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GPS Phone Tells Others Where You Are

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the twig-me dept.

161

An anonymous reader writes, "According to CNet, a company called Benefon has launched a cell phone with a built in GPS receiver — nothing new there. However, this particular GPS cell phone, called the Twig, does something extra. It can send your GPS coordinates to another Twig owner and then that person can navigate directly to you using the preloaded navigation software. Sounds like this could save a lot of time and effort when trying to explain to the in-laws where your new apartment is." The article says that the phone will cost £330 in the UK, or about $625.

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mother in law (3, Funny)

lecithin (745575) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667181)

"Sounds like this could save a lot of time and effort when trying to explain to the in-laws where your new apartment is."

Actually, I am purposly vague when I give my mother in law directions. If I can just delay her a few minutes w/o being found 'guilty', it helps.

For that $625, I'd rather get her a hotel room.

Mine uses Google maps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16667463)

I'm doomed. She can find me anywhere without a gps telephone.

Re:mother in law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16667473)

my company has been using nextel phones to do this for over a year, they have built in gps and it can be monitored from the web to track where the phones are. of course the phones have web access so you can effectively track the phones from another phone. explain to me how this is different?

Re:mother in law (1)

coalrestall (973453) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668629)

These kind of phones are already quite common in Japan. They're really aimed at parents so they can see at a glance where their kids are. You can set an alarm on them too so you're alerted if your kids move out of a pre-determined area. Of course, you have to enable the GPS tracking in the child's handset and pair it to the parents' first - in other words it's off by default.

Re:mother in law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668651)

Actually, there's an app called Navizon [navizon.com] that lets you do just that on any phone running Windows Mobile or Symbian... and you don't have to spend $650 for it.

So you can have both your hotel room and your Mother-in-law on time for Thanksgiving.

Hey... (4, Funny)

viper21 (16860) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667195)

Can you see me now?

To you this is Good - to me it is Bad (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667209)

Why should anyone "know" where I am.

Now, if I was a travelling salesman who wanted to find places, I could see why it might be good, in case I got lost, but this nanny state concept is just getting out of hand ...

Put your tinfoil hat away (2, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667235)

RTFA - it says (hell even the summary says) you *can* send your co=ordinates to the other phone, not that the other phone can get them without your wanting to.

Then again, anywhere with E911 service this is usually already enabled. But you can usually disable it on the handset if you want.

Re:Put your tinfoil hat away (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667327)

It's a tinfoil passport wallet, actually.

I sold the hat to someone from the White House.

Re:Put your tinfoil hat away (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16667351)

RTFA - it says (hell even the summary says) you *can* send your co=ordinates to the other phone, not that the other phone can get them without your wanting to.

Then again, anywhere with E911 service this is usually already enabled. But you can usually disable it on the handset if you want.

Fuck TFA -- are you simpleminded enough to believe, in today's envionmment, that the cops won't have the capability to enable it at will? It took a decent amount of time before we found out that, with the Onstar bullshit, they could remotely open the mic in any car with it installed. The pigs will CALEA all over this as soon as deployment becomes widespread. If they haven't already. All they have to do is utter the magic phrase, "... deprive law enforcment of this important tool?" and it'll be in their hands before the echo dies out.

If you don't believe it, you can just roll your tinfoil hat loosely and shove it up your ass.

Re:Put your tinfoil hat away (2, Informative)

NiteShaed (315799) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667743)

he pigs will CALEA all over this as soon as deployment becomes widespread. If they haven't already.


Becomes widespread? Can you even get a cellphone that isn't GPS enabled in the U.S. any more? AFAIK, all cellphones here have GPS to provide location data for e911, and I know Sprint already offers a service where the owner of a cellular account can get current position information on any phone he/she owns.

Also, what does CALEA [wikipedia.org] have to do with this? While I'm sure there is/will be some precedent allowing law-enforcement to access this data, CALEA only seems to deal with wiretapping, not tracking or remotely controlling phones (or OnStar).

Re:Put your tinfoil hat away (1)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668729)

Wish I had mod points for ya, buddy.

Re:Put your tinfoil hat away (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16667785)

"you *can* send your co=ordinates to the other phone, not that the other phone can get them without your wanting to."

Hum, could be bad sending or not with this phone. Might want to avoid it all together.

Scenario 1, not sending coordinates:

Husband: "Honey, I'm working late at the office, again. Don't wait up".

