Claim Of Using GPS Tracking To Prank Google Street View Car In Berlin Is Prank

According to F.A.T, Free Art and Technology Lab based out of Germany, they have pranked a Google Street View car by installing a GPS tracking device to it while it was parked outside Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, Germany. They claim that they were able to somehow attach a tracking device or a GPS cell phone to the car and then receive updates every 2 minutes about the location of the vehicle. They even made a map of the whole think, posting it on their website.

According to some reports, there were even people who used the information displayed on the website to track down the car and perform obscene gestures, shout profanity, or display their private parts in the general direction of the vehicle.

This story has received insane amounts of media attention on the internet and has even gotten a mention of a few TV channels as well, including G4TV:

F.A.T Google Tracking Prank

If one looks carefully at the evidence that is presented on the F.A.T website I think that you will can come to the conclusion that they did not actually track a Google Street View Car with GPS, but instead they merely made a fake one and drove it around like it was from Google and filmed funny and obscene episodes to shame the Internet Giant.

My entire case rests entirely on the their most recent post about how to build a fake Google Street View car. In it, they display the following two pictures (the one on the left is a photo of an actual Google Street View car and the one on the right is of their fake car):

Google Street View Car OriginalGoogle Street View Car Fake
Original Google Street View CarFake Google Street View Car

Let me point out some of the major differences between these two cars – it will become very important later. The first difference is the size of the magnet on the side of the door. The real car has a small magnet while the fake one has a large magnet that takes up most of the door.

The second, and probably more important difference between the two is the camera and GPS tracking apparatus on the top of the car. I have highlighted some of the differences in the pictures below:

Top of Original Google Street View CarTop of Fake Google Street View Car
Top of Original Google Street View CarTop of Fake Google Street View Car

Hopefully my skillfully crafted circles and arrows highlight the points of difference enough that I won’t have to spend too much time showing how these are different.

Now here is some footage of the people at F.A.T pranking what they claim to be a Google Street View car. This one is supposedly of a driver drinking while driving:

This is supposedly of a driver picking someone up who is urinating in public:

As you can see in these videos, the car is obviously the fake one created by F.A.T. If the sign on the side of the car is not enough evidence then perhaps taking a closer look at the GPS tracking and camera apparatus located on the top will reveal that it is in fact the fake tracker created by the F.A.T group.

Add to this the information found in this post, Pantless Germans Flash Google Street View Car, and I am led strongly to believe that the whole claim of GPS tracking one of these cars was completely false. I did not include this video because it does have some profanity that could be objectionable to some people, but in the post they say this:

Hot off the press. See also Gizmodo, BuzzFeed, CrunchGear, Reddit, BasicThinking, BoingBoing. Stay tuned for more Google Street View car tracking at fffff.at.

That last sentence seems to indicate to me that they are representing this as video taken from the GPS tracking of the car, when it is obviously not. The video is clearly of the fake car that F.A.T created.

Thus, I think it can be clearly seen that their claim is false and that the claim itself is the actual prank. The videos are made in an attempt to ‘eff Google’ and make them look bad.

If you are interested in learning some more about this group, there is a little blurb from their about page:

The Free Art and Technology Lab is an organization dedicated to enriching the public domain through the research and development of creative technologies and media. The entire FAT network of artists, engineers, scientists, lawyers, musicians and Bornas are committed to supporting open values and the public domain through the use of emerging open licenses, support for open entrepreneurship and the admonishment of secrecy, copyright monopolies and patents.

So in the final analysis it seems like F.A.T. just wanted to make Google look bad and advanced their false claim of GPS tracking a Street View Car in an attempt to bring attention to their cause. I certainly don’t blame them for their attempt, but it is important that we all see what they actually accomplished.

Feel free to check the sources yourself at: Free Art and Technology

Lost Cell Phone GPS Tracking Explained

Almost everyone has had the experience of misplacing or losing their cell phone. We also all know what it is like to search and search for our lost cell phone in the hope of finding in some obvious or not so obvious spot. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was some way to leverage a cell phones built in GPS technology to help it “find” itself? Lost cell phone GPS tracking is real and is a very powerful and efficient way for people to recover their mobile phones once thy have misplaced them.

This article is going to attempt to give an introduction to how GPS locates cell phones in the world and how this information can be used by owners to find their lost cell phone.

GPS: What Is It?

The Global Positioning System (of which GPS is the acronym) is a network of satellites that orbit the earth and specialized receivers here on earth that interact with each other. The system was developed by the US military in an effort to get a better understanding of where their forces were at any given moment and has been around fro several decades. It was made available to the public under President Ronald Reagan and since then there has been an explosion in the use of GPS technology by regular citizens. We are all familiar with GPS navigation technology, and this is one of the most prolific uses of GPS in the consumer market.

The way GPS works is through a mathematical principle called trilateration. The simple explanation of trilateration is this – if you know where three things are in the world and you know your distance from each of those things then you can figure out exactly where you are. If that doesn’t make much sense then just take a look at the picture to the right. You can know where Point B is in the world if you know where P1, P2, and P3 are.

The world of the Global Positioning Systems, the satellites that orbit the earth are represented like P1, P2, and P3 in our picture above. These satellites emit a signal through the air the travels at a certain speed. This signal contains information like the time that it was sent and a uniquely identifying id. This information is then process by a GPS receiver, which is the same as point B in the picture above. The receiver takes the information sent by the satellites and finds out its distance from each of P1, P2, and P3. It then does some fancy math and finds out exactly where it is right now.

