Skip to main content

How to Wardrive: Know where to go

Inspired by others, and my goal of getting a golden WiGLE badge, I went wardriving for my birthday. I was hoping for 50k, and I ended up with just over 61k. I'm less than 80k away from my goal!

But how do you pick a place to wardrive, and how do you actually do it? The easiest way is to download WiGLE on an android phone, get some transportation, and be set on your way. But if you want more detail or some tips, keep reading. 

Avon Lady Method:

  1. Find a city within reasonable distance of travel
  2. Examine the results for the past few years of the area; do not use the overall coverage of all time. 
  3. Verify if the city is desirable for wardriving
    • Little coverage in the past few years
    • Most residential areas are not covered
  4. Use maps to search and define high density residential areas (i.e. apartments, town homes). 
  5. Create an order that allows for little overlapping and in a convenient driving pattern.
  6. Use landmarks around the city to define the internal roads
  7. Wardrive
  8. Profit ("internet points")

Evansville, IN

I picked this location because of its relative distance to me, and the fact it looked like stumblers haven't touched the area recently. Below shows a map of Evansville 2020 - 2023. So for the last two years this is the only progress than Evansville has made. It looks like most of the concentration is on major roads, with only a few residential areas defined.

Figure 1

Residential areas have multiple wifi devices per dwelling, so apartment complexes have a high density of wifi and bluetooth. Those places aren't well defined by the map, so I assumed I would get a lot of results there. 

But you can't just drive around and magically get yourself to where the map is bare. It takes some planning. I call this the Avon Lady Method. Avon ladies may blanket a neighborhood with their brochures, selecting high density areas to get the most clients. Shoutout to my mom. 

I pulled up Evansville on Google Maps and got to work. Printing out a couple of paper maps of Evansville, I matched up the roads to the results on Google Maps searching for apartments. I plotted some areas on the paper map to see where I was going to drive. I then wrote the order of the apartments to the path that I wanted.

Figure 2

The numbers at the top reference a part of the map. They aren't really important. After laying out the order of the results, I broke the lists up into different quadrants of the city. Then we went down the list crossing them off as we blanketed the residentially areas. 

This would get us isolated parts of the map, but what about the center? What about the business part of the city? Using Google Maps again, I zoomed out and picked the businesses than would get the pattern I wanted and put those in order too. I called these landmarks. 

Figure 3

The result got me the same amount of networks as all of 2021 and 2021 in Evansville. Removing all results by others, here's what the wardrive worked out to:

Figure 4

There's clumps and clusters on the map from the residential areas. Using the landmarks caused the outlining on the connected streets. Combining the two maps of Evansville yielded this result of total stumblers (including me) in 2020 - 2023:

Figure 5

Comparing this figure to figure 1 shows a significant coverage change and a much more covered city. Overall this was moderately successful. About 14 hours of wardriving yielded 60k-ish results. Evansville is not a big city, and wouldn't hold a candle to large cities like SF or NYC. These areas are well covered my many stumblers; there's less opportunity to find new networks. It's currently January 31st, and here's what's already been covered in the past 31 days: 

Figure 6

It's easy to see where the major cities are and how their coverage for this year has already been explored. That doesn't mean there's not still plenty of wardriving to be had, but it does mean there's less. These numbers could rival the 60k found in Evansville, but it would be a longer, harder trip. Look at SF's coverage, I see you stumblers. 

Next post, I'll talk about the devices I used and their individual results. You'll be shocked on how good cheap, old equipment can be! Thanks for reading; happy wardriving. 



Popular posts from this blog

The problem with sensing finger magnets

 Okay, I have to make this post quick, but the second part will be way worth the payoff. October 3rd I'm having one of my sensing magnets taken out that I've had for about 5 years; since Nov 2016. It's clearly rejected and when I tried to make the situation better, I made it worse.  In previous posts or tweets, I've mentioned I had a method to re-stimulate the magnet. Do not attempt. It's likely the reason it's now rejected after so many years.  Biohacking comes with a lot of risk, especially if you're afraid of needles and knives, but the benefits outweight the risks. I loved having a strong magnetic sense with both of the magnets. I love the honor I've had to have them all this time. But now it's painful to use my finger and there's a large black bulge where the magnet wants to exit my finger.  Some questions I have before cutting open: 1. How am I going to numb my finger? What method will work? 2. Is the coating or silicone broken? Any risk of

2021 & 2022 Resolutions

 I am not into the whole "New Year, New Me" thing 2022 is going to make 2020 look like a baby. Last year, I made a post about my resolutions and goals for the year, and I thought now would be a great time to update on that. Let's revisit my resolutions from last year: 2021 1) Meatless Mondays 2) No Candy Wednesdays 3) Submit to WiGLE every month (almost!) 4) ... and the Grand Finale: Make an optimized trip half-way across the country in my truck! So I didn't do a great job. I had some other resolutions that I didn't post, and I also didn't do so great on those. I almost summitted to WiGLE every month, but I missed October and November. Similarly, I had a resolution to post to my blog once a month, and I almost made it, except I missed the last two posts. Hopefully, I will make this up by writing posts and back-dating them, so I would at least have completed the goal.  Resolutions I think my goals failed for various reasons. I didn't make realistic goals fo