Wife: "Again! How come you're hiding your location?"

Scenario 2, sent coordinates:

Husband: "Honey, I'm working late at the office, again. Don't wait up".

Wife: "Oh, really! What are you doing at the No Tell Hotel on 32nd Street then!"
 

Re:To you this is Good - to me it is Bad (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667601)

I agree. This new revelation is disturbing. No one should know where you are. That is a matter that is private and should be known to you and only you. In fact, stop being seen in public and stop communicating with others. These two actions are singularly responsible for 99% of all privacy loss.

*snort*

Sorry. I couldn't keep a straight face for that long.

Re:To you this is Good - to me it is Bad (1)

rodgster (671476) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668061)

/sarcasm on

If you don't have anything to hide, why should you mind if the NSA knows where you are at all times and who you are with/near/etc? /sarcasm off

I'll take one of the dumb phones thank you very much. And I don't have anything to hide, but I still believe in the Constitution, and believe it or not the Bill of Right IS part of the Constitution. Some of us have taken an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution, not the president, not the NSA, etc.

In-laws?!? (2, Funny)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667223)

Sounds like this could save a lot of time and effort when trying to explain to the in-laws where your new apartment is.

What use to me is a cell phone if I have to leave it on the other side of town?

- RG>

Re:In-laws?!? (2)

Superblargo (953025) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667397)

The phone sends the GPS coordinates to another phone. You don't have to leave it with another person, which is why this phone is somewhat unique.

Re:In-laws?!? (1)

fireman sam (662213) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667487)

If only they could create a phone to inform people of an incoming joke

Re:In-laws?!? (1)

HoboMaster (639861) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667737)

I wish I had mod points for all three of these comments. I think the confused guy was the funniest one.

Just a thought..... (2, Insightful)

8127972 (73495) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667227)

...... But what about the privacy issues that would surround this cell phone? Who would get access to this data? Under what circumstances? Can some law enforcement agency use the GPS data to prove that you did something illegal for example?

Re:Just a thought..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16667383)

If you plan on boosting a gas station or the local Quickie-Mart then be sure to pull the fuse from your OnStar system before doing so. All GM vehicles with OnStar have a GPS unit in them that allows them to be tracked. OnStar knows when I purposely drive around in circles trying to throw 'the man' off my trail. :p

Now I just yank the fuse and they no longer compare notes with the grocery store that offers the plastic card that keeps score on how much Velveeta I buy.

This is why I run OpenBSD!

Re:Just a thought..... (1)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667581)

Yup, just another step towards digital tracking and/or ceased privacy of all people... mmm a dictator's dreams come true...

Re:Just a thought..... (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667693)

Modern phones all have a GPS unit in them, it aids 911 in locating people. Unfortunately there is currently no law which governs the use of that GPS data.

They already can track you, the only thing different now is that you can track you.

Re:Just a thought..... (1)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669267)

[sarcasm]Are you suggesting that an organization like the NSA would surreptitiously and illegally monitor such information or try to pressure the providers to handing it over without warrants? Pffft. Why do you hate America?[/sarcasm]

Boost (1)

DRACO- (175113) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667243)

Boost mobile has an application, telenav that does the same exact thing.

Re:Boost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16669175)

EXACTLY: there are plenty of other phones and companies that have tracking programs you can sign on to, who the hell would pay 330 pounds for something everyone else can already do?

Geocaching for the in-laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16667249)

I geochached the directions to our new apartment at the summit of Everest.

How long until some overzealous employer (1)

HarryCaul (25943) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667299)


Abuses this?

People "on call" have a lot to look forward to, I think.

Re:How long until some overzealous employer (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667521)

Is it really abuse to make sure your employees are where you're paying them to be?

Re:How long until some overzealous employer (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667597)

It depends on what hours they are tracking you. They shouldn't be tracking you at 12 AM on a saturday night, they have no business knowing where you are. I could see employers tracking down where you are, when you tell them you're stuck in traffic and you'll be late for work, and then they find out you're lieing in bed. Then again, if you have the kind of employer who you feel you have to lie to when you want to sleep in once in a while, then maybe you should be looking for a new employer.

Re:How long until some overzealous employer (1)

Blkdeath (530393) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667799)

Then again, if you have the kind of employer who you feel you have to lie to when you want to sleep in once in a while, then maybe you should be looking for a new employer.