Some GPS receivers that are used for navigation will then show the user this data in map form so that they can know where they are. GPS tracking devices will take the data and send it out over a cell phone network (GSM tracker) or over a communicate satellite (satellite tracker). Still other devices, known as data loggers will simply store the data on its hard drive for download at a later time. Whatever GPS device you are using, they all work of this same principle of trilateration and all fit into the same category.

GPS In Cell Phones

A few years ago GPS receivers began to find their way into cell phones. Then there was a move by the federal government that required cell phone carriers develop a way to help them find out the location that 9-1-1 phone calls made from cell phone originated. The carriers had the option then of using their own GSM networks to create a tracking system based off of the same principle as the GPS network. Some carriers went with this option. Other carriers decided to go ahead and put GPS in cell phones that they were going to provide to their customers.

There are a lot of different things that people use GPS in cell phones now these days. The first and most obvious is navigation. Almost everyone likes to get turn by turn directions spoken to them, especially when traveling in new and unknown places. Cell phone navigation has become to prevalent that some industry experts suspect that the cell phone is going to surpass the PND (Personal Navigation Device) as the navigation device of choice in just a few years time.

Cell phone GPS is also used for all sorts of fun apps and internet surfing features. If you want to know of good restaurants that are near you right now, there are internet searches and apps for that. If you would love to find out the prices of homes in your neighborhood then there is a real estate GPS tracking app for that too. There are literally tons and tons of different ways that GPS is being used by everyday people for any number of normal activities. It is safe to say that GPS receivers in cell phone are making the world a thoroughly more navigable place.

GPS Tracking of Cell Phones

But this article is about lost cell phone GPS tracking, not about all the cool things that GPS is doing for cell phone technology. So to help us understand how GPS can help us find lost cell phones a quick word needs to be said about the GPS tracking of cell phones. A brief definition of GPS tracking should be given: GPS tracking is the ability to track the location of a person, vehicle, or object as it moves throughout the world. There are two types of GPS tracking, passive and active. Active tracking occurs in real time and lets you find out where something is right now. Passive GPS tracking has to do with data loggers, which find out your position and then store it on the device for use later when you can download the information into some tracking software.

Anyway, the tracking available in cell phones is real time GPS tracking – and this is important because it will allow you to use it in order to find a lost cell phone. It would work something like this. You download a GPS tracking application onto your cell phone from among one of the many different free GPS tracking applications or software available. Once it is downloaded and installed you just keep it running on your phone so that you will have a running GPS log of your location. If you ever lose your cell phone, you can find out the last place it was when the battery still had a charge.

In order to use your GPS to help find your lost cell phone you need to have the following conditions met:

  1. Your cell phone must be turned on.
  2. You must have a GPS tracking application installed on your phone.
  3. The tracking app must be running. This will ensure that the GPS is actively reading signals from the satellites in order to find out its location. It will also then send that information over the cell phone network so that you can view it on the internet.
  4. Your cell phone must be receiving signals from satellites. If your phone is buried beneath 100 feet of concrete then there is no hope of finding it!
  5. Your cell phone must be getting a signal from cell phone towers. If it is not then you will not have a method of sending information to the Internet for you to look at it.

If you meet all of these criteria then you should be able to find a lost cell phone with GPS tracking.

We have also included a larger list of apps that you can download to smart phones of several different varieties. Just check out our post about free GPS cell phone trackers.

Ways to Use It

One of the most important ways that this technology can be used is to help children keep track of their cell phones. GPS cell phones for kids are great because they provide excellent safety for our children, but they are no good to use or to them if they lose them. If you need to know where their lost mobile phone is just log onto the computer and figure it out.

The same is true for businessmen who have a cell phone with all their work contacts and email on it. If they were to lose this device it could disastrous for their next sales call if not for their entire career. If they have GPS tracking installed on their Blackberry then they should have no problem finding their phone and avoiding certain disaster.

If you would like more information on how to use your cell phone to find itself, please check out How to Find a Lost Cell Phone with GPS Tracking. It should provide you with some helpful tips on what you should do and give you some ideas of the different programs available for use in this type of tracking.

GPS tracking works great in cell phones. Their small, light-weight nature makes them a perfect fit for the way that most people live their lives. It also is the perfect vehicle for tracking because it is connected to GSM cell phone networks, giving them the ability to send large amounts of information long distances almost instantly. This could not be done with standard telephones. Telephone GPS tracking wouldn’t even make any sense since they are static and do not move anywhere.

Do you have any helpful tips for people trying to utilize lost cell phone GPS tracking?

Stay Warm and Keep Your Cold Weather GPS Tracker Powered Up

The frosty winds of winter are upon us and what could warm our hearts more than being able to recharge a GPS tracker miles from civilization while giving ourselves a nice little boost in warmth as well?

Well, that is a silly question (obviously) because there are a lot of other things that would warm our hearts much more than that.  Like puppies.  Or sitting down to a meal of Mexican food with Conan O’Brian.  Or the thought of standing way up on the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower and motioning that you want to get down by slithering down the steps like a snake.  All those might warm your heart when stranded and overtaken by the delirium of frost bite.  But if your are getting a warmed heart from one of these things you probably would have benefited from a jacket designed to keep you warm and recharge various electronic devices, including your cold weather GPS tracker.

Refugium Cold Weather JacketThe name of this magical jacket is Refugium and it is currently being sold by Mountain Hardware for $230.00 MSRP.  From what I could tell from a quick glance through the online retailers offering this product they were all selling it at a price between $229 and $230.

I have to admit that the name sounds pretty cool to me.  Refugium.  I almost immediately get the image of a wandering individual on a snow encrusted mountain surrounded by silence and the death of winter.  From the looks of things, he stands cold and alone – the enemy of a season that strips the earth bare to make it new again.

