We investigate the problem of locally coloring and constructing special spanners of location aware Unit Disk Graphs (UDGs). First we present a local approximation algorithm for the vertex coloring problem in UDGs which uses at most four times as many colors as required by an optimal solution. Then we look at the colorability of spanners of UDGs. In particular we present a local algorithm for constructing a 4-colorable spanner of a unit disk graph. The output consists of the spanner and the 4-coloring. The computed spanner also has the properties that it is planar, the degree of a vertex in the spanner is at most 5 and the angles between two edges are at least π/3. By enlarging the locality distance (i.e. the size of the neighborhood which a vertex has to explore in order to compute its color) we can ensure the total weight of the spanner to be arbitrarily close to the weight of a minimum spanning tree. We prove that a local algorithm cannot compute a bipartite spanner of a unit disk graph and therefore our algorithm needs at most one color more than any local algorithm for the task requires. Moreover, we prove that there is no local algorithm for 3-coloring UDGs or spanners of UDGs, even if the 3-colorability of the graph (or the spanner respectively) is guaranteed in advance.

We present the first local approximation schemes for maximum independent set and minimum vertex cover in unit disk graphs. In the graph model we assume that each node knows its geographic coordinates in the plane (location aware nodes). Our algorithms are local in the sense that the status of each node v (whether or not v is in the computed set) depends only on the vertices which are a constant number of hops away from v. This constant is independent of the size of the network. We give upper bounds for the constant depending on the desired approximation ratio. We show that the processing time which is necessary in order to compute the status of a single vertex is bounded by a polynomial in the number of vertices which are at most a constant number of vertices away from it. Our algorithms give the best possible approximation ratios for this setting. The technique which we use to obtain the algorithm for vertex cover can also be employed for constructing the first global PTAS for this problem in unit disk graph which does not need the embedding of the graph as part of the input.