Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Using the GPS Features on Cell Phones?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the geocaching-anyone dept.

Toys 41

Rylor asks: "A couple of years ago I bought the Samsung 300NP cell phone, which has a GPS feature that I can turn on or off. The primary purpose is to meet the Emergency 911 calling requirements laid out by the FCC. I've checked the manual several times and it only says that I can use the GPS feature for anything service I want, but that's it. Sprint doesn't offer anything else about it. So my question to Slashdot: if you have a cellphone with this feature, what cool ways are you using it?"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Hiking (1)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832419)

Shopping
Driving
Geocaching
Spying

Re:Hiking (3, Funny)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 10 years ago | (#7834075)

  • Shopping
    Driving
    Geocaching
    Spying
Yeah, just to amplify on the parent post, it's really useful when driving. Yesterday, for instance, I got turned around as I was driving, and the GPS on my cell phone really came in handy for figuring out which direction I was going, without even pulling over. See, with my left hand I used the cell phone to get a GPS fix, while with the right hand I sketched a latitude-longitude grid on the inside of the windshield using a red grease pencil. I marked my location on the grid, and then after traveling another couple of blocks, I repeated the process and marked my new location on the grid. Voila, that told me I was driving west! The only real problem was that the grease-pencil diagram was a little hard to read, because the setting sun was in my eyes.

There are none. (2, Informative)

xyzzy (10685) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832430)

AFAIK, no carrier has developed applications for the GPS in phones yet. But in theory, it would allow you to get localized directions, or 411, etc.

Keep in mind that it really isn't "GPS" in your phone, but a hybrid using the cell tower for help.

Re:There are none. (1)

ldspartan (14035) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832823)

Some phones use a literal GPS receiver in them, and report position data over the network. Others use tower-based triangulation methods. The E911 bill has different accuracy requirements for handset based and tower based location services. I think handset based has to locate the user within 50 yards, and tower-based has to do it within 100 yards, but thats all off the top of my head.

--
lds

Re:There are none. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7833547)

Well, on my phone I can ask for directions 'From my location' to somewhere else. If I choose 'From my location' it locates approximately where I am and uses that information for a starting point. I'm not sure if it's using GPS or not, but the feature is still pretty neat and could certainly be used with GPS. Also, my phone lets me choose 'Sites and Attractions' which uses some type of positioning system to determine where I am located and tells me what dining, resteraunts, etc. are near me.

Re:There are none. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 10 years ago | (#7833768)

benefon has had a phone with true gps for years(esc!), with maps. features include showing your position on other similar phones maps if you wish.

the fake 'gps' function however would work with any gsm phone anyways and the services offered for it are mainly for tracking(if the phone leaves a certain area & etc..).
-
there's pretty cool app for series60 phones though, that will change the sound profile according to which gsm cell you are in(so that you can have it turn on or off everytime you go to work/home automatically, quite nifty).

Mainly, I use it for stalking my girlfriend. (2, Funny)

Mordant (138460) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832449)

She always remarks on how 'coincidental' it is that we run into one another when out shopping, etc. ;>

Re:Mainly, I use it for stalking my girlfriend. (0, Offtopic)

sinergy (88242) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832508)

Why would you stalk your own girlfriend?

Re:Mainly, I use it for stalking my girlfriend. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7832640)

He didn't say he was her boyfriend!

Re:Mainly, I use it for stalking my girlfriend. (2, Funny)

vericgar (627150) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832645)

This is /.

You really think he has a girlfriend?

He only *thinks* he has one...

Re:Mainly, I use it for stalking my girlfriend. (4, Funny)

Fizzl (209397) | more than 10 years ago | (#7833628)

The restriction order says 'No No...', but her eyes says 'Yes Yes!'
*Stroking his Xena collectible*

because... (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832818)

... she refuses to accept the idea. Supermodels can be difficult that way sometimes.

Re:Mainly, I use it for stalking my girlfriend. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7832841)

To make sure the slutty bitch isn't cheating on you.

