[Geowanking] mobile phone tracking services in US & UK?
giles at proboscis.org.uk
Thu Jul 15 11:53:19 PDT 2004
We've just run a month-long trial of Urban Tapestries using Orange UK's
Cell ID location information service. Apparently Orange provide some
custom services (nearest ATM etc) to users based on the network
acquiring the phone's location -- but for the Urban Tapestries client
software on the phones to interface with it, our partners at France
Telecom R&D had to create a special proxy server as Orange did not make
the relevant APIs available to 3rd parties (I believe that they do now
via their developer programme). Orange charge about 20 pence per
network location call.
My observations over the last few months of testing and during the
trial were that the accuracy of positioning was on average 100-200
metres, occasionally as good as 60-80 metres or as bad as 1km. The
feedback from the users (which we're just collating now) suggests that
Cell ID isn't quite fast or acccurate enough for the kind of immediacy
of annotation they'd like.
I've also seen some tests run by colleagues at City University using
Assisted GPS running on the 3 network (Hutchison's 3G network here).
This uses Motorola handsets with built in GPS chips that make a call to
the network for the error correction, which they reckon averages at
about 10-15 metres accuracy. However each error correction costs about
20pence -- which puts it beyond ubiquitous or pervasive uses for the
> I am trying to identify wireless carriers that offer location
> to client apps running on phones without gps, using e911, or cell tower
> locations or (?). I've re-read the threads from earlier this year on
> phone tracking in the US and the UK but found less information than I
> I have heard, or seen, tangential mentions but no real confirmations
> Sprint, Verizon, Nextel, Orange, and T-mobile, and maybe others all
> location coordinates to applications.
> Can any one confirm any or all of this with pointers to carrier
> or partner support web sites for technical details and/or pricing?
> Many thanks!
> Mike Liebhold
> affiliate researcher Institute for the Future
> geospatial weblog: Starhill Index
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