When Is Finding a Lost Cell Phone Beyond Hope?

This post is brought to you by real life, my life. Its a story about what happens when a blogger who writes about GPS tracking ends up losing his phone, and how sometimes there is nothing you can do about finding it.

Recently, my family and I were vacationing in America’s Finest City. We were having a great time enjoying the 70 degree weather, the sunny skies, wonderful food, and sandy beaches. The weather was fantastic and a nice break from the frigid January we would have had to spend in the Midwest where we live. We went outside all the time and took several trips to the beach to enjoy the surf, smell the salty air, skip rocks, and get sand everywhere.

Beach Fun 1

We really had a grand ole time.

Beach Fun 2

Beach Fun 3

Then it came time to get back to the car, get the kids clean, and get home. It was clearly nap time. We had to walk a good bit to get back to the car and upon arrival we quickly set about getting the kids ready for departure. While my wife changed one I was cleaning the other – a task made difficult by tiredness and sand’s ability to stick to anything. Frustrated and done it was finally time to get the kids in the car. As I was taking our youngest to his seat I took out my phone to see if I had any messages from friends who I would hang out with later that night. I had none and as I was transferring our child to his car seat I placed my phone on the roof of the car. Big mistake.

Our other child distracted me by wanting me to get him in buckled in too so I went over to his side of the car, got him in, and then got in the car myself. My phone, a Droid X, was still sitting on the top of the car.

We got in the car, popped a U-turn and started heading home. 10 minutes later as the car accelerates up the on ramp to get on the free way we hear a thud and look around the inside of the car to see what had happened. We think its just my son throwing one of his sticks against the side of the car. We continue driving and I think little of the thud and what it could mean.

It wasn’t until we get home, get inside, and lay the napping kids down that I realize I don’t have my phone on me. I panic, but stay calm because I know I have Lookout Mobile Security downloaded to my phone.

I get on the laptop, log into my account, and do a phone locate through their website. It was a long three minutes waiting for the app to tell me where my phone is and at the end of three minutes I still had nothing. So I did it again, hoping that there was just a minor glitch and the phone would figure it out. It didn’t.

Then I downloaded Plan B to my phone, not so much for the location of the phone but to see if it was on and had a network connection. In a lot of our tests in the review of Plan B the app downloaded within a minute to our phone and our GMail account received a message from Lookout telling us it would have a position on our phone soon. This didn’t happen this time.

I found myself in the worst case scenario for loosing your cell phone. My phone was either off, out of batteries, destroyed, or taken over by someone else who knew what to do as soon as they found my phone. At this point there was no technological solution to my problem. All I could do was go back, retrace my steps, and see if I could find my phone. GPS tracking would be of no help to me.

So I got in the car, drove the 20 minutes back to where we parked and surveyed the scene. After looking for a few minutes I faintly remember placing the phone on the roof and then I hear it, the thud as we accelerated onto the freeway. Its at that moment that I realize my phone is not stolen, its not off, and its not out of batteries. My phone is smashed into a confetti of plastic and silicon.

Here are some of my takeaways from this experience:

  1. Sometimes being prepared doesn’t matter. I was certainly prepared in the eventuality that my cell phone might become lost or stolen. I had the necessary apps installed and had done my homework on how to use them. But there are some things that you just can’t control.
  2. GPS tracking apps have their limits. This is really just a restatement of my first takeaway, but needs to be said. Tracking apps ARE NOT the solution for finding every lost phone. Good ole fashioned skills such as retracing your steps and remembering cannot be bypassed.
  3. Don’t be an idiot. I was an idiot and did not properly secure my phone. I should have put it back into my pocket. Or better yet, gotten a magnetic case so it would have stuck to my car. ūüôā

How To Find A Stolen Cell Phone With GPS Tracking

Finding that your cell phone was been stolen can be a gut-wrenching experience.  It is your connection to the world and all of a sudden it is ripped from your life, falling into the hands of a complete stranger. Questions have to be racing through your mind at this point.  Can I get it back? Can I keep my data private? What will happen to all my pictures?