What kind of employer is ok with their employees choosing to sleep in once in a while?

If I did that to my boss, my next exmployer would be the lady at the Unemployment Office.

Re:How long until some overzealous employer (2, Insightful)

aeoo (568706) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667983)

What kind of employer is ok with their employees choosing to sleep in once in a while?
A compassionate employer? Yes, they do exist.

You may have to win this kind of treatment though. Don't expect employers do just hand this over on a silver platter to you. They won't.

Employers are often dispassionate about their employees, but expect employees to be passionate about their place of employment. It can't work that way. Either both don't care about each other, or both do care.

Employment is like marriage. Would you want to be married to someone, who, the first time you forgot to throw away garbage, divorced you? No? I didn't think so. Then why do you believe it's OK for employers to behave like that? Don't forget though. You have to win good treatment. No one will volunteer to treat you well, because everyone is selfish. And you can't win anything if you're scared to lose.

Re:How long until some overzealous employer (1)

Monx (742514) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668063)

What kind of employer is ok with their employees choosing to sleep in once in a while?

Most of the companies for which I have worked were more interested in results than making sure I was sitting at my desk at a particular hour of the morning. Heck, if sleeping in once in a while will improve my productivity for the rest of the day, what intelligent employer wouldn't allow it?

Re:How long until some overzealous employer (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668271)

I once had a teacher who was 45 minutes late to school because she'd accidentally slept in. Let's just say the principal was less than thrilled.

Re:How long until some overzealous employer (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669117)

The kind of employer from whom all those nice aeron chairs were available for cut-rate prices on ebay.

Re:How long until some overzealous employer (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668301)

The parent to my comment suggested that people who were "on call" had a lot to look forward to. I certainly agree that an employer has no right to track you when you're not being paid. As for sleeping in, there are some jobs where that might be appropriate, but that doesn't work well for people who have meetings to attend, students to teach, customers to assist, etc.

Re:How long until some overzealous employer (1)

aeoo (568706) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667953)

Is it really abuse to make sure your employees are where you're paying them to be?
If that's what you are in fact paying them for, it's not abuse. Otherwise it is. Employing someone is not the same thing as owning them. There is a difference between being a slave and being an employee. A slave is property of its master during enslavement. So, if you say that during my working ours I am a property of my employer, you are saying I am enslaved for the duration of my workday.

You can't pay me enough to be your slave. If you ever tried to own me, I'd kill you. If I couldn't kill you, I'd kill or destroy anything that had to do with you. I'd burn your fields and break your tools. In fact, that's exactly what slaves commonly did.

You are not Spartacus :) (1)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668755)

You can't pay me enough to be your slave. If you ever tried to own me, I'd kill you. If I couldn't kill you, I'd kill or destroy anything that had to do with you. I'd burn your fields and break your tools. In fact, that's exactly what slaves commonly did.

Uh, no. If that were true then slavery would not have been as immensely profitable as it was. While there may be rare aberrations where something like the above occurred, those involved were brutally punished, maimed or killed, as examples to others. There was also collective punishment to encourage a group to "police" itself and prevent a member from engaging in such activities.

Also, some of those quite successfully enslaved were warriors, warriors in a day where that generally meant up close and very personal. I don't mean to offend but I doubt your mental or physical preparedness comes close to theirs.

Re:How long until some overzealous employer (1)

G-funk (22712) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669183)

Yes, unless you're running a "crowd for hire" business. I don't know about you, but I'm employed to do stuff, not to be in the building. If enough stuff gets done, who gives a fuck where I am? If stuff doesn't get done, then get rid of me. What a novel idea.

Or... (1)

blue l0g1c (1007517) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667315)

Instead of buying $600+ of hardware, you could each get a $100 GPS unit and text msg each other the coordinates. Even better, make it interface with existing cell phones through a data cable. I wish electronics manufacturers would start making things more modular instead of All-In-One!!!111.

Re:Or... (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667435)

There is no reason the GPS locator data could not be sent automatically in virtually any format, including an XML email body, whether forwarded from a text messaging account or via the web browser in many phones.

Certainly I don't see this as a price-doubling "feature".

More like a drag and drop from the GPS locator field to an email body.

Re:Or... (1)

enosys (705759) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667955)

There are Java applications for phones which can interface with GPS receivers through bluetooth. One good example is Mobile GMaps [mgmaps.com] , which is a J2ME client for Google Maps which can interface with an external GPS over bluetooth or directly use the GPS receiver in some phones. (Not to be confused with Google Maps Mobile [google.com] which is actually from Google.)