Re:Mainly, I use it for stalking my girlfriend. (0)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832601)

"I'm wearin ya down, baby!

Killer app for cell phones (3, Funny)

El (94934) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832470)

Use the GPS to create a map of all the areas where the phone works reliably, and where it doesn't work... aren't digital phones constantly touching base with the cell towers anyway? Then they could get rid of that obnoxious guy constantly walking around saying "Can you hear me now? Good!"

Re:Killer app for cell phones (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7832481)

That is not funny. WTF mods? Why do people feel the need to rehash the same stupid jokes over and over?

Re:Killer app for cell phones (-1, Flamebait)

Deleted (301806) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832509)

my mod points expired yesterday.

This isn't funny at all. It's fucking stupid. period. Quit beating off to thehun.net mods.

Re:Killer app for cell phones (1)

topham (32406) | more than 10 years ago | (#7833022)

And you wonder why they are so slow at providing GPS access to the users? The last thing they want is users to publish the co-ordinates of all the dead spots.

Well... (1)

sofo (18554) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832484)

Lets just say that with some home-brew hardware I know where all you naughtly little monkeys are at all times!!!!

Taco... steer clear of Graceland for chrissakes!

You Could Test It Out (2, Funny)

MBCook (132727) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832511)

I suppose you could always call a specific number with only three digits to see if it works.

"Do you know where I am now?... GOOD!"

Of course you might get in trouble but oh well ;)

PS: For the humor impared... DON'T DO THIS

GPS + Bluetooth + PocketPC = neat (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832518)

Well subject says it all. I can already get wireless internet to my PocketPC via bluetooth. Take that another step and add GPS as well, and I could have a handy dandy direction finder. I've run into cases where that'd be useful.

Couple of Series 60 apps (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832545)

If you want to check out some Series 60 apps, go here [my-symbian.com] and put "GPS" in the search box.

Re:Couple of Series 60 apps (1)

dk.r*nger (460754) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832808)

Well, that would be one application to connect to a bluetooth GPS device, and one doing some simple location stuff from the name of the cell. Probably useful, but nothing like GPS. Not at all.

GPS is about knowing where you are, not knowing that you're not where you were.

The Nokia Series 60 phones are not GPS capable.

Re:Couple of Series 60 apps (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#7833005)

Just trying to be helpful. My watch is a real GPS.

GPS applications are coming soon (3, Interesting)

mockojumbie (303033) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832555)

Our company (Blue Cove) is currently testing GPS apps with with major carriers, one of which will be enabling commercial Brew applications to use the Snaptrack (Qualcomm) servers that provide the MS-based and MS-assisted capabilities in the next few quarters across the US. For obvious reasons they don't want apps and the public to use the same physical servers as E-911.
All Qualcomm CDMA chipsets now have GPS functionality. You should be seeing traffic, POI, mapping and all sorts of geo-games this year.

Sprint would rather you didn't (4, Interesting)

raindog2 (91790) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832638)

I contacted Sprint last winter to ask how I could use the GPS functionality in Java applications to run on the phone, or on a web site, with an eye to making something like a little map of the area with little dots telling me the relative positions of myself and my business partner, for example. They told me to sign up for their developer mailing list and website. I did that, and upon diving into their development forums, found that their party line is that such programming information is proprietary, and that they have some kind of exclusive contracts in place with other parties who are supposed to be rolling out services Real Soon Now.

A year later and still nothing. I've stopped bothering with it myself, and keep the locator feature turned off.... it will still tell 911 where you are regardless. Maybe someday one of the other carriers will open up this feature and someone will develop a killer app so that Sprint has no choice but to follow, but their handling of independent developers leaves a lot to be desired thus far.

Re:Sprint would rather you didn't (1)

rgraham (199829) | more than 10 years ago | (#7834669)

About a month ago I completed a J2ME training class. We used the Motorola i730 throught the Nextel network. We were able to write a couple of small apps that accessed the GPS network and send the phones location via kXML [enhydra.org] to a Servlet running half way across the country.