But on the inside of his protective shell the man enjoys the warmth of his man-wrought refuge.  A lightweight power source fills his Refugium with warmth derived from countless hours of ingenuity combined with the slow plodding of man into the technological age.

But not only that, his Refugium also keeps a wide variety of his personal electronic devices well charged as well.  Cell phones, MP3 players, digital cameras, and GPS tracking devices all can get some much needed energy love from this mobile power and heating system.

Woah.  Did I just lump GPS tracking devices in the same category as personal electronic devices as mobile phones, iPods, and cameras?  Does that even make any sense?

There are a few good reasons why a GPS tracking device would pair wonderfully with a jacket like this.  The most obvious reason would be that of survival.  Outdoor adventurers usually do not take a break from their adventuring just because there happens to be 4 feet of snow on the mountain.  They still want to do the next big thing.  If they are going to be out in the wilderness for prolonged periods of time chances are they are going to take a GPS tracking device with them, especially if they have friends and family who are concerned for their safety.

And if they are using a tracker it is probably going to be a satellite GPS tracking device since this type of tracker does not rely on a cell phone network to get its location information out to friends and family.  After all, there is not very much cell phone coverage on Mount Whitney, Mount St. Helens, or Mount Everest.  But there is access to the sky, which is home to the satellites used in the GPS system and the commercial communication satellites used  by such tackers as the SPOT GPS tracking device.  If you are a serious outdoorsman whose adventuring takes you far and afield from the hard crust of civilization then a safety device like a satellite tracker is going to be one of your best friends in the event of an emergency.

It might work something this.  An adventurer is out in the midst of the beauty of nature when a storm suddenly approaches.  He is still on the face of the mountain, exposed to the storm as he traverses a particularly treacherous portion of his journey.  The driving snow causes his dangerous journey to become downright perilous as the cold weather begins to attack his footing and the sensation in his extremities.  Blinded by the sheet of white falling steadily, our adventurer misses his next step, falls, and badly injures himself.  After a brief effort to try and find a safe haven to weather out the storm our adventurer resigns himself to endure the rest of the storm in the open and activates his cold weather GPS tracker in the hope that the signal is going to break through the terrible storm that is surrounding him and allow him to contact some rescue personell.  He really does not feel like he had much time since he can feel the warm liquid of his life blood running down his leg.

Unfortunately, the storm is interfering with his GPS’ ability to get a signal from the Global Positioning Satellites as well as the commercial communication satellites that his GPS uses to find its location and to communicate with the authorities.  After a few hours trying to find a trace on his position, the adventurers’ cold weather GPS tracker is beginning to get dangerously low on power.  If his device looses power then it is all over for him as he slowly bleeds to death on the mountain.

Luckily, this is not the end for our GPS adventurer.  He is wearing this Refugium cold weather jacket with its portable power supply.  He docks his GPS into the power supply port and is able to get a few more hours out of his GPS tracking device.  This is just enough time for the storm to dissipate enough for his SPOT GPS tracker to get a strong enough signal to find its location in the world and to make contact with a communications satellite.  The authorities are notified and within a few more hours our adventurer is rescued.

While this is kind of an extreme example, I think it does make the principle extremely clear about how a jacket like this could be used to make GPS tracking last longer in the coldest and harshest of conditions.  It also exmplifies why it might be a better idea for individuals using such a jacket system as they engage in dangerous activities to forgo using it on frivolous items like cell phones (which do will not work in remote areas), iPods, or digital cameras and to instead use it to keep their cold weather GPS tracker alive and active.

GPS Tracking: Google And The Future of Cell Phones

Recently I read an interesting article in the local paper about Google’s entrance into the world of cell phones.  If you have not already seen the plethora of commercials out there about all the cool stuff the Motorolla Droid cell phone can do then you need to get your head out of the sand and watch some TV.  Heck, I don’t even have a TV and I have seen tons of commercials advertising this mobile phone aimed to take away some of the iPhone’s market share in the world of high-end smartphones.  If you think about, cell phones like the iPhone and Droid are the future of not only mobile communications but also the internet and GPS tracking.  The future goes through the smartphone.

Because of what is at stake here, the advertising has become downright cutthroat when it comes to pointing out the flaws of other phones and a competitor’s cell phone network.  If there was any doubt about this, then you have to look no farther than the following advert:

The message comes across loud and clear: iPhone = iDon’t ; Droid = iCan.  Everything about this commercial screams out against iPhone and tries to offer the Droid as an alternative smartphone.  They even get the same sort of feel that an iPhone commercial tries to give with their choice of music, all of which is used to enforce the message of the mobile phone commercial that iPhones suck.  Again, you can clearly see this for yourself by looking at this commercial that has the ubiquitous “iPhone commercial song” in it.

The cell phone wars are upon us, but do we ever stop and let ourselves ask the question, “Why?”  Why is Google, Apple, Verizon, AT&T, TMobile, and Sprint spending millions upon millions of dollars in an effort to come out with the most widely used smartphone and cell phone network?

The answer is money, plain and simple.  According to David Yoffie*, a professor at the Harvard Business School,  “The new paradigm is mobile computing and mobility.  That has the potential to change the economics of the Internet business and to redistribute profits yet again” (as quoted in the San Diego Union Tribune, January 5th, 2010, section C3).  People like Google and Apple want to corner the smartphone market because if they can do it they have the potential to ‘control’ the way people use their cell phones and the Internet.  This control is has the potential to make huge profits for whoever is on the cutting edge.

* This is pulled from David Yoffie’s bio page at the Harvard website:  Professor David B. Yoffie is the Max and Doris Starr Professor of International Business Administration and Senior Associate Dean, Chair, Executive Education at Harvard Business School.  Professor Yoffie’s research and consulting have focused on competitive strategy, technology, and international competition.

