can be selected.

5.5.1.  Determining the Area of Overlap for Two Circles

   Determining the area of overlap between two arbitrary shapes is a
   non-trivial process.  Reducing areas to circles (see Section 5.2)
   enables the application of the following process.

   Given the radius of the first circle "r", the radius of the second
   circle "R", and the distance between their center points "d", the
   following set of formulae provide the area of overlap "Ao".

   o  If the circles don't overlap, that is "d >= r+R", "Ao" is zero.

   o  If one of the two circles is entirely within the other, that is
      "d <= |r-R|", the area of overlap is the area of the smaller

   o  Otherwise, if the circles partially overlap, that is "d < r+R" and
      "d > |r-R|", find "Ao" using:

         a = (r^2 - R^2 + d^2)/(2*d)

         Ao = r^2*acos(a/r) + R^2*acos((d - a)/R) - d*sqrt(r^2 - a^2)

   A value for "d" can be determined by converting the center points to
   Cartesian coordinates and calculating the distance between the two
   center points:

      d = sqrt((x1-x2)^2 + (y1-y2)^2 + (z1-z2)^2)

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5.5.2.  Determining the Area of Overlap for Two Polygons

   A calculation of overlap based on polygons can give better results
   than the circle-based method.  However, efficient calculation of
   overlapping area is non-trivial.  Algorithms such as Vatti's clipping
   algorithm [Vatti92] can be used.

   For large polygonal areas, it might be that geodesic interpolation is
   used.  In these cases, altitude is also frequently omitted in
   describing the polygon.  For such shapes, a planar projection can
   still give a good approximation of the area of overlap if the larger
   area polygon is projected onto the local tangent plane of the
   smaller.  This is only possible if the only area of interest is that
   contained within the smaller polygon.  Where the entire area of the
   larger polygon is of interest, geodesic interpolation is necessary.

6.  Examples

   This section presents some examples of how to apply the methods
   described in Section 5.

6.1.  Reduction to a Point or Circle

   Alice receives a location estimate from her Location Information
   Server (LIS) that contains an ellipsoidal region of uncertainty.
   This information is provided at 19% confidence with a normal PDF.  A
   PIDF-LO extract for this information is shown in Figure 8.

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         <gs:Ellipsoid srsName="urn:ogc:def:crs:EPSG::4979">
           <gml:pos>-34.407242 150.882518 34</gml:pos>
           <gs:semiMajorAxis uom="urn:ogc:def:uom:EPSG::9001">
           <gs:semiMinorAxis uom="urn:ogc:def:uom:EPSG::9001">
           <gs:verticalAxis uom="urn:ogc:def:uom:EPSG::9001">
           <gs:orientation uom="urn:ogc:def:uom:EPSG::9102">
         <con:confidence pdf="normal">95</con:confidence>

                   Figure 8: Alice's Ellipsoid Location

   This information can be reduced to a point simply by extracting the
   center point, that is [-34.407242, 150.882518, 34].

   If some limited uncertainty were required, the estimate could be
   converted into a circle or sphere.  To convert to a sphere, the
   radius is the largest of the semi-major, semi-minor and vertical
   axes; in this case, 28.7 meters.

   However, if only a circle is required, the altitude can be dropped as
   can the altitude uncertainty (the vertical axis of the ellipsoid),
   resulting in a circle at [-34.407242, 150.882518] of radius 7.7156

   Bob receives a location estimate with a Polygon shape (which roughly
   corresponds to the location of the Sydney Opera House).  This
   information is shown in Figure 9.

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     <gml:Polygon srsName="urn:ogc:def:crs:EPSG::4326">
             -33.856625 151.215906 -33.856299 151.215343
             -33.856326 151.214731 -33.857533 151.214495
             -33.857720 151.214613 -33.857369 151.215375
             -33.856625 151.215906

                     Figure 9: Bob's Polygon Location

   To convert this to a polygon, each point is firstly assigned an
   altitude of zero and converted to ECEF coordinates (see Appendix A).
   Then, a normal vector for this polygon is found (see Appendix B).
   The result of each of these stages is shown in Figure 10.  Note that
   the numbers shown in this document are rounded only for formatting
   reasons; the actual calculations do not include rounding, which would
   generate significant errors in the final values.