Re:Or... (1)

rHBa (976986) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669143)

I believe this device could have some useful applications for adventure sports enthusiasts.

Personally I fly paragliders in the French Alps. A lot of pilots fly with top of the range GPS units that link in with our variometers. This phone would never replace that but it could provide a useful backup and give friends/family/retrieve driver your location for peace of mind (or so they know where to come and pick you up). Most pilots already carry a phone so to have a GPS unit combined does have some value in terms of weight saving (especially if you are going to climb Mt Blanc and fly off the top). Obviously you could text your location in most circumstances but if you have crash landed in a tree or out on the glacier unconcious this could save your life as it would constantly be sending your location (unlike emergency beacons which have to be activated). Of course it helps if you tell someone where you've gone and when you expect to be back...

Re:Or... (1)

Pacifist Brawler (987348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668833)

Why would anyone want things to be modular? I mean, then I'd have to think about which features are worth my money and I don't care about.

Err, and why would I want that? (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667365)

Sounds like this could save a lot of time and effort when trying to explain to the in-laws where your new apartment is
And we'd want to help the in-laws find the place because........?

Re:Err, and why would I want that? (1)

ChiRaven (800537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668863)

THEY'RE the side of the family with all the money, remember?

Stalking made easy (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667387)

Lets say a jealous tech savvy ex gets a hold of one, and you happen to not be tech savvy (of course none of us). They set it up to always broadcast your location so they can follow you around and check up on you.

Its like some companies make products just itching to be the subject of some whacked out news story.

Re:Stalking made easy (1)

misterpib (924404) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669067)

I've seen this happen with current phones that allow you to track them online.

Let's just say that the guy who was doing it is a freaking psycho...

Anyway, this might make it even easier for people like him.

Yay!

Wait for a mod (1)

daranz (914716) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667391)

I'd rather wait for a mod that allows the phone user to feed false coordinates to others... Including simulations of stuff like driving a car or walking. Now THAT would be nice.

If the phone uses Google maps, (1)

xkr (786629) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667439)

then the two of you will circle each other forever.

My current cell phone does this already... (1)

punxking (721508) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667479)

I just hit the speed dial for home...
"Hi, I'm at Fry's... yes, again."

Old Hardware? (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667513)

Don't newer Nextel phones [phonescoop.com] [phonescoop.com] such as the one in the link have GPS and lots of other goodies as well? I mean I know that this phone is kind of small and friendly, but I am sure I have seen this technology implemented on phones of similar size or slightly bigger.

Re:Old Hardware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16667569)

A service like this has been around for those Nextel phones
for a long time now. http://www.accutracking.com/ [accutracking.com]

Re:Old Hardware? (1)

pruss (246395) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667899)

All currently produced phones in the US have GPS or AGPS (assisted GPS--works better in urban areas, by adding information from a server) for E911 purposes. Whether one can use the GPS or AGPS system for one's own purposes depends on the provider. For Nextel phones where the GPS can be handled entirely on board, the API is fully available to third-party java developers.

On the other hand, current Sprint CDMA phones require ephemeris data from a Sprint location server in order to locate the GPS satellites, and the relevant Qualcomm API is restricted up in four annoying ways:
- the class file is no longer distributed (not a big deal as one can write one's own based on the official Qualcomm docs)
- unsigned java applications are restricted from accessing the API (one can get one's own certificate and then enable developer access, but this is expensive; alternately, one can edit the permissions on the phone, but this might be a DMCA violation)
- the IP address of Sprint's location server is not made public (and even if one got it, presumably use of it would be illegal, since it would be unauthorized use of their computer)
- in case one should want to write a partial implementation of a location server to give the ephemeris data to the phone, the protocol is undocumented

On phones where GPS access is wide-open, one can either in practice or in theory run Mologogo and do this for free. On other phones, there are commercial, subscription-based services.

and since the admin can know everything, (1)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667525)

everyone can be tracked.

Re:and since the admin can know everything, (1)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668449)

i just hope the precision on this is really, really high. that way i can find my !#^!^ phone when i lay it down somewhere randomly (and the ringer is off!)