Google made their money on the cutting edge of Internet search.  Their search advertising business, Adsense, makes billions of dollars each and every year. Now they want to be able to ‘control’ mobile phone search and to be the premier ad service for these devices as well.  From this standpoint, you can see why there is so much fighting going on over cell phones and smartphones.

But what about GPS tracking, where does it fit in?

The answer really has two parts.  The first is that mobile technology and mobile Internet surfing is enhanced with positioning technology.  People like to be able to find restaurants that are near their exact location, get instant turn by turn directions from their cell phone, and to be able to surf the web or stream Pandora while riding the bus to work.  They love the Internet, they love GPS, they love cell phones and they love it when you can combine all three into a seamless user experience.

The second is that ads can be better served when a person’s location is know by the person serving the ads.  To a certain extent, companies like Google already are able to do this by taking information from a person’s IP address.  Their rough geographic location is then taken into consideration when serving them the ad.  For example, a person living in San Diego might get ads relevant to San Diego divorce lawyers when they are on a website that serves Google Adsense and is about divorce law.  To a certain extent, this enhances a users web viewing experience, improves the click-through rate for the ad unit, and helps Google make some money.

We have already seen how the Palm-Pre is trying to make use of GPS tracking to serve better ads and how this has caused quite a stir in the cell phone and Internet community.  Hopefully other phone companies are learning from the thrashing that the this phone has been getting and will let users know about how their location information is going to be used and give them clear and easy ways to opt out of this ‘service.’

Either way you look at it, GPS tracking is going to be a huge part of cell phones in the future.  The only question is who is going to be in the drivers seat of the smartphone era?

Who’s To Blame For Spouse GPS Tracking?

I got a very interesting comment that I assumed was in relation to my post on Tracking Your Spouse With GPS. I’ll quote most of it below, but the general gist of the comment was that if a husband is cheating on a wife then it is the wife’s fault for being fat, ugly, stupid, withholding sex, etc. I think that this is the most absurd comment that I think I have ever heard in my life – so it almost doesn’t even warrant a response. But just in case someone comes along and is convinced by some of the arguments because there is no rebuttal I have decided to write this post. It will also allow me to make a few comments on the topic of who is to blame for GPS tracking a spouse and what can be done once the cheating has been discovered.

Here is the comment:

MMM. . . which is the greater betrayal, banging some broad on the side, or surreptitiously sneaking a high tech digital tracking device on your spouse, without his knowledge.

One thing, as a husband who cheated on his wife and is now on his second marriage (with whom he was cheating, and who herself was cheating on her hubby), I can tell you what the problem is.

YOU. For you it is easier to get a gadget, catch him in “ultimate betrayal” and make it all his fault and turn him into your puppy, than it is to work on the real problem. Are you fat, uninteresting, do you nag, did you give up that whole “makeup” thing years ago for a comfy flannel nightshirt and sweat pants. More interested in the latest gossip from your neighbor than hitting the gym, and wearing something sexy with candles and a surprise dinner when hubby gets home? Did you stop doing that “other” stuff, except on birthdays.

Of course, he could have turned into a complete slob that you are no longer interested in. . . but then, ask yourself, if he is so disgusting you don’t want to do him, why do you care if he is doing someone else?

Skip the gizmo, go to marriage counseling.

The first part of his argument is to throw into doubt whehter it is actually more evil to commit adultery or to track your spouse without their knowledge.  He really doesn’t offer any arguments for why this is so, he just makes a naked assertion of the fact by posing it as a question.  Because of this, his point makes absolutely no sense to me and leaves me answering him like this, “The greater betrayal is banging someone on the side! Why don’t you see that?”

Then he begins his next paragraph with this wonderful gem:

One thing, as a husband who cheated on his wife and is now on his second marriage (with whom he was cheating, and who herself was cheating on her hubby), I can tell you what the problem is.

The person who wrote this comment is himself a cheater.  As a cheater, he is trying to establish himself as an authority on why a person might cheat on a spouse.  Because he cheated he must know the psychology of a cheater and must be qualified to tell us all the “real truth” about why a spouse might cheat and why it is a “greater betrayal” to track a cheating spouse.

However, all that his admission does for me is diminish his credibility.  He has admitted that he cannot be trusted.  He is a man who makes promises and breaks them when it becomes convenient for him.  This fact is extremely important it ought to inform how we should see everything else that he has to say.

The very next thing that he says is that the reason spouses cheat is because the other spouse is the problem.  Really? You broke your promise to somebody and then you say that they are the reason why you broke YOUR promise? I doesn’t work that way. The only person who can break a promise that they made is the person who made the promise.

What is going on is that he is trying to make his moral, intellectual, and emotional failure all about his spouse.  He calls her fat, uninteresting, a nag, frumpy, a gossip, and a prude.  Is that really true? Probably not.

Then he tries to show some compassion for the wife whose husband has cheated.  He suggests that maybe the reason that she is being such a prude and denying her husband her body is that he has turned into a “slob.”  But then he seems to think that since you don’t want to be intimate with him that this somehow give him the right to be intimate with some other woman!  After all, why would you care that a person who promised that they would be faithful to you is being unfaithful to you.  That really doesn’t matter does it? 

The commentor seems to think that breaking the marriage promise is no big deal – that marriage is something that is worthless and without deep meaning.  But that is exactly the type of thinking that I would expect from someone who has cheated and is without remorse. Marriage to such a person means nothing. They have proven it by their actions. 

