Wondering where your kids are? Your elderly parents? Perhaps even your spouse? Well we have good news for you. Recent changes in cell and GPS technology mean that you don’t have to be a secret agent any more to track a cellphone by GPS. In fact, with the proper network, phone, service and permissions you can find almost anyone at anytime – as long as they have their phone with them!
Before you dismiss this as high tech mumbo-jumbo, consider the range of applications that the ability to track a cellphone by GPS might have for different audiences and situations. Leave a tracking-enabled cell phone in your briefcase or car and you’ll be able to find it if it’s lost or stolen. Give your children a GPS cell device (hey, they want a phone anyway) and you’ll feel more secure about their commute to and from school. Business leaders can use GPS cell phone tracking to keep track of their fleets for deliveries and sales.
Now, if this sounds a little “big brother” for you, don’t worry. Neither the IRS nor your parents can turn your standard issue cellphone into a tracking device without your knowledge. In fact, you’ll need several things in order to track a cellphone by GPS.
First, you’ll need a network that operates on GPS. When considering a carrier, be sure to ask whether they operate on this band. Some of the major carriers you could consider include Cingular / AT&T or Sprint / Nextel. Nextel, for example, provides a GPS tracking service as a separate option for its Nextel customers.
In addition, you’ll need a service provider and correlating device with GPS technology built in, such as a Blackberry, Motorolla iDen, or Boost Mobile phone. You’ll also need a Location Based Service, often offered in partnership with the cell phone provider. One such option is AccuTracking, whose service can be provided through a variety of devices operating on the Nextel network. If the ability to track a cellphone by GPS is an essential part of your cell phone experience, you might want to check out the AccuTracking site to ensure that your phone is compatible (or to purchase one that is!).
Some products provide all of these options in one comprehensive solution. These are often marketed toward a specific audience. Disney Mobile, for example, offers the Disney Mobile service with family tracker, which meets both the conversational and texting needs of kids as well as the tracking desires of parents. The Wherify locator phone is often used in situations where an elderly family member needs a little extra care and attention.
There are a couple of important caveats to bear in mind while using a service like this. First of all, as with many wireless services, tunnels, trunks and interference from other devices can limit the reach of the GPS signal. In addition, the use of a GPS tracking service often takes up more battery power than regular cell phone transmission. Finally, and perhaps most important, the service works only if it’s turned on – so if you want to keep track of your kids, be sure they don’t know how to turn it off!
Essentially, in order to track a cellphone by GPS all you’ll need is the right technology – and the willing compliance of your subject.