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   Polygon in ECEF coordinate space
      (repeated point omitted and transposed to fit):
            [ -4.6470e+06  2.5530e+06  -3.5333e+06 ]
            [ -4.6470e+06  2.5531e+06  -3.5332e+06 ]
    pecef = [ -4.6470e+06  2.5531e+06  -3.5332e+06 ]
            [ -4.6469e+06  2.5531e+06  -3.5333e+06 ]
            [ -4.6469e+06  2.5531e+06  -3.5334e+06 ]
            [ -4.6469e+06  2.5531e+06  -3.5333e+06 ]

   Normal Vector: n = [ -0.72782  0.39987  -0.55712 ]

   Transformation Matrix:
        [ -0.48152  -0.87643   0.00000 ]
    t = [ -0.48828   0.26827   0.83043 ]
        [ -0.72782   0.39987  -0.55712 ]

   Transformed Coordinates:
             [  8.3206e+01  1.9809e+04  6.3715e+06 ]
             [  3.1107e+01  1.9845e+04  6.3715e+06 ]
    pecef' = [ -2.5528e+01  1.9842e+04  6.3715e+06 ]
             [ -4.7367e+01  1.9708e+04  6.3715e+06 ]
             [ -3.6447e+01  1.9687e+04  6.3715e+06 ]
             [  3.4068e+01  1.9726e+04  6.3715e+06 ]

   Two dimensional polygon area: A = 12600 m^2
   Two-dimensional polygon centroid: C' = [ 8.8184e+00  1.9775e+04 ]

   Average of pecef' z coordinates: 6.3715e+06

   Reverse Transformation Matrix:
         [ -0.48152  -0.48828  -0.72782 ]
    t' = [ -0.87643   0.26827   0.39987 ]
         [  0.00000   0.83043  -0.55712 ]

   Polygon centroid (ECEF): C = [ -4.6470e+06  2.5531e+06  -3.5333e+06 ]
   Polygon centroid (Geo): Cg = [ -33.856926  151.215102  -4.9537e-04 ]

                Figure 10: Calculation of Polygon Centroid

   The point conversion for the polygon uses the final result, "Cg",
   ignoring the altitude since the original shape did not include

   To convert this to a circle, take the maximum distance in ECEF
   coordinates from the center point to each of the points.  This
   results in a radius of 99.1 meters.  Confidence is unchanged.

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6.2.  Increasing and Decreasing Confidence

   Assume that confidence is known to be 19% for Alice's location
   information.  This is a typical value for a three-dimensional
   ellipsoid uncertainty of normal distribution where the standard
   deviation is used directly for uncertainty in each dimension.  The
   confidence associated with Alice's location estimate is quite low for
   many applications.  Since the estimate is known to follow a normal
   distribution, the method in Section 5.4.2 can be used.  Each axis can
   be scaled by:

      scale = erfinv(0.95^(1/3)) / erfinv(0.19^(1/3)) = 2.9937

   Ensuring that rounding always increases uncertainty, the location
   estimate at 95% includes a semi-major axis of 23.1, a semi-minor axis
   of 10 and a vertical axis of 86.

   Bob's location estimate (from the previous example) covers an area of
   approximately 12600 square meters.  If the estimate follows a
   rectangular distribution, the region of uncertainty can be reduced in
   size.  Here we find the confidence that Bob is within the smaller
   area of the Concert Hall.  For the Concert Hall, the polygon
   [-33.856473, 151.215257; -33.856322, 151.214973;
   -33.856424, 151.21471; -33.857248, 151.214753;
   -33.857413, 151.214941; -33.857311, 151.215128] is used.  To use this
   new region of uncertainty, find its area using the same translation
   method described in Section, which produces 4566.2 square
   meters.  Given that the Concert Hall is entirely within Bob's
   original location estimate, the confidence associated with the
   smaller area is therefore 95% * 4566.2 / 12600 = 34%.

6.3.  Matching Location Estimates to Regions of Interest

   Suppose that a circular area is defined centered at
   [-33.872754, 151.20683] with a radius of 1950 meters.  To determine
   whether Bob is found within this area -- given that Bob is at
   [-34.407242, 150.882518] with an uncertainty radius 7.7156 meters --
   we apply the method in Section 5.5.  Using the converted Circle shape
   for Bob's location, the distance between these points is found to be
   1915.26 meters.  The area of overlap between Bob's location estimate
   and the region of interest is therefore 2209 square meters and the
   area of Bob's location estimate is 30853 square meters.  This gives
   the estimated probability that Bob is less than 1950 meters from the
   selected point as 67.8%.