Our GPS-tracking overlords (1)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667553)

I once heard a quote that said something along the lines that high tech consumer technology is old news to high tech military research. That idea really came to mind when I was reading this - I immediately wondered just how secure this feature is and whether or not it would be easy to use for "other" purposes. Even worse, who knows if there is back door code in the phones firmware???...

Actually this makes me think of a great new product - tin foil cell phone faceplates? OK, maybe not...

Re:Our GPS-tracking overlords (2, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667995)

Really this phone is doing nothing much new, all newly-activated phones in the USA now must have some way of determining the phone location (GPS, tower strengths, whatever) for e911 compliance. This phone is simply giving the user the right to transmit that value to somebody of their own choosing... that's the news.

Tinfoil doesn't work (1)

RKBA (622932) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669341)

Surprisingly, tinfoil isn't thick enough to suppress cell phone signals (at least for incoming calls). I tried wrapping my Treo 650 entirely in tinfoil and then I dialed it's number from another telephone, and the Treo rang. I did eventually locate a metal box with walls thick enough to suppress incoming (and presumably outgoing) telephone calls however.

Yawn... (1)

TheVoice900 (467327) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667567)

Nothing new or innovative here, this technology has been widely available on phones in Japan for years. And $625? I got my phone with the same features for free when I signed up for a 1 year plan. Since navigation in Japan is difficult (not much street signage, non-square blocks, crowded areas) I often send my GPS location to my friends with GPS-enabled phones.

Re:Yawn... (1)

tricorn (199664) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667757)

I have a couple two-way radios with a similar feature. It doesn't have any navigation facilities, so you have to figure out how to actually get there, but you press a button and it sends your current location to the other person, and it shows up on their map tagged with your name. It doesn't update the location, it only gets sent when you request it to be sent.

Gee, It's DSC. (1)

Psychofreak (17440) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668225)

I suspect you are using the Garmin Rino. FRS/GMRS 2 way radio with GPS.

This technology has been in the marine industry (Recreational portions too) since 1988. It is a USCG [uscg.gov] supported system called Digital Selective Calling [boatsafe.com] or DSC [uscg.gov] for short. The system allows for Marine band VHF radios to communicate on a digital level to send data. It is instrumental on "Good Samaritan" rescues on the water, as it allows a general distress to be sent with your coordinates included.

An additional benefit is the ability to do position send/position request. This means that if you and your buddies decied to set up a group of charter fishing boats (people pay you to go fishing with them) you can use this feature that is on all new fixed mount radios, including economy models, instead of spending $100 extra per vessel for a scrambler to be installed in your high end, expensive, radio. This keeps the general public from ruining your day by crowding you and your clients out of the good fishing spots.

Now with this phone will do point to point navigation instead of just street navigation I'll really consider it. Make it waterproof too and I'll take it. Too many GPS products are restricted in their features to the point where they are useless if you have to "walk out" from a rural area, or find your way back to deer camp, not to mention the whole fishing argument.

Phil

Re:Yawn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668899)

Also popular in Japan are super cute colorful phones designed for grade school kids.

The only thing the kids don't know is that the built in transmitting GPS lets Mommy know exactly where you are all day long.

Re:Yawn... (4, Interesting)

Zadaz (950521) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669291)

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. And the other person only needs a web-enabled phone to see where I am [duogate.jp] .

But then again I bought this phone in Japan 2 years ago for less than $200. It only has:
- GPS/Navi
- TV/DVR
- 2 MP camera.
- Music player
- QR Code reader.
- English and Japanese translation dictionaries.

Probably time to upgrade.

Hams did it first (1)

ThisRoadClosed (1021025) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667599)

Hams have been doing this for years with APRS. My question is how am I supposed to convince my wife that I'm really working and not at the pub if she has my coordinates?

Re:Hams did it first (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668691)

No, the real question is how to convince the wife (who already knows you're not working) that you're at the pub and not with the girl you met at the pub.

Re:Hams did it first (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669055)

She's married to a nerd. I think she can be pretty sure he's not with any girls in pubs.

Re:Hams did it first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668865)

Leave the damn phone at work - you don't want to answer it anyway, do you?

location awareness (3, Interesting)

Keruo (771880) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667667)

Location awareness is one of the key elements in 4G spec.
It opens several great possibilities for applications using your current location.

At library or movie theatre? no problemo, phone goes in silent mode automatically.

Focused advertising, when going past some store, you get discount offers to your phone.(where permitted by law)

Need to find restaurant but stuck in weird part of city? no problemo, your cell phone
knows where you are and can probably recommend good place, and even give directions how to get there.