Thankfully, we live in a world that has more to it than those who seek to steal mobile phones.  We also have innovators who create applications for cell phones that keep our personal data safe and track down a stolen phone. A group of these good guys have created an app called Lookout Mobile Security and it is currently free to download on BlackBerry, Android, and Windows Mobile smartphones.  It does more than just use GPS tracking to find a stolen cell phone.  It is a full ledge smartphone security suite that will let you protect your phone from physical and virtual threats.

How can I track my stolen cell phone?

Smartphones are an investment. If you buy one without a free upgrade deal or sign-up promotion it can cost hundreds of dollars. High end phones range between $500-$600 before the contracts and promotions bring the price down to (just) $200. Quite frankly, it does not matter what price you buy at  Рany smartphone is going to be a really expensive phone. Until the cell phone boom it was not normal for people to carry such an expensive piece of hardware with them everywhere, especially one that is so easily lost or stolen.  When it gets stolen you want to find a way to get it back, now.

GPS tracking provides the solution for a lot of people who want to get their stolen cell phone back. By leveraging the smartphone’s location finding capabilities and the data plan that is almost assuredly included with the phone, users of the Lookout Mobile Security app will be able to find the location of their cell phone ¬†(provided that it is on, of course).

Now this brings up one of the three HUGE caveats that need to be understood about tracking a stolen cell phone. The first is that you must have already downloaded the GPS tracking app before the phone is stolen.  In other words, the cell phone must still be in your possession when you put the app on it. You cannot download any apps that will let you track your stolen mobile remotely. Sorry, but that is just the way that it is. UPDATE:  Android phones CAN install certain apps remotely that will let you track down a lost or stolen phone.  You can find a write up we did here: How To Install GPS Tracking Apps Remotely To Find A Lost Or Stolen Android Cell Phone

The second caveat is that the cell phone must be turned on for the Lookout Mobile Security app or any other stolen phone recovery app to work. The phone needs to be on for several reasons. The first is that it needs to be able to receive the message from the Lookout servers to get the phone to use its GPS chip to determine the cell phone’s location. This is the same with all stolen cell phone recovery programs. Mobile Me, Lookout, et al work this way.

The second reason the phone must be on is that it power is required to use the cell phone towers and/or GPS chip to figure out where the phone is. A phone that is unable to find its own location is of no use to someone trying to find out where it is!

The third caveat is that the phone must be in range of a cell tower. In order to track the phone, it must in contact with the network to receive messages and to communicate with you, the owner.  Both reception and transmission of messages is hindered if the phone is outside the boundary of its network or has some physical impediment to cell signals.  Without the network you are screwed.

But given that the phone is on, it is in network range, and you have already downloaded the tracking app, how helpful will one of these apps truly be?  Can it provide an exact location for a lost phone?

Precision depends on several important factors.  Sometimes a location will be very good, reliably providing an exact address for the location of your phone.  Other times it simply be a reasonable guess, one just good enough to give you a general idea where the phone might be.

Here is picture taken from the web interface of a GPS tracking app that will be illustrative of just how exact tracking can be:

Stolen Phone Tracking Satellite

If you have good eyes you will see that the circle around the phone is fairly large. It says it has an accuracy of 1,870 meters, or a little over 1 mile. The center of the circle, represented by a cell phone icon, is a pretty accurate representation of where my phone is, being off my perhaps several hundred feet.

This underscores the point that with GPS tracking apps you have little knowledge beforehand about how accurate the location is going to be. There are too many factors that can cause GPS errors. For example, my home is of an older, more solid construction than newer homes might be. I have had great difficulty getting a solid GPS fix for my location on several different devices. I may measure my location one day and get one set of coordinates only to measure it again the next day and get coordinates hundreds of feet away from previous measurements. While this is not good for tracking down a lost cell phone with GPS, it is reality.

In addition to the make up of the place where the cell phone has been taken you also have to consider other aspects of location that may come into play. Large surrounding buildings, lots of trees, canyon walls, and other inhospitable terrain features can cause GPS tracking equipment to give inaccurate readings. These can skew the position information just as wildly as the composition of the home.

