HajjLocator: Mobile Interactive Monitoring and Tracking System for Hajj Pilgrims

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

[ 993 Votes ]


Organization Type: Academic sector | Category: Internet for Development

Project Summary

This work proposed a HajjLocator framework for tracking Hajj pilgrims in a crowded environment.

HajjLocator is a GPS tracking system in a mobile device that provides sequence hajj pilgrim locations. When a pilgrim is lost in a crowded and unfamiliar environment, by only pressing a button the assistance will be send to his/her mobile and also it sends his location to his family and the related agencies.


Background facts:
1. More than 2,500 cases of missing people in the area of Masjid al-Haram, the grand mosque in Makkah, during Ramadan 2005. Increasing 14% each year and many more are not reported(*) for umrah only, and for Hajj, it is estimated 4 times of cases of missing people.
2. The number of people who went to the Hajj pilgrimage in 2006 is 2,130,594, where 73% of the pilgrims are non-saudi pilgrims(*).
3. It is estimated more than 30 people die every day during Hajj peak time, most of them are elderly.

In huge congregations, many people go missing due to getting lost or other causes. In some cases, large gatherings cause people to die in instances because of stampedes, fires, mass fights, etc. Records show that at least 362 pilgrims died in a stampede during the “stoning of the devil’ ritual in 2006 Hajj and 250 pilgrims died by a similar cause in 2004 Hajj. A huge accident happened in 1990 when 1400 pilgrims were killed during a stampede in a pedestrian tunnel in Mina (The Hajj, 2011). Cases like panicking because of getting separated from the group or getting lost and cannot find the way back happen almost daily during Hajj.
To assist in overcoming this problem, we developed HajjLocator, an interactive monitoring and tracking system for hajj pilgrims and their family. HajjLocator is a client-server based application by using mobile client environments and server based including SMS server using GSM modem. The HajjLocator framework and the product prototype are provided, including the HajjLocator clients using Android (Samsung), Windows Mobile (HTC), iOS (iPhone) and GT300.

*Statistic released by Ministry of Hajj, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).


This project nominated to the ISIF Asia award because…

When a Hajj pilgrim (especially elderly) in panic situation, we provide a carefully designed SOS button.

They can ask for a rescue only by doing a very simple effort, (slide and press red button) in the smartphone.

This event will send a short message and the GPS location to the Search and Rescue team of Tabung Haji, Scout of KSA, Police and the family and in a short time a rescue team will help the victim(s).

The key features of this prototype are as the following (some still under development):
- Tracking user based on time, distance and user request.
- SOS button
- Geolocation
- Geofence
- Autoreboot
- SMS notification of user location
- SMS triggering for family
- Silence call function
- Speeding detection
- History of user location (google map)
- Update multi-user location (google map)
- Control remotely



In brief the following is the aim and benefit achieved by the HajjLocator:
1. To reduce worrying (peace of mind). Provide a tracking facility for the users when they perform hajj, for their family in their home country.
2. To rescue and save life. Provide carefully designed SOS button, when a user (especially elderly) is in a panic situation.
3. Self localization. Identification of own location.
4. To find peers. Provide each family member location information.
5. Value (low cost/affordable price) estimated RM119 for the Hajj pilgrim and RM30 for the relevant family;
6. Performance (fast in search and rescue of hajj pilgrims);
7. Reliability (Easy to operate - some tasks need only one click button);
8. Quality (Embedded in Mobile devices);
9. Reputation (Easy to carry) and has user friendly features

There are two main objectives of this work: to reduce the worrying of family (peace of mind) and to save a live. Reducing worry by providing a peace of mind to the family members of the hajj pilgrim and they can track them using internet from their country. The hajj pilgrims can send their location to the server including indoor location, such as inside the holy mosque to the server. For saving a live, when a user (especially elderly) is in panic situation, our approach provides an SOS mechanism.

Technical details and contribution to innovation

The framework for the hajj pilgrimage tracking system that we developed has three main aims. The first aim is to promote accessibility by choosing a common platform that is widely used by people, which is the mobile phone. Secondly, the research aims to provide connections availability towards the user, where two types of connections are used in updating the data to the server. The third one is to implement a framework which has a better use of tracking means, and has corrective measures in increasing the accuracy of GPS system used.

The architecture of the framework has two parts, mobile devices with the connection server and the tracking system using the database server, as shown in Figure 1. The GPS-enabled mobile phone is attached with the user and it will then sends the data with the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card number as its identity, together with other data such as the coordinates and update mode, to the server and saved into the database.

Figure 1. HajjLocator Architecture (page 6 of the HajjLocator presentation in the attachment)

The server which deals only to provide reliable indoor and outdoor user location is divided into three parts; server side, processing side and connection side. A separation of servers is needed to handle the mass client updates. Also, the database needs to be stored into different server to ease the updating processes and to avoid bottlenecks.

In terms of connectivity, we deals with two different services offered by any GSM mobile phones. It uses any wireless network infrastructures available, together with SMS as the means of data communication between the client and server. The main priority will be given to updates using any available Internet connection such as Wi-Fi, GPRS and 3G, where it will then make use of the connection to update the server with pilgrim’s GPS coordinates. On the other hand, SMS is also used as the other alternative connection to update the server. In case there are not any Internet connections available, the device will automatically use SMS as the alternative option. This solves the availability issue especially in alerting the missing pilgrim cases.

In addition to that, the security concern is put into consideration. When the administrative or authorized personnel want to track pilgrims, they need to log into the web server and gets the position of the pilgrim in two selections, in a Google Maps view, and in a tabular view. Security concerns is considered as to control privacy, thus we will authenticate any user who wants to access the data.


The prototype has been tested by monitoring and tracking hajj pilgrims in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and Makkah, Saudi Arabia.

The product has been evaluated.

Presentation of this study in academics international conferences got positive feedback from the peers.


- academic paper publication (2 papers)

- patent (MyIPO patent reg UI: 2012 000293, "HajjLocator: a Tracking System for Hajj Pilgrim", by Teddy Mantoro, Media A. Ayu, Murni Mahmud, Moha Asri Abdullah)

- 3 mobile client applications (HajjLocator on Android, HTC and iPhone)

- server of HajjLocator

- system and procedure of tracking people using HajjLocator

Publications and dissemination efforts

- Collaboration with 2 hajj service providers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
- Collaboration with 2 hajj service providers in Jakarta and Bandung Indonesia.

We will do more testing for minimal 10 hajj providers in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Awards and distinctions

1. Gold medal - IIUM Research, Invention and Innovation Exhibition 2012 (IRIIE 2012), Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. 2. Silver Medal - Malaysia Technology Expo 2011 (MTE 2011), Kuala Lumpur Convention Center, 17-19 February 2011. 3. Silver Medal - IIUM Research, Invention and Innovation Exhibition 2011 (IRIIE 2011), Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.


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Project Representative

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Teddy Mantoro

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