You're lost and you fell down and broke your hip/ankle etc and can't walk? no problemo, your phone
can give your location with greater accurancy than triangulating by cell towers.

Those are just some crude ideas, the possibilities are almost limitless.

GPS phones from Benefon aren't that much of news tho, they have been manufacturing them since ~2000 or so.

And this is news? (1)

WhatDoIKnow (962719) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667671)

My company has been using a similar service for over 3 years. We have GPS equipped phones assigned to our service trucks. Supervisors can use a web site to find a vehicle's location on a map and see where else it has been with a 15 minute resolution. If there's a new service call, we can use the same web site to download directions to a phone.

These are standard Motorola phones (though a rugged industrial model) and I'm sure they cost less than $200 or so.

:wq

$49 Wal-Mart Nextel Phone does this for $6 a month (1)

tomtom2006 (992338) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667691)

mologogo on a $49 phone from Wal-Mart will push your GPS location back to a server every minute. The unlimited SMS plan is like $6 a month.

It also would show you're drinking down at Moe's (1)

sizzzzlerz (714878) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667741)

when you should be at your job as the Safety Inspector at the Nuclear Power Plant.

D'oh!

I just want a phone that will tell ME where I am (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667745)

There seems to be a distinct lack of GPS enabled phones (I dont mean a PDA or smartphone, I mean normal phone) here in australia :(

you guys are getting slow (1)

meeotch (524339) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667777)

Is it just me, or are there some stories that don't sound particularly interesting, but the headline makes you scan the comments anyway - just to make sure that someone made the requisite Soviet Russia joke?

Way to drop the ball, guys.

Re:you guys are getting slow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668515)

in soviet russia... the phones find YOU

Fugly Detector (1)

packetmon (977047) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667789)

You know... A while back I was called by this hot sounding girl who dialed the wrong cellular #. I mean her voice made me think porn star Jenna... Long story short, I wanted to puke and I'm not kidding. Anyhow, this device could have saved me the headache and queasiness... Just think "Fugly girl @ three o'clock". How can I place my order?

Re:Fugly Detector (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668663)

You know... A while back I was called by this hot sounding girl who dialed the wrong cellular #. I mean her voice made me think porn star Jenna... Long story short, I wanted to puke and I'm not kidding.
So you met her? Disastrous results aside, how did you go from "sorry, wrong number" to "let's get together"? That's a level of smoothness I'd not expected to find on slashdot...

NOT NEW.,, (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667797)

Verizon has already done this with the Migo phone and the new application for finding you kids called VZ Chaperone. The application is free on the parents phone once the service is setup on the LG Migo.

Ham radio did this years ago (2, Informative)

SonicSpike (242293) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667817)

Ham radio operators have been doing this for quite a while. It's called Automatic Position Reporting System.

It was developed by a ham radio operator and the Naval Academy:

http://www.aprs.net/ [aprs.net]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/APRS [wikipedia.org]

Oh HELL No!!! (1)

Einstein_101 (966708) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667839)

(Girlfriend) : Hey honey, what time you plan on being home?
(Joe Sixpack): I don't know baby, I'm at Steve's playing cards.

(Enter The Trap)

(Girlfriend) : Oh okay. You didn't tell me that Steve moved.
(Joe Sixpack): Oh he didn't. He's still at the same place.
(Girlfriend) : Oh okay. Did you see the news last night? I heard there was an earthquake...
(Joe Sixpack): Wow... I didn't hear anything about an earthquake honey.
(Girlfriend) : Me neither! So how the hell did Steve's apartment move 30 miles West in 24 hours?!!
(Joe Homelesss): What do you mean baby?
(Girlfriend) : *putting his clothes in a trash bag* Oh nothing dear.

I'm going to hurry to the Sprint store right now before my girlfriend "suprises" me with a new cell phone for Christmas.

Garmin NavTalk did this in 99 (2, Informative)

MDMurphy (208495) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667849)

The Garmin NavTalk had a phone that did this back in 99 in the US. It was an AMPS phone and sent the positions via quick burst of DTMF tones. It was a cute trick for an analog phone. You could see your position on the map display, the person you were talking to, and get navigation information to lead you to them. They did a GSM version, but if was European only and I never saw that one.