You should not let these factors prevent you from downloading an app that will help you recover your stolen cell phone. You have no way of knowing who is going to steal it or where they are going to take it. For all you know, you could get an almost exact location for the cell phone, like in this picture:

Stolen Phone GPS Tracking

My phone was in the same exact place when I used Lookout to find its location previously (see pic above this one to see the difference). I went from getting a location somewhere within a mile of the place they put my phone to being within 26 feet. That is a very great difference and it just goes to show how tricky GPS tracking can be for any device – let alone a cell phone.

But this location is really spot on. I live exactly where the tracking app puts me. Checking the location of a lost or stolen phone more than once is a good idea!

How can I get back my stolen cell phone?

Now that you have figured out the location of your phone there are a couple of things that you can do to get your cell phone back. The first, wisest and easiest is to call the police. If you were the victim of a mugging or other assault the police will probably be more than happy to use your information to find the criminal. They will want to get the crook off the street, especially since they were willing to be violent over something as simple as a cell phone.  They also have an eye witness (you!) that can place the suspect at the scene, sealing the case for them and getting another criminal off the streets. There are several news stories circulating the press that confirm this.

Another thing that you could do to get your cell phone back is confront the thief and get them to give you your cell phone back. Just don’t pull an OJ and do it at gun point. You’ll probably go to prison yourself for being a total idiot. Instead, make it safe and do it in a public place. This also only really works if it is stolen by somebody that you know. Using shame and public confrontation is a great way to get the phone back once you know who stole it.

How can I wipe the data on my stolen cell phone?

Let’s say that you have tried to recover your phone but the thief is refusing to hand over the good. ¬†Maybe it was taken over the border by a drug runner and now lies in drug-cartel-infested territory and your value your life more than your cell phone. Fine, be a wuss. ¬†You still don’t have to let the thief know who are your emergency contacts. ¬†You can still stop them from seeing all those awesome photos you took last night at the bar. You can still keep your personal data personal.

Applications like Lookout Mobile Security allow users to wipe cell phone data clean. ¬†All personal information will be¬†discretely thrown overboard with concrete shoes on, never to be seen again.¬†Bad guys can’t steal your contact information or learn how to target you for future crimes from your cell phone. The wipe feature does cost a monthly subscription fee – but I can imagine only using it for one month, the month your cell phone was stolen in.

If you can’t get your stolen cell phone back with GPS tracking then at least you can wipe it clean.

Can I mess with the person who stole my cell phone?

One of the really cool things about the Lookout app is that you can make your phone scream. It is a great way to prove that you are the owner of the phone in those public confrontations or to help the police find the phone after they raid the location where your phone is.

A simple command from the app’s web interface and you can turn your phone into a screaming, vibrating, and flashing nightmare for the unsuspecting crook. ¬†This was originally designed to help users find a lost cell phone, but it really would be a great trick to play on a crook.

Stolen Cell Phone GPS Tracking Apps

Here is a list of some tracking apps that are designed to help you recover your lost or stolen cell phone:

Obviously free is better.

Pay It Forward, Share this Post

If you found this post useful, feel free to share it with your friends so that they don’t have to worry about their cell phone if it gets stolen. Always having a tracking app on hand is a good way to make sure they can retrieve their phone. You can help them by:

Free GPS Tracking Applications and Software

You can get GPS tracking for free. There are a couple of different ways to get real-time tracking for your family, friends, or co-workers, but the vast majority of them have something to do with cell phones. Below is a list of several different free GPS tracking services that you can take a look at and decide which one is going to work best for you and your family.¬† Not all these free applications are available on all mobile devices, so be sure to look at the specific application’s compatible device list to see if your cell phone can run this free GPS tracking software.

InstaMapper – Cell Phone Tracking Made Simple

InstaMapper is a free cell phone tracking application available for download and installation on a cell phone. Getting an account is free and only takes a minute or two (be sure to have a valid email address ready for the registration process). After registering you will install an application on your cell phone that is going to provide all the tracking data. This application, when running, will periodically send the phone’s GPS coordinates to InstaMapper servers where they will compile the data for your own use.