He doesn’t seem to understand what marriage is and why people make vows to each other during the marriage ceremony.  A promise is a promise, and when you break those promises you have to take it seriously.

He then actually gives some good advice in the very last sentence of his comment.  Going to marriage counseling is a very important thing for a couple to do if they want to salvage a relationship after one spouse is caught cheating on the other.  Cheating is always a signal that a relationship has some sort of sickness within it, and finding out what that sickness is and working on its cure is of the utmost importance when you want to save the marriage.

But the sad thing is, most cheaters will not admit a need for marriage counseling until they are caught in their cheating.  And a spouse often cannot catch their spouse cheating without some type of GPS tracking.  When it comes to tracking your spouse there are really two different options available to wives and husbands who suspect that their spouse is being unfaithful.  The first is to track their cell phone.  A lot of the newer cell phones have the capability to be tracked by GPS if the proper software is installed on the device.  There is plenty of free GPS tracking software out there, but not all of it is compatible with every type of phone out on the market.  Also, a problem with a free tracking method is that they are generally not very covert – making it rather difficult to use it to catch your spouse in the act of cheating.

Another option is to track your spouse’s car with GPS.  GPS tracking for cars is a very popular application of GPS technology and has been used extensively by businesses to improve fleet performance and increase revenues. As a result of this usefulness, GPS manufacturers have tried to make these devices as cheap and accessible as possible to a wide range of businesses. A nice side effect of this effort is that it has made these devices available on the consumer market. While car tracking is a very effective means of tracking a cheating spouse, it is far from perfect. While the movement of a car does tell you a lot about a person’s activity, it is not the same as a cell phone which is often taken everywhere a person might go. However, what car tracking gives up in ubiquity it gains back in covert tracking capabilities.

Most car tracking GPS devices are extremely covert and can fit securely inside a wheel well or under the rear bumper. Unless your spouse has a habit of looking in these places there is often very little chance that they are going to find out that you are tracking their movements via GPS.

Whichever method of spouse GPS tracking you might decide to use, it is my opinion that you are well within your rights to track your spouse in this way. Some people might disagree with me, and it might be illegal in some states for spouses to track each other without their express consent, but that is my opinion. And the cheater bears full responsibility for their own cheating, they are to blame for their own promise breaking. They are the liar and are fully responsible for their own actions.

GPS Tracking, Cell Phones, and Augmented Reality

I really think that one of the future enhancements that is coming down the line for all cell phones is some sort of augmented reality. We are already beginning to see the beginning stages of this in the cell phone market and it is quickly becoming integrated with navigational GPS. We did a recent article on a navigation GPS app for cyclists on the i-Phone called ARider. It is really only a matter of time before we begin to see some very interesting and very useful GPS tracking cell phones with augmented reality. The question is no longer if this type of thing is possibly, but when it will be cheap enough to be made available on the mass consumer market.

Just think of the possibilities. A family could stay in contact with each other visually, spatially, and temporally. In order for us to see just how cool this type of GPS tracking technology will be we should come with some type of thought experiment that will allow us to wrap our heads around its coolness. We’ll assume that we have a family of 4 who all own cell phones. Mr. GPS is 45 and works as a high powered executive at a mid-sized paper company in the mid-Atlantic region of the Eastern United States. His wife, Mrs. GPS, works as a nurse administrator in a hospital in the center of the city. The couple live with their son, Wants-To-Be-Tracked, who is 11, and their daughter, Needs-To-Be-Tracked, who is 7. Wants is currently going to a college preparatory school, plays ice hockey on a traveling team, and loves to take their dog, Pet GPS, on long walks around their suburban neighborhood. Needs is a rambunctious little girl who loves to go exploring and is far too friendly with strangers.

This typical, upper-middle class family is fragmented and finds itself spending more time away from each other than they do together. If you don’t count the number of hours that each of them sleeps under the same roof, they probably spend about 15-25 hours together each week. Most of this time is spent eating, watching TV, or traveling in a car together. This is a sad state of affairs, but probably typical for many in their situation.

Anyway, this family is looking for ways to stay connected with each other and to make their lives more efficient. As it stands right now, it is hard for the working parents to know when their kids need to picked up and what they need to do each and every day. They have errands to run, children to shuttle, jobs to work, and a house to maintain. On top of all this, they are being bombarded by the media about all the terrible things that could happen to their children these days. In order to get all this done they need some technological help.

This is where a cell phone that integrates GPS tracking technology and augmented reality can be a real boon for this family. Imagine that Mrs. GPS has dropped Needs off at the park with some friends for a play date. While she waits for the date to be over, she heads on out the grocery store to pick up some frozen meals for their dinner tonight. While Needs is with some friends, she is also prone to wander and the mother who is there watching the kids has been known to try and pick up men while the kids play. Mrs. GPS wants to make sure that Needs is safe and staying where she is supposed to be staying so she busts out here GPS tracking cell phone with augmented reality to see what is going on.

The way that this device would work is that the cell phone that Needs has will be transmitting her location to the cell phone company. The cell phone company will then make that data available to Mrs. GPS on her phone. This data will then go through a mashup (a program that takes data from one source and plugs it into another program) that will put that data onto a mapping application, like Google Maps. Then, she will be able to see where here child is. It might look something like this, but instead of the fast food restaurants shee would be able to see her child’s location:

bionic-eye-gps-mashup-app

Now wouldn’t that be cool? Well, that is only just one of several different scenarios where this type of augmented reality integrated with a GPS tracking cell phone could be extremely useful.