You had some control as to who could poll your position, or you could trigger a "send". A couple companies had web sites that would let you see the position of the phones on a map. They did it by decoding the DTMF tones the Garmin spit out.

http://www.garmin.com/products/navTalk/ [garmin.com]

Re:Garmin NavTalk did this in 99 (1)

Boone^ (151057) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668079)

Garmin Rino products do this for 2-way radios.

For those damned teenagers? (1)

Pancake Bandit (987571) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667857)

I'm surprised that something like this hasn't come out yet for parents. I know that my mom would have liked to know where I was at all times.

boost mobile... (1)

Randall311 (866824) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667921)

Where you at dawg?

karma whores stop here (2, Insightful)

thelost (808451) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667933)

ok before this gets out of hand it's a phone with GPS that allows you to send your location to other people, if you so decide.

Please cram it with the Big Brother bullshit, the Nanny State clap trap and please remove your tin foil hats - unless you're after some free karma which you surely will, while saying nothing.

The slashdot article headline is misleading, it suggests the phone is in control of your private details, rather than you. One quick glance at the article and you can see this paragraph which states:


The Twig alert service lets you send your location to someone in an emergency at the touch of a button. Finally, you can log on to Twig's finder service online and search for friends who also own a Twig. If you're thinking about privacy, the service will only work if the other person consents -- in other words, you can control who has the opportunity to stalk you.


It's a sodding phone with GPS and the ability to tell others where you are, that's all.

you too. (1)

redkazuo (977330) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668223)

You probably know, however, that this doesn't invalidate many of the posts in this thread. For instance, if I don't let my wife know where I am ("oh, honey, stop being ridiculous...") she can be pretty sure I'm up to no good ("if you think this is ridiculous, then that's what you married to. And send it right now.").

One could always argue that's for the best of all of us, but it doesn't make it less true that it burns some of your privacy.

(has anyone else noticed there's been a lot less spelling mistakes with 2.0 on slashdot? it's a little bit funny...)

This may sound good but it can turn out to be.. (1)

zzottt (629458) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668065)

This may sound good but it can turn out to be someones worst nightmare if used for criminal.
Case in point my sister.
This is her story:
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/20 03204579_stalker17e.html [nwsource.com]

"A 46 year-old Kirkland man accused of stalking his estranged wife by accessing her e-mail account and hiding a cellphone with a GPS-tracking feature inside her car has been sentenced after pleading guilty to a felony stalking charge."

Follow the link above to read more about the story.
This story still does not have an ending. My sister has started to be on lots of news shows so keep an eye out for it and you may see her even on Oprah

Re:This may sound good but it can turn out to be.. (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668117)

Anything can be your worst nightmare, even the cure for cancer. If I'm going to think about objects in the universe that might be used for criminal purposes I think I'd rate string somewhat higher than phones with GPS units.

Is this so much harder than.. (1)

StreetStealth (980200) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668141)

"Hey, dude, where y'at?" "Fifth and State." "'K, it's in my TomTom. See ya soon."

Lie detector? (1)

Argon (6783) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668199)

So, telling your wife that you're in a busy meeting while you're sitting in a pub at the other end of the town is not going to work ;-).

Business meeting at the pub (1)

Psychofreak (17440) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668399)

You know, It's not that unusual for my company to have business meeting at a local pub. The place has to serve food, and we can write off the meal, and usually one or two drinks fit in the standard budget. If the meeting involves Corporate, then no recipts are necessary. Truth is this is the only way our local quarterly staff meetings can be held. Bribe us with food and beer!

Phil

Where Are You Now? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668255)

The GPS would be much more useful in conjunction with SMS than voice calls. A high percentage of mobile voicecalls are already just "where are you?" If my phone could ask yours where you are, show me on the map, with just a couple button pushes, then let me call you if necessary, we'd probably have a lot less people on public transport with annoying ringing and semversations.

cheating-husband/wife homing device (1)

v3xt0r (799856) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668365)

I guess it would be nice to get this for my (would-be) wife's phone, so that I can track her to make sure she isn't cheating on me, but I don't think I would want her to have one to track me, since I'd probably get caught bone'n the secretary. =/

Finding lost pets (1)

Vulcann (752521) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668403)

A better use of this kind of technology is to find lost pets. According to this site [environmental-studies.de] you can have a cat collar with a GSM Modem that does pretty much the same thing. Just out of curiosity I wrote to these guys about it and they said they have not miniaturized the technology enough to be light and comfortable enough for little kitty, but its just a matter of time before that happens.