Once your GPS coordinates are there, you can login to your account and see your location on an interactive Google map. This can be great for finding your way around a new place or figuring out exactly how to get someplace (this does require that your cell phone have internet access).  Also, if you want your family or friends to know where you are you can give them the login credentials to your account or you can embed a map of your location on a web property (such as a web page, blog, or Facebook profile). Alternatively, you could send them a link that will take them to a map on the InstaMapper website that will look like this.

This free application also lets you record 100,000 locations per mobile phone, organizing them into different tracks and exported in a variety of formats. This volume of locations is equivalent to several months of 24/7 tracking! Now that is a lot from a completely free GPS tracking application.

This is a very powerful application for anyone looking to let other know about their position in the world. Here is a list of compatible phones for this application.

If you are interested in this option, you should really consider looking at to get one of the many Boost Mobile cell phones that are compatible with these devices. According to the InstaMapper website, data plans can run as little as $0.35 per day, which comes out to around $11 per month, making it one of the most economical GPS tracking devices ever – and with an anticipated battery life of 8-12 hours this has many different potential uses for people and for companies.

If you are going be using this cell phone GPS tracking to monitor a teen driver, to check up on a cheating spouse, to monitor workers while they operate company vehicles, or just to get a better picture of where you have been or are at in the world then InstaMapper should be a very strong candidate for your GPS tracking needs.

3dtracking – Bringing GPS Tracking To PDAs

3dtracking is another application that can be downloaded for cell phones that can provide real-time GPS tracking, but unlike the InstaMapper application this is also available on a range of PDAs. For devices that are compatible with this software see their list of compatible devices.

Being an application compatible with PDAs, it lets you integrate a GPS device that you already own (like an automobile navigation unit like a Garmin Nuvi 760) with a web-enabled or cell phone PDA.  This can be extremely useful for those that already own these devices and who want to take advantage of one of the many free GPS tracking apps out there.

Here is a mock-up combination of devices from the 3dtracking website:

A possible example of a set-up for using 3dtracking is a Windows Pocket PC device (such as an Ipaq) that is used with a GPS receiver (Bluetooth or wired). The application will obtain the GPS data from the receiver and then transmit it back to our servers (if your device is both a phone and a PDA (e.g. the i-Mate/Qtek range of products) then it can connect via GPRS. If not, you can transmit all your data to our servers when you sync your PDA to your computer). Once on our servers, you can log in at any time to see your traveled route on either Google Earth or Google Maps. Just select your starting date and time, as well as your end date and time, and our systems will show you exactly where traveled and your speeds along the way.

You can make this data available to other people in a similar fashion to InstaMapper: you can give someone the login credentials to your account or you can put a map on a web property that you own.  However, it does appear that in order to put your map up on a website you must be able to edit information in the <head> html section of the webpage.  This is not possible on websites like Facebook, MySpace, or WordPress.com.  It is possible on Blogger, a self hosted WordPress blog, or a static html page that you might create.

In the end, this is an adequate system if you already have one of the devices mentioned on the list – but if you are just starting out and don’t own a device yet you might want to give InstaMapper a shot if you want to share your position data with someone else.

Mologogo – A Free Social Cell Phone Tracking GPS

Mologogo is like the Facebook of free GPS tracking applications for cell phones.¬† You can access the location of yourself or your friends from your phone or the web, giving you a quick picture of where everyone is at any given moment of the day.¬† This is great for people who are constantly on the go and love to keep their friends close.¬† You can get alerts when people on your friends list are close to you, or you can search to see if your friends are around a certain point of interest (like the club you are at), and stay updated with local weather and traffic conditions all from the same screen. Mologogo also lets its users engage in mobile chat, so you don’t need to burn up text messages if you don’t have an unlimited plan but want to have a quick conversation with a friend in your area.

Mologogo also lets you interact with all this data from a PC.  You can get a picture of where your friends are at at that very moment, you can add new friends to your account, and you can even show your location on your own webpage or blog (just like InstaMapper and 3dtracking).  Your ability to engage with others via your position information with this free cell phone tracking application is pretty phenomenal and offers something that neither of the two previously mentioned applications are able to provide as easily.  This is definitely the most social of all the GPS tracking apps I have seen.