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RFC 7459                Uncertainty & Confidence           February 2015

   Note that if 1920 meters were chosen for the distance from the
   selected point, the area of overlap is only 16196 square meters and
   the confidence is 49.8%.  Therefore, it is marginally more likely
   that Bob is outside the region of interest, despite the center point
   of his location estimate being within the region.

6.4.  PIDF-LO with Confidence Example

   The PIDF-LO document in Figure 11 includes a representation of
   uncertainty as a circular area.  The confidence element (on the line
   marked with a comment) indicates that the confidence is 67% and that
   it follows a normal distribution.

       <dm:device id="sg89ab">
             <gs:Circle srsName="urn:ogc:def:crs:EPSG::4326">
               <gml:pos>42.5463 -73.2512</gml:pos>
               <gs:radius uom="urn:ogc:def:uom:EPSG::9001">
   <!--c--> <con:confidence pdf="normal">67</con:confidence>

                Figure 11: Example PIDF-LO with Confidence

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7.  Confidence Schema

   <?xml version="1.0"?>

         PIDF-LO Confidence
         This schema defines an element that is used for indicating
         confidence in PIDF-LO documents.

     <xs:element name="confidence" type="conf:confidenceType"/>

     <xs:complexType name="confidenceType">
         <xs:extension base="conf:confidenceBase">
           <xs:attribute name="pdf" type="conf:pdfType"

     <xs:simpleType name="confidenceBase">
           <xs:restriction base="xs:decimal">
             <xs:minExclusive value="0.0"/>
             <xs:maxExclusive value="100.0"/>
           <xs:restriction base="xs:token">
             <xs:enumeration value="unknown"/>

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RFC 7459                Uncertainty & Confidence           February 2015

     <xs:simpleType name="pdfType">
       <xs:restriction base="xs:token">
         <xs:enumeration value="unknown"/>
         <xs:enumeration value="normal"/>
         <xs:enumeration value="rectangular"/>


8.  IANA Considerations

8.1.  URN Sub-Namespace Registration for

   A new XML namespace, "urn:ietf:params:xml:ns:geopriv:conf", has been
   registered, as per the guidelines in [RFC3688].

   URI:  urn:ietf:params:xml:ns:geopriv:conf

   Registrant Contact:  IETF GEOPRIV working group (geopriv@ietf.org),
      Martin Thomson (martin.thomson@gmail.com).


         <?xml version="1.0"?>
         <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN"
         <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en">
             <title>PIDF-LO Confidence Attribute</title>
             <h1>Namespace for PIDF-LO Confidence Attribute</h1>
             <p>See <a href="http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc7459.txt">
                RFC 7459</a>.</p>

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8.2.  XML Schema Registration

   An XML schema has been registered, as per the guidelines in

   URI:  urn:ietf:params:xml:schema:geopriv:conf

   Registrant Contact:  IETF GEOPRIV working group (geopriv@ietf.org),
      Martin Thomson (martin.thomson@gmail.com).

   Schema:  The XML for this schema can be found as the entirety of
      Section 7 of this document.

9.  Security Considerations

   This document describes methods for managing and manipulating
   uncertainty in location.  No specific security concerns arise from
   most of the information provided.  The considerations of [RFC4119]
   all apply.

   A thorough treatment of the privacy implications of describing
   location information are discussed in [RFC6280].  Including
   uncertainty information increases the amount of information
   available; and altering uncertainty is not an effective privacy

   Providing uncertainty and confidence information can reveal
   information about the process by which location information is
   generated.  For instance, it might reveal information that could be
   used to infer that a user is using a mobile device with a GPS, or
   that a user is acquiring location information from a particular
   network-based service.  A Rule Maker might choose to remove
   uncertainty-related fields from a location object in order to protect
   this information.  Note however that information might not be
   perfectly protected due to difficulties associated with location
   obfuscation, as described in Section 13.5 of [RFC6772].  In
   particular, increasing uncertainty does not necessarily result in a
   reduction of the information conveyed by the location object.