Nextel is very protective of their network, so you do have to jump through hoops to get permission to load apps onto phones "connected" to their network.

Re:Sprint would rather you didn't (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 10 years ago | (#7837324)

I also had some interactions with Sprint about access to development information. What I found was that generally when they say they are working with a third party to roll out services soon, it means that they are looking for somebody to pay them lots of money to offer said services, and they haven't found that somebody yet.

AFAIK None (1)

gtrubetskoy (734033) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832768)

I've got an LG VX4400, it's a great phone, I can connect to the internet with it @ about 64K using Verizon's ExpressNetwork, but as far as I've been able to figure out, there isn't anything I can do with the GPS.

The LG phones are supposed to programmable via qualcomm BREW [qualcomm.com] , but I don't know first thing about it - perhaps there is some API to read GPS, and may be another to initiate an IP connection and send it somewhere?

BREW (1)

gtrubetskoy (734033) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832784)

This link [devx.com] seems to have some relevant info.

Overview of how it works... (3, Informative)

stienman (51024) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832806)

There is no full GPS unit inside the phone. Instead it takes the GPS signal, does some limited processing, and sends the information to the cell tower it's in contact with. The cell tower has the remainder of the equipment to finish the processing (including knowledge about its own location and the signal it's receiving) and can locate the phone to within the usual resolution of GPS (several meters on a good day)

To use the phone as a GPS unit, one would have to write an app that used airtime to connect to the tower and get the coordinates to display on the phone itself.

I suspect that for the next few years we will barely see more than location based spam and perhaps a few games that will ultimately fail in which location plays a role in gameplay.

In short, the only cool use so far is calling 911 and knowing that in two years they should be able to locate you...if the GPS signal is good enough.

-Adam

Re:Overview of how it works... (1)

rgraham (199829) | more than 10 years ago | (#7834700)

There is no full GPS unit inside the phone. Instead it takes the GPS signal, does some limited processing, and sends the information to the cell tower it's in contact with. The cell tower has the remainder of the equipment to finish the processing (including knowledge about its own location and the signal it's receiving) and can locate the phone to within the usual resolution of GPS (several meters on a good day)

This isn't necessarily true. Some of the newer phones, such as the Motorola i730 do have full GPS support. Programmically with Java and the GPS API you can select if you wish to use satellite positioning (slower but more accurate) or tower positioning (faster but less accurate).

Re:Overview of how it works... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7835243)

for those who aren't aware of it, Qualcomm does have a CDMA chipset which has GPS built in. This is Mobile Switching Center(MSC) based location determination. It reads atleast 3, preferrably 4 GPS signals. The phone has to have GPS software installed though. MSC based location determination has been feasible since 99 for those who aren't in the wireless industry. In Europe there are several companies already using location determine in their services.

In fact, GIS systems like Mapquest already support reverse geocoding where by a set of long/lat is converted to block address. This feature has also been in production since 2000. Depending on the type of obstructions in your immediate area, GPS + network based determination can reach 50-100 feet accuracy. Back in 2000, several companies reduced the chip count from 3 to 1. Other development from 2000 include improved triagulation from GPS signals by using the noise or echoe signals. The accuracy went from 150 feet down to something crazy like 20-30 feet. Google for the information and you'll find it.

the primary barrier to GPS enabled services are the phone companies. They want to be the gate keeper for all GPS services, but the rest of the world doesn't. There in lies the big hold back in deployment. This is especially true of Sprint.

Re:Overview of how it works... (1)

_mythdraug_ (27158) | more than 10 years ago | (#7835523)

There is no full GPS unit inside the phone. Instead it takes the GPS signal, does some limited processing, and sends the information to the cell tower it's in contact with. The cell tower has the remainder of the equipment to finish the processing (including knowledge about its own location and the signal it's receiving) and can locate the phone to within the usual resolution of GPS (several meters on a good day)

SnapTrack [snaptrack.com] is licensing hardware to select phones [snaptrack.com] that does include satellite reception as part of their a-GPS [snaptrack.com] technology.