Those of you who have girlfriends (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668509)

can expect one of these for Christmas.

Can you turn it off? (1)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668559)

Ok, obviously this is *technology*, not a plan to take over the world..(Sorry guys, I've been meditating and no longer think everything in the world is evil)..

With that, it would be nice to turn *off* this feature without turning off the phone. That would disallow much potential abuse by those who are "curious" to watch your whereabouts for whatever reason (I still realize, however, that evil exists)

If I could turn it off (and *know* it's turned off, AND *not* have it turn on automatically if I, say, turn the phone off then back on again)...

And how about the business owner who needs this for his mobile employees (service techs, etc.) - maybe there could be a password on the phone to prevent turning on/off the feature..

(Just some thoughts)

$625? ... (1)

mre5565 (305546) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668695)

... for $200 I can buy the in-laws a GPS unit for the car.
Stupid.

Tag - you're it! (1)

maggard (5579) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669007)

First off the ability to 'track' a phone, either intrinsic to the phone or extrinsically by triangulating off of the cell towers the phone transmissions are reaching, is not new nor news.

And the ability to 'track' such phones has been a boon to some, a harassment to others.

The Massachusetts State Highway Dept. had a showdown with snow plow contractors several years ago, requiring they carry such 'tattle tale' phones. One obvious application was near real-time tracking of road clearing and coordinating this with traffic reports, state police reports, and the development of snowfall patterns.

However concerns over oversight led to many of the plow operators rebelling, with some significant percentage refusing to take contracts. Other drivers were more amenable, or at least needed the work, and so took to carrying the phones. The immediate result was a large number of infractions were discovered/confirmed. Issues like plows sitting idle for entire shifts, reporting having serviced stretches of roadway they never covered, or taking the state-supplied salt & sand and using it on others contracts like mall parking lots instead of the state roads they were supposed to be clearing.

Location reporting phones can also be a help to their bearers.

I've a friend who is an ambulance dispatcher. Currently the ambulances must call in to him at multiple steps of a transport, always at least 5 times. That is a huge overhead for him and for the crews. As they're already carrying cellphones turning on tracking would be a no-brainer. Better yet as dispatcher he is often called upon to look up directions for crews out on a call, determine optimum routes, or just decide if a particular call is appropriate for his service or to pass it on to another agency - having a real-time map would be invaluable.

There are of course also the more trivial, though probably more generally satisfying, uses for these geolocation technologies.

Proximity alerting is one. Coincidentally within a few hundred feet of a friend in one's address book, who has agreed to share vicinity information and is currently 'visible', then get an alert. Another might be instant local-lookup. Nearest ATM, chinese take-away, public transit stop - send off your location to a lookup engine and find out. Or, from more specialized services look up local history, comments left by others, even pull up local web-cam shots.

My dreamed of feature is micro-navigation, specifically in retail environments.

My ex has an amazing talent for disappearing into the bowels of a big box hardware stores, maga-marts, malls, wherever. Instead of playing the call-and-quiz "Are you by the front wall or the back wall? Aisle 20 or 40? Mile one of pet food or mile two?" a getting-warmer/colder readout would be hugely appreciated and not difficult to implement.

Finally, there is my mother. She is getting lost more & more often. It started out with where-did-I-leave-the-car issues, now we've had a how-do-I-get-there scare or two. Leaving a spare phone in the car would at least get her close to the correct mall garage, even to which side of the garage if not which floor. Enabling her to send a location tag to my father would enable him to relay directions usable to her, not "Go ... East ... On ... Highway ... 274 ... One ... Point ... Two ... Miles" but "Keep going, you'll soon pass the store you bought the white couch at, then turn by the new library".

Obligatory Futurama Quote and ISR (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669229)

It can send your GPS coordinates to another Twig owner and then that person can navigate directly to you using the preloaded navigation software.


Wrist Machine: "Cold. Cold. Warmer. Hot, hot, hot, hot, hot, hot."
.
and
.
Phone tracks you FOR Soviet Russia!

Perfect tool for shadowing your s.o. (1)

poliopteragriseoapte (973295) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669395)

This sounds like the perfect tool to shadow your significant other. Get a pair, then put one into his/her car...

Other application: hide one in the car before you lend it to your teenage kid for the evening.

I am sure this is going to be a successful gadget!

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