   Adding confidence to location information risks misinterpretation by
   consumers of location that do not understand the element.  This could
   be exploited, particularly when reducing confidence, since the
   resulting uncertainty region might include locations that are less
   likely to contain the Target than the recipient expects.  Since this
   sort of error is always a possibility, the impact of this is low.

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RFC 7459                Uncertainty & Confidence           February 2015

10.  References

10.1.  Normative References

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997,

   [RFC3688]  Mealling, M., "The IETF XML Registry", BCP 81, RFC 3688,
              January 2004, <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc3688>.

   [RFC3693]  Cuellar, J., Morris, J., Mulligan, D., Peterson, J., and
              J. Polk, "Geopriv Requirements", RFC 3693, February 2004,

   [RFC4119]  Peterson, J., "A Presence-based GEOPRIV Location Object
              Format", RFC 4119, December 2005,

   [RFC5139]  Thomson, M. and J. Winterbottom, "Revised Civic Location
              Format for Presence Information Data Format Location
              Object (PIDF-LO)", RFC 5139, February 2008,

   [RFC5491]  Winterbottom, J., Thomson, M., and H. Tschofenig, "GEOPRIV
              Presence Information Data Format Location Object (PIDF-LO)
              Usage Clarification, Considerations, and Recommendations",
              RFC 5491, March 2009,

   [RFC6225]  Polk, J., Linsner, M., Thomson, M., and B. Aboba, Ed.,
              "Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol Options for
              Coordinate-Based Location Configuration Information", RFC
              6225, July 2011, <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc6225>.

   [RFC6280]  Barnes, R., Lepinski, M., Cooper, A., Morris, J.,
              Tschofenig, H., and H. Schulzrinne, "An Architecture for
              Location and Location Privacy in Internet Applications",
              BCP 160, RFC 6280, July 2011,

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RFC 7459                Uncertainty & Confidence           February 2015

10.2.  Informative References

   [Convert]  Burtch, R., "A Comparison of Methods Used in Rectangular
              to Geodetic Coordinate Transformations", April 2006.

   [GeoShape] Thomson, M. and C. Reed, "GML 3.1.1 PIDF-LO Shape
              Application Schema for use by the Internet Engineering
              Task Force (IETF)", Candidate OpenGIS Implementation
              Specification 06-142r1, Version: 1.0, April 2007.

   [ISO.GUM]  ISO/IEC, "Guide to the expression of uncertainty in
              measurement (GUM)", Guide 98:1995, 1995.

              Taylor, B. and C. Kuyatt, "Guidelines for Evaluating and
              Expressing the Uncertainty of NIST Measurement Results",
              Technical Note 1297, September 1994.

   [RFC5222]  Hardie, T., Newton, A., Schulzrinne, H., and H.
              Tschofenig, "LoST: A Location-to-Service Translation
              Protocol", RFC 5222, August 2008,

   [RFC6772]  Schulzrinne, H., Ed., Tschofenig, H., Ed., Cuellar, J.,
              Polk, J., Morris, J., and M. Thomson, "Geolocation Policy:
              A Document Format for Expressing Privacy Preferences for
              Location Information", RFC 6772, January 2013,

   [Sunday02] Sunday, D., "Fast polygon area and Newell normal
              computation", Journal of Graphics Tools JGT, 7(2):9-13,

              3GPP, "Universal Geographical Area Description (GAD)",
              3GPP TS 23.032 12.0.0, September 2014.

   [Vatti92]  Vatti, B., "A generic solution to polygon clipping",
              Communications of the ACM Volume 35, Issue 7, pages 56-63,
              July 1992,

   [WGS84]    US National Imagery and Mapping Agency, "Department of
              Defense (DoD) World Geodetic System 1984 (WGS 84), Third
              Edition", NIMA TR8350.2, January 2000.

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RFC 7459                Uncertainty & Confidence           February 2015

Appendix A.  Conversion between Cartesian and Geodetic Coordinates in

   The process of conversion from geodetic (latitude, longitude, and
   altitude) to ECEF Cartesian coordinates is relatively simple.