If you want to know if your phone is compatible with this application then you should take a look at the following compatible phone list.  What this list essentially includes is any Nextel, Sprint, or Boost Mobile phones that is able to support Java and also has a GPS receiver installed. Mologogo is also able to be used on Blackberries, Windows Mobile Pocket PC Phones, and SmartPhones on any mobile provider as long as there is an external or internal GPS with the device.

The social aspect of Mologogo is really the best thing about it.  If you want to use your cell phone as a GPS tracking device for the purpose of connecting with your friends then there is no better application on the market.  But it does lack some of the useful features that make InstaMapper such a good application for a wide range of applications.  You simply cannot go wrong with Mologogo if you just want to stay connected to your friends.

LiveTracker – A Blackberry GPS Tracking App In Beta

LiveTracker is currently in beta development and is only available for Blackberry devices. It is still free, so users of the Blackberry should definitely consider using this free software on their phones.¬† One main perk is that you don’t need to register an account to use this software – all you do is download the software from the SkyLab website and install it on your phone. Start running the application and it will begin recording and sending your location coordinates that it gathered via GPS to the LiveTracker servers.

The ability to share locations with this app is still a little limited – you can only send tracking links via EMail, PIN, SMS, and MMS. You cannot currently embed your location like you can with all the other free GPS tracking applications already mentioned. While this is not that big of a deal for some users, embedding is very important to some users. However, since this software is still in beta you have to realize that these are probably features that the developers are planning on implementing at some point.

If you use a Blackberry you still might want to check this out if you are just trying to dabble in what cell phone GPS can provide.¬† It might not be as cool, powerful, or full featured as InstaMapper, 3dtracking, or Mologogo – but just because it isn’t now doesn’t mean that one day it might be the best app out there.

GeoTrack24 – Free (Limited) GPS Tracking For Phones and Devices

GeoTrack24 offers a free GPS tracking service, but the “free-ness” of this service is rather limited.¬† A free account will allow you to track one device, allow 1 person to be able to view this data, and has a history of 3 days.¬† There appears to be no way to share data with others, making it very hard to use this service for very much.¬† What does make this service unique is that it can be used on a wide range of devices – both cell phones and various GPS tracking devices.¬† For a full list of compatible devices see their cell phone list and units list.

Because you can use some GPS tracking devices with this service it is something that you might want to consider using, but the limited device history and 1 account makes it severely limited in what it can do.  They do offer some subscription based plans that are relatively inexpensive (rates are quoted in Pounds), but when you can get a similar, but better, service for free on a cell phone from another software package then you should probably consider this service last on your list.

If you just want to do some minimal free GPS cell phone tracking then this software is probably going to be good enough for you.  However, you should definitely consider some of the other applications mentioned here since they offer a higher quality service.

OpenGTS – Consumer Grade Free GPS Fleet Tracking Software

OpenGTS is a free GPS tracking software that is commercial grade.  Its main application is to be used in GPS fleet tracking, but it could be used to help a family monitor the activity of several people or vehicles at the same exact time.  This free software also differs greatly from some of the other applications mentioned above in that it is a server side tracking software Рmeaning that it is not installed on any device but is instead installed on a computer.   OpenGTS acts like the captain of your GPS tracking device, taking in the information that the device transmits via GPRS.

If you are looking for a short right up of this service you can read more about it at OpenGTS: A Free GPS Fleet Tracking Software.

GolfLogix – Free GPS Tracking Software For Golf Enthusiasts

If you are in the market for a free golf GPS tracking software then you have to check out GolfLogix.¬† They offer a a free golf GPS application for iPhones and Blackberries.¬† They don’t currently have a free app for all the different styles of Blackberry, so head on over to their site at GolfLogix to see if your particular flavor is able to run their software.¬† If you are a Verizon customer, you might be out of luck since this carrier is notorious for not letting people install third party applications on their Blackberries.

If you are looking to get free GPS tracking then you are probably going to be looking to the cell phone.  The number of free and useful applications available on these devices makes it a very compelling pick for those interested in getting GPS information in real time to a wide range of interested parties.

Do you have any experience with these free GPS cell phone tracking applications?  We would love to hear about them in the comments section below.