Another is two lovers who want to make a make secret and spontaneous rendezvous. For this you would certainly need to let your lover track you and vice versa, but that shouldn’t be too much a problem if you are married to the person! Then, if you want to hook up with your spouse you just bust out your augmented reality cell phone and find out where they are in relation to you – then you head on over and track them down. This works particularly well if you are both at a large social function (like a club or party) or if you are in a park or other such venue. I recommend that anyone who is into this type of thing do this, it is like geocaching for love!

You might also want to use augmented reality GPS tracking in order to stay in contact with your friends and meet up at fun and interesting times. At the same party but don’t know exactly where your friends are? Simple bust out your cell phone and you can have an instant picture of exactly where your friends are. You won’t have to worry about losing your girlfriends by dancing with a cute guy, just make sure you have your cell phone on and you are good to go!

Still another way that you could use this type of GPS tracking technology is as an employers to track your employees. This could be really useful for any number of reasons, but is sure to improve overall worker productivity and to make your operation much more efficient.

More GPS Humor related to Augmented Reality

Here is a quick little video that take a small pot shot at GPS tracking cellphones and augmented reality:

Cell Phone GPS Tracking Is Being Used By FEMA

According to the Sprint website, this telecommunications giant has made a deal with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that will supply the disaster relief organization with 2,000 GPS tracking units for day-to-day field work and emergency use. The acquisition of the cell phone GPS tracking devices comes at an opportune time for FEMA who is required to have a vehicle tracking system in place by the hurricane season, a season which has all but passed. The addition of these devices should make FEMA much more agile and useful in the field, increasing their ability to serve the public by responding quickly and efficient to natural disasters.

The devices being deployed are Motorola i365 phones (pictured to the right) and cost around $40. Here is a quick little blurb describing this rugged, useful mobile phone:
i365 Sprint GPS Tracking Cell Phone

Released for Sprint, the Motorola i365 is a rugged and durable handset certified for military specification requirements including humidity, blowing rain, dust, shock and vibration. It features Nextel’s push-to-talk communication for quick conversations with up to 20 members of families, friends, and coworkers. Featuring an embedded Global Positioning System (GPS) chip, the i365 uses E911 emergency location services to get audible and visual turn-by-turn driving directions, mapping locations, or conducting local searches.

This cell phone is a great fit for the conditions and circumstances in which FEMA does most of its work. Many more “refined” mobile devices just would not cut it in the harsh conditions where the Nextel i365 flourishes.

In addition to these 2,000 GPS tracking cell phones FEMA is also receiving access to two of Sprint’s products that are going to help them use these cell phone to their fullest potential – Nextel Direct Connect and TeleNav Track. Let’s now turn our attention to these two services and see just how FEMA stands to benefit from the real time tracking and communication capabilities that they offer.

What Is TeleNav Track?

TeleNav Track is a very useful and complete cell phone software package that can assist business and organizations in a wide range of activities related to highly mobile work forces, integrating workforce management, GPS tracking, and navigation features into one package.  The main goals of the software are to boost productivity, control costs, and the manage risk.

Boosting productivity is obviously the goal of any profit based business, but it is also an incredibly important characteristic of effective disaster relief agencies like FEMA.  GPS integrated software like TeleNav Track helps businesses boost productivity by doing three things very well.  The first is that it gets employees to locations quickly and effectively.   We are all very familiar with GPS navigation devices and how useful they can be in helping us navigate new and unfamiliar territory.

The second is that is relays the employees position back to a central dispatching center which can keep track of all the moving parts in the complex world of mobile businesses.  The idea of a central hub where information is gathered and then decisions are made is even more important in a disaster situation.  Not only does the data need to be sent from the GPS enabled cell phone, but information must also be sent to the cell phone so that field agents can be kept abreast of the situation and their tasks.  The ability to see all these moving pieces and to make good decisions with that data is the second benefit of a service like TeleNav Track.

The third and final think that this does is that it helps business reduce the amount of waste engaged in by employees. If employees know that you can know their exact location in real time then they are less likely to goof off when on the clock.  It is a very powerful tool as an employee to go up to an employee and ask them why they spent 2 hours parked at a shopping mall when they should have been out on the street working when they know that you know that that was exactly what they were doing.

In addition to being able to boost productivity, GPS tracking management systems like TeleNav Track also help you reduce costs associated with doing business.   Just think about this one a second and you will see several ways in which you can see an immediate benefit to your companies bottom line or help ensure tax payer dollars are being well spent (in the case of FEMA).  As was mentioned above, GPS tracking devices can help keep employees more accountable for their day to day activity.  This increases productivity because it gets people working more, but it also helps reduce costs because you will no longer be paying people to do nothing.

Another key element that TeleNav Track offers is the ability to do a lot of paperwork electronically.  The savings that this type of switch can generate is certainly nothing to sniff at.  Electronic time cards have helped companies reduce pay roll administration costs by as much as 80% – which is money that could be poured back into the business.  While this really doesn’t have much to do with the GPS side of these devices, it is the same information delivery system that sends the GPS coordinates from your cell phone that also sends out electronic documents as well.

And finally, many GPS cell phone tracking systems help companies manage risk by putting their eyes on their assets at all times.  They can know how many of their employees are out on the field, where their vehicles are, and make decisions about the best way to use these assets to better the business or to better serve the people.

What is Nextel Direct Connect?

Probably the best way to introduce you to Nextel Direct Connect is to show this video clip:

Aside from being a really cool feature for any cell phone, GPS-enable or not, Nextel Direct Connect also offers three main benefits to businesses:

  • Accomplish more quickly. Being able to connect quickly with co-workers to in just a few seconds to share information is powerful when decisions need to made quickly and information is in a particularly fluid state.
  • Keep conversations quick and simple. In and out conversations get more accomplished and force employees to boil down their content into potent sentences laced with meaning and information. Every word is heard and business can move at the speed of thought.
  • Talk to many at once.  Being able to send instructions out to 20 people at a time is something that few normal mobile phones can accomplish – yet this is exactly what the i365 cell phone is able to do with Nextel Direct Connect.