   In this appendix, the following constants and derived values are used
   from the definition of WGS84 [WGS84]:

      {radius of ellipsoid} R = 6378137 meters

      {inverse flattening} 1/f = 298.257223563

      {first eccentricity squared} e^2 = f * (2 - f)

      {second eccentricity squared} e'^2 = e^2 * (1 - e^2)

   To convert geodetic coordinates (latitude, longitude, altitude) to
   ECEF coordinates (X, Y, Z), use the following relationships:

      N = R / sqrt(1 - e^2 * sin(latitude)^2)

      X = (N + altitude) * cos(latitude) * cos(longitude)

      Y = (N + altitude) * cos(latitude) * sin(longitude)

      Z = (N*(1 - e^2) + altitude) * sin(latitude)

   The reverse conversion requires more complex computation, and most
   methods introduce some error in latitude and altitude.  A range of
   techniques are described in [Convert].  A variant on the method
   originally proposed by Bowring, which results in an acceptably small
   error, is described by the following:

      p = sqrt(X^2 + Y^2)

      r = sqrt(X^2 + Y^2 + Z^2)

      u = atan((1-f) * Z * (1 + e'^2 * (1-f) * R / r) / p)

      latitude = atan((Z + e'^2 * (1-f) * R * sin(u)^3)
      / (p - e^2 * R * cos(u)^3))

      longitude = atan2(Y, X)

      altitude = sqrt((p - R * cos(u))^2 + (Z - (1-f) * R * sin(u))^2)

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RFC 7459                Uncertainty & Confidence           February 2015

   If the point is near the poles, that is, "p < 1", the value for
   altitude that this method produces is unstable.  A simpler method for
   determining the altitude of a point near the poles is:

      altitude = |Z| - R * (1 - f)

Appendix B.  Calculating the Upward Normal of a Polygon

   For a polygon that is guaranteed to be convex and coplanar, the
   upward normal can be found by finding the vector cross product of
   adjacent edges.

   For more general cases, the Newell method of approximation described
   in [Sunday02] may be applied.  In particular, this method can be used
   if the points are only approximately coplanar, and for non-convex

   This process requires a Cartesian coordinate system.  Therefore,
   convert the geodetic coordinates of the polygon to Cartesian, ECEF
   coordinates (Appendix A).  If no altitude is specified, assume an
   altitude of zero.

   This method can be condensed to the following set of equations:

      Nx = sum from i=1..n of (y[i] * (z[i+1] - z[i-1]))

      Ny = sum from i=1..n of (z[i] * (x[i+1] - x[i-1]))

      Nz = sum from i=1..n of (x[i] * (y[i+1] - y[i-1]))

   For these formulae, the polygon is made of points
   "(x[1], y[1], z[1])" through "(x[n], y[n], x[n])".  Each array is
   treated as circular, that is, "x[0] == x[n]" and "x[n+1] == x[1]".

   To translate this into a unit-vector; divide each component by the
   length of the vector:

      Nx' = Nx / sqrt(Nx^2 + Ny^2 + Nz^2)

      Ny' = Ny / sqrt(Nx^2 + Ny^2 + Nz^2)

      Nz' = Nz / sqrt(Nx^2 + Ny^2 + Nz^2)

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B.1.  Checking That a Polygon Upward Normal Points Up

   RFC 5491 [RFC5491] stipulates that the Polygon shape be presented in
   counterclockwise direction so that the upward normal is in an upward
   direction.  Accidental reversal of points can invert this vector.
   This error can be hard to detect just by looking at the series of
   coordinates that form the polygon.

   Calculate the dot product of the upward normal of the polygon
   (Appendix B) and any vector that points away from the center of the
   earth from the location of polygon.  If this product is positive,
   then the polygon upward normal also points away from the center of
   the earth.

      The inverse cosine of this value indicates the angle between the
      horizontal plane and the approximate plane of the polygon.

   A unit vector for the upward direction at any point can be found
   based on the latitude (lat) and longitude (lng) of the point, as

      Up = [ cos(lat) * cos(lng) ; cos(lat) * sin(lng) ; sin(lat) ]

   For polygons that span less than half the globe, any point in the
   polygon -- including the centroid -- can be selected to generate an
   approximate up vector for comparison with the upward normal.

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RFC 7459                Uncertainty & Confidence           February 2015


   Peter Rhodes provided assistance with some of the mathematical
   groundwork on this document.  Dan Cornford provided a detailed review
   and many terminology corrections.

Authors' Addresses

   Martin Thomson
   331 E Evelyn Street
   Mountain View, CA  94041
   United States

   EMail: martin.thomson@gmail.com

   James Winterbottom

   EMail: a.james.winterbottom@gmail.com

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