Cell Phone GPS Tracking

Cell phone GPS tracking is a little tricky to talk about because mobile phones have GPS-like capabilities without having to be GPS devices.¬† So, in some cases, a cell phone is able to be tracked even when it doesn’t have a GPS receiver installed in it.¬† The reason behind this is rather simple and has everything to do with a principle I have already covered on this site: trilateration.

Once you understand the basics behind this principle you will see that is is obvious that a cell phone could be tracked whether or not it was GPS enable.¬† Simply put, trilateration takes the know distance of an entity from 3 or more objects to calculate the exact location of that entity.¬† I know, that sounds confusing – but it really isn’t.

Imagine that you are sitting somewhere in a room.¬† The room is a 10×10 square and you are somewhere in it and you want to find out exactly where you are in the room.¬† There is a desk in the middle of one of the walls that you are 5 feet from.¬† On the exact opposite wall there is another table in the middle of the wall that you are exactly 5 feet from as well.¬† Then there is a mirror on the third wall that you are looking at yourself from 5 feet away.¬† Where are you in the room?

If you answered, “In the center.”¬† Then you already know everything you need about trilateration to completely understand how a cell phone can work without actually having a GPS tracking device installed in it.

Let’s use the example of the two table and the mirrors from above to help us understand this.¬† The tables and the mirrors here represent cell phone towers that are dotted across urban landscapes all over the country.¬† In my city, they are dressed up to look like palm trees or other pleasant things but you still know what it is, a cell tower.

These cell towers transmit cellular signals out to mobile phones.  The signals travel at a constant speed which makes finding out the distance between cell phones and cell towers very easy.  All one must do is record the amount of time it takes between the time that the signal was transmitted by the tower and when it arrived at the cell phone.  You then take the time that it took and multiply it by the speed at which the signal traveled.  This looks something like this:

Distance Traveled = Speed x Time

This will give you the cell phone’s distance from the cell tower.¬† Since the cell phone provider (a cell phone provider is a company like Nextel, AT&T, Verizon, TMobile, etc.) knows exactly where they cell tower is, they know that the cell phone is within x number of feet from that tower.¬† Imagine a big circle surrounding the cell tower in the map in your mind.

Now imagine a second cell tower that also transmits a signal that is picked up by the cell phone.  This is a certain distance from this second cell tower so imagine another circle around this second tower.  Where the two circles intersect are the potential locations of the cell phone as far as the cell phone provider is concerned.

Once you add a third tower in the mix you should have a pretty darn good fix on the location of the cell phone – all without the use of GPS tracking devices.

It is important to understand that this is also exactly how GPS works, but instead of cellular towers on the urban landscape you have satellites in the heavenly firmament  and instead of circles you have spheres around each satellite.  This is pretty amazing stuff if you ask me.

Now that we have learned that cell phones can have GPS tracking without actually having a GPS device installed in it, let’s take a look at what can be done with GPS cell phone tracking.

There are several different applications that should be considered, but we will only take a look at three to give us a flavor of just how awesome this type of technology can be.  Cellphone GPS tracking can be used for navigation purposes, to monitor a loved ones activity, and to learn useful things about your current location.

Cell Phone Tracking and Navigation

There is little doubt that the use of GPS for navigation purposes is a huge industry.  That was, after all, one of the initial impetus behind the Department of Defense creating the satellite system.  They wanted a way to know where they assets were but they also wanted to us it to tell where there assets were going.

GPS navigation has become the norm in many families across America with Garmins or TomToms or Magellans replacing the friendly AAA triptiks of two decades ago.  I still remember as a child going into the AAA office with my mother to get a triptik ready for a family vacation.  Now, you just enter your trip into the GPS and it does all the routing for you.

Cell phone companies realized that this was a huge market and that their technology could easily break into it.  They could either us GPS technology to do the mapping just like a Garmin can, or they could leverage the cellular signals they were already broadcasting to create new navigation systems.  Some companies decided to go with GPS and other stuck with the cell signal.

Either way you look at, cell phones now use GPS or a GPS-like technology to give turn-by-turn directions to drivers all over the country.¬† While this isn’t GPS tracking as most would think of it, it still is using a cellular phone to track and record position information.¬† It can tell people how to fast you are traveling, an ETA (estimated time of arrival), and it can actively tell you your current location.¬† This is GPS tracking if you ask me.