When this technology is combined with the TeleNav Track system you get a powerful one-two punch for the folks at FEMA.

Will FEMA GPS Cell Phone Tracking Work?

I certainly hope so.  The technology is certainly useful and I can see no good reason why they can’t make full use of these powerful cell phone GPS tracking devices to better serve the American people in times of dire need.  The combination of push to talk technology with the powerful GPS management software should provide phenomenal results for FEMA.  We’ll just see if this turns out to be a good use of government GPS tracking or if it ends up being misused and under utilized.  Only time will tell.

New Teen GPS Tracking Devices From Spy Centre Security

Spy Centre Security, a GPS tracking and “spy” device store has announced a new line of GPS tracking devices that they are marketing specifically for parents of teenagers.  According to their press release they have devices starting at $199 the “[make] it possible to get constant updates on your teenagers’ car.”  My initial thought was that if they have a real time teen GPS tracking device for that price then they are going to be pretty competitive in the tracking market.  The only other real time device that I am aware of is the Zoombak and that is retailing right now on Amazon for $125.  Most other real time trackers are going to cost from around $250 and up.

But upon further investigation, it appears that the claims made in the press release are a little misleading.  To those that don’t understand the distinction between a data logger (passive GPS) and a real time tracker (active GPS) could have been duped by the claim made by the following sentence:

At Spycentre.com we now sell GPS products starting at just $199 making it possible to get constant updates on your teenagers’ car.

(While this sentence does come from a site not associated with Spy Centre Security, it does contain their contact information and is very similar to a press release posted on the companies website on September 11, 2009. This leads me to believe that the message is legitimate.)

Consumers need to know the difference between a data logger and a real time tracker if they are to really understand how to best track their teen and to sift through clever marketing attempts of GPS manufacturers.

Teen GPS Tracking Data Loggers

A data logger is a GPS tracking device that simply records the position of the device at set intervals determined by the user or by the device itself.  In order to access the information that the device records, you must retrieve the device and download the contents onto your computer.  GPS tracking software then interacts with the data and plots it on an interactive Google Maps like interface.

Canmore USB GPS Tracking Stick

This type of tracking is great when you only need to know somethings trip after the fact.  For example, if you enjoy launching hobby rockets and you want to know how high and how fast your rocket travels then using a data logger is a great way to get that information.

One of the newest types of data loggers to hit the market are GPS tracking sticks.  These devices are as large as a USB stick and very similar in build and shape.  They even have a male USB connection built in for a simple downloading process.  Just plug the device in and watch the software take over and do the work of analyzing the data for you.

Certainly powerful stuff, but not what most parents think of when they want to know where there teen is. These devices can be great for getting a good understanding of your teen’s driving habits – but they are not good for knowing where your teen is when they are late in getting home. They are not good when a natural disaster strikes and you need to know where your teen is right now. For that, you would need a real time GPS tracker.

With that said, a data logger is what is currently being offered for $199 on the Spy Centre Security website. I wonder how their tracking stick compares with this $145 one from Amazon?

Teen Real Time GPS Tracking

A real time GPS tracking device is one that is able to send its position information from the device to a third party so that the position of the device can be seen in real time.  This is what most parents are going to think about when they are looking into GPS trackers for their teenager.  They are also fairly expensive devices that will end up costing you hundreds of dollars up front and a regular subscription fee for the data transfers between your tracking device and the company’s servers.

The real time trackers available through Spy Centre Security are certainly expensive.  The cheapest models that they offer run $450 and have a service plan of $30 a month according to the press release mentioned above.  The first year of use will run $810 – a steep price to pay for being able to track your teen’s car with GPS.

The Cell Phone Tracking Solution

The obvious solution to this issue is to find a cheaper, real time tracking solution for parents of teenagers.  The best solution that I have come across is to turn a teen’s cell phone into a GPS tracking device.  Many of today’s cell phones already have a GPS antenna inside the phone that allows them to pick up GPS signals from outer space, eliminating the most obvious hurdle off the get go.  And since most teenagers want the latest and greatest cell phone you know that they probably already have a GPS enabled cell phone on them right now.

All that you now need to do is download some GPS tracking software for cell phones and you have a fully functional GPS tracking system in the palm of your teen’s hand.  There are plenty of paid services out there for parents looking at a paid option.  Most cell phone carriers offer something that you can take a look at that will add a nominal monthly fee to your cell bill.

Another option open to parents is to go with free GPS tracking software for cell phones.  This might take a little more work on your part of monitoring and installing the system, but can you beat free?

In the end, whatever you decide to do with your teen is really up to you.  Teen GPS tracking devices are relatively new, but that should not deter parents from taking advantage of this new and powerful technology to help them raise honest, law-abiding children who drive safely and come home on time.  While some might balk at tracking their teen with GPS, here at GPS For Today we feel like there are plenty of reasons why parents have every right to track a teen driver.  If you are interested in reading more about what we have to say on this topic here are some of the more important articles:

GPS Equipped Census Worker Murdered, Is It GPS Tracking Related?

In September a brutal murder occurred that could be related to the government ‘s  stance on marking every residential dwelling in America with a GPS tracking device for the upcoming 2010 census.  [A description of how the body was found is to follow.  It is a little shocking so please only read on if you are interested, otherwise skip to the next paragraph.] The part-time, temporary census worker was found hanging from a tree in a rural Kentucky cemetery.   The body, identified as the remains of a 51 year old cancer survivor Bill Sparkman, was stripped naked by the murder(s) and his hands and feet were bound with duct tape.  His eyes were also duct tapped and his mouth was gagged with something resembling red rag according to the person that reported finding the body.