Re:Overview of how it works... (1)

Gaewyn L Knight (16566) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839681)

May be true for the sprint phones... but my i58sr (Nextel) has a full GPS in it that pumps out NMEA just great. (Verified just now by using selective tinfoil placeing to have no cell service but still be getting a couple satellites)

However... that is about all it does... The only way to see the data on the phone is by asking it for your position... after an eternity (or a short time if you leave the engine on all the time and toast your battery life) you get your lat and lon....

That's it... no waypoints... no map... just the digits.

There are quite a few java apps that I can get for it that will make it "phone home" and do like the APRS thing and say "there he is!" but you have to have the data plan... and at 5$/Mb of transfer starting rate it is NOT worth it... GPS data is small... but not if you do it every 5 minutes ever day of the year :{

I would LOVE to be able to just place waypoints even if only to the notepad app... If anyone has how to grab this info from their Java app I would love to hear about it... I have the SDK running and have done several "hello world" apps and such so... it shouldn't be too hard... if I can just find out how to do it :{

there are gps phones on nextel! (1)

niknud (736442) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832989)

i just purchased the motorola i730 on the nextel network that leverages a java app called telenav or www.telenav.net it is a full blown gps program... NOT leveraging cell towers but requiring a connection with at least 4 satellites at all times to receive an accurate signal with varyiong degress of accuarcy +/- 150 ft. I am still testing it's GPS capabilities for work though it is very similar to the garmin units found in a hertz rental car. it does virtually everything the big garmin units do for 25% of the price. i can establish way points, call in new locations and they appear on my phone, turn by turn instructions, i can download non-gps directions to my destination, it speaks the turns including the road ways, i can locate local or distant hotels, restaurants, info centers, etc. it is pretty impressive as a gps unit an is by far the most solid performing cell phone i have ever had. check it out... it rocks. if you want more info just let me know.

Re:there are gps phones on nextel! (1)

wolf- (54587) | more than 10 years ago | (#7833045)

I'v been using the GPS (not tower based) in my I88s for over a year now in wardriving. One less piece of equipment I needed with me when roaming around.

Just switched from Nextel (tired of a year of misbilling each and every month) to Tmobile. Going to ebay the I88s and go by a dedicated GPS unit I suppose.

Re:there are gps phones on nextel! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7839241)

Please advise ivonfergus@hotmail.com; I have an immediate application. Thanks.

Localized Info (1)

krakrjak (227602) | more than 10 years ago | (#7833046)

Like another poster stated, it isn't really a GPS unit but more of a relative position finder to the nearest tower.

I have sprint service as well and just upgraded my phone to one with this service. I turned the locator on and checked the weather using the wireless web option and it gave me the correct local weather (no zipcode needed). When I went to a neighboring community about 20 miles away I check the weather again and it gave me the new city's weather forecast.

There could potentially be plenty of services for this feature. Resturant suggestions, directions, movie times and ticket purchasing, event calendars, multiplayer gaming against locals and many more I can't think of. Most of these are still to come howerver.

Track your children... or your employees... (1)

count3r (316207) | more than 10 years ago | (#7833101)

This company [ulocate.com] is marketing a service (covered in this NYT article [iht.com] (cached at the IHT)) that tracks phones on which it's java app has been installed. The service is being marketed to parents and employers and allows access to the location information via a website. They'll also send email alerts whenever a phone travels outside a predefined set of boundaries (a "geofence"). Pretty cool.

Most mainstream phones do not use "real" GPS. (1)

llzackll (68018) | more than 10 years ago | (#7842412)

There are a few phones that have an actual GPS in them, but for the most part, the "GPS" feature in the mainstream phones use tower based triangulation, along with some other calculations to be more precise.. Most of these phones don't even have a way to report the location info to the end user..
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?