As we will see this information can be used for other purposes other than navigation.

Cell Phone GPS Tracking And Location Monitoring

Location monitoring is another useful application of GPS in cell phones.¬† Unlike the type of tracking that goes on for navigation purposes, the information used to track the location of a cell phone is actually transmitted from the cell phone back to the cell company.¬† This process is often referred to as “tracing a cell phone.”

We hear about it all the time if we watch any crime show drama.¬† They are always putting “a trace on the cell phone” or “triangulating the cell’s position” – especially when a kidnapper or other bad person decides to call up our favorite detectives for a to have a chat.¬† Essentially what is happening in these instances is that a third party, in the case the police, are using information gathered by a cell phone provider to find the location of a caller.

The police obviously find this information particularly useful, especially when responding to a 911 call made from a cell phone.  But there are other interesting applications for this as well.  One of them is to GPS track a teen in order to monitor their driving habits or to make sure that they are not lying to you about where they are. All teens use cell phones these days so this service is relatively painless for you and for them.  It is also relatively cheap and can be as little as $6 a month for 4 phones.

Another application of cell phone tracking is for getting fitness performance metrics.  Just take your phone with you on a run or bike ride when you have a certain application installed and you will automatically get information like the average speed of your run and the distance traveled.  You will even be able to see your entire course on a mapping application like Google Maps.

Another bit of information that cell phones have been regularly used to monitor is the activity of a spouse or lover suspected of cheating.¬† In situations where this could be going on it is imperative that the suspecting spouse snoops around the other’s activities.¬† This can involved GPS tracking or it can be through other methods, it just has to get done.¬† Cell phone GPS tracking can be a good solution for individuals that find themselves in this situation so you might want to consider using it.¬† It might be difficult if you have separate cell phone plans or they regularly pay the cell phone bill since any tracking charges will undoubtedly show up on your bill.¬† But if you are in charge of this you might be able to set up GPS tracking without them even knowing it.

Finally, cell phones can be a great way to introduce GPS into a kids life.  You could use the phone for GPS tracking for kids or you could just use it to help your child learn about the world around them.  Kids do great with mapping applications and it can really help them get a better understanding of the world around them.  They can also be used to keep kids safe in case of an emergency or other terrible occurance.

These types of location monitoring and tracking applications are going to become more prevalent over the next decade as we experiment with this relatively new technology.  It will be interesting to see how it all pans out.

GPS Tracking Cell Phones and Random Data

The last way that I wanted to talk about was the use of cell phones to communicate random data based upon the location of the user.  What I have in mind for this are apps (like those found on the iPhone) that tell you something specific that you can take action on or find interesting about your location.

If you are on a street and are feeling like Chinese food but don’t know the area you can type “Chinese” into this cell phone tracking app and it will give the location of the 5 closest Chinese restaurants along with some customer reviews and relative price points for the meals.

This idea can have many different applications in areas as diverse as real estate and movie theaters; fishing and ball room dance classes; or finding a replacement part on a car and finding a nanny.  Whatever someone is willing to write an app for the GPS tracking cell phone is going to be able to provide laser-like access to position information that can be used to make life simpler and finding the closest solution to a problem easier.

All of these applications of cell phone GPS tracking have current uses today, but can only be expected to be improved upon with time and advances in personal tracking technology.  You simply cannot underestimate the power of GPS tracking in a cell phone package Рit is, in my opinion the future of all things GPS.

Free GPS Cell Phone Tracking

I have compiled a short list of free GPS tracking software and applications, with the majority of the applications working on mobile phones.¬† Feel free to check out this list and see if your cell phone is already compatible with one of the systems.¬† If it isn’t, you could always buy a new phone, right?

I also have made some comments on how free free GPS tracking really is – if you are interested in reading those as well.¬† To sum up I said that if you already have everything that you need (i.e. GPS smartphone and a robust data plan) then it will truly be free.¬† If you don’t have either of these things then getting free GPS cell phone tracking is going to be anything but free.¬† You will have to pay the costs associated with getting the new phone and subscribing to the data plan.