According to coroner reports, the word “fed” was written on the deceased’s chest.  His census bureau credentials were also taped to his forehead and shoulder area.  These two clues clearly indicate that the murder(s) were either enraged to their despicable deed because he was working with the federal government or that they want the authorities to think that the murder because of his connections with the government.

But what is it about what Mr. Sparkman was doing with the government census bureau that would so fill a person with hate that they would consider murder?

From what I can tell, the deceased, Bill Sparkman, was involved in a push by the government to mark the front door of every residential dwelling in America. While many conservative conspiracy theorists are attacking the current administration over the use of ACORN to do the marking, the actual plan to do so dates back over 2.5 years to no later than July 2006, a time when the Bush administration was still in office.

The idea at the time was to send out temporary staff to gather the exact location of the front door of every residential home in America. This information would be useful to ensure that every household would be counted in the 2010 census, but I am sure that there were additional benefits that the government garner from this move. One of them would certainly be aiding them in identifying tax household that are not reporting information on their tax returns.

It is my guess that this GPS marking activity was what that sent Bill Sparkman out into the Kentucky countryside in September and would eventually lead to his death. I have no way of verifying this information and have not read any reports confirming it – it is simply my guess. If I am right, it might be the first government GPS tracking related death in American history.

My theory goes like this. The deceased was just doing his job going out and marking homes with his GPS tracking device. Part of his instruction was to be relatively extensive in his search of homes – identifying whether or not certain buildings on a property were residential in nature and if someone was living inside them. My guess is that someone took extreme offense at his presence and confronted him about his presences on their property and his use of the GPS tracking unit.

A brief exchange occurred where things got heated and the deceased was attacked. He was then killed for some reason and then his body was dumped in the cemetery as described above.

This would be very sad if true, but I think that just the idea of it warrants a closer look at the use of this GPS information by the government to see if there is any good that can come from it.

Good Government GPS Tracking

We have already discussed what good government GPS tracking implants can do in a previous post, but what about simpler GPS tracking data? Will non real time tracking data also be useful in the hands of the government? The following is a story from NPR from April of 2006 discussing the government’s planned use of GPS to mark all the residential areas in the US. It lists some interesting things that are certainly worthy of consideration.

If the player does not load you can listen or read the story here: Census Bureau Adopts GPS to Find American Homes

This is the flood map mentioned in the story that the GIS director created with the GPS data that her city had collected:

Government GPS Map Flood Threat

I had never thought of using GPS data in this way, but apparently there are a lot of smart people using this information who can see all the wonderful ways that governments can use this type of GPS to better inform their citizenry about natural disasters. Just think of all the good that would have come of this if it could be used during the wildfire season in Southern California, or in the hurricane season along the gulf coast, or when the Mississippi or one of its tributaries decides to flood. The government could reliably and efficiently notify its citizens about their impending danger, all thanks to the GPS information gathered by a government employee with a hand-held GPS tracking device.

Wouldn’t that be good?

Evil Government GPS Tracking

Then there is the bad that could be done with this type of tracking.  One conservative website [Infowars.com] already mentioned one of them in a recent article from their site.  They write:

The 2% of Americans, who have served military duty at some point in life, are very familiar with the most common use of GPS target painting. The other 98% of Americans might want to pick up a book on the subject, such as The Precision Revolution: GPS and the Future of Aerial Warfare

The idea is that the government would use the GPS information to wage war against their own citizens.  While this is unlikely that they would fire missiles from planes at our homes (after all, that is a really expensive way to kill one family) it does mean that they can break down your door with some serious accuracy if ever a police state becomes the norm in America.

The government could also sell your information on the open market, a notion that we discussed when examining the bad governments can do with GPS tracking implants.  While this does seem terrible, it almost seems inevitable since the citizens have a right to all the intellectual property that the government creates.  As long as the information isn’t correlated with other information about you that the government has also compiled than that seems less evil than if they did sell the GPS information in that way.

What’s the Verdict?

Is this death GPS tracking related or not?  I certainly don’t know, but it sure seems like it could be.  I personally cannot dream of being so outraged by a census worker’s activity that I would kill them.  Smash up their GPS tracking device – yes.  Intimidate them and scare them off – yes.  Murder them – hell no.  That is just plain wrong and is just as evil as anything that you could think the government would do with your GPS information.  And that is truth you can take to the bank.

Keruve 2010 GPS Tracking Systems For Kids and Alzheimer Patients

Keruve, a Spanish GPS tracking device manufacturer, has recently announced its Keruve 2010 GPS tracking system. This system will build off of its already existent GPS tracking watch and portable GPS tracking receiver. The way the current model works is that the person who needs to be tracked wears the GPS wrist watch that is part of the system. Then, when the tracker wants to know where the trackee is, they just press a button on the receiver and they are given the person’s location to the nearest street address.

This is a relatively simple concept to those that are familiar with personal GPS tracking systems, but something that might sound revolutionary to those just becoming aware of this powerful technology.

But the new Keruve 2010 improves upon this design in several different ways. For starters, there has been improvement on the appearance of the GPS tracking watch that is part of the system. Now there are far more models to choose from including three watches for men, two for women, and a unisex model. All watches now have larger numbers for easier reading by young and old users alike.

It also now includes no less then four positioning systems to cycle through in cases where, for whatever reason, the most accurate GPS system is not available. While the most accurate is still going to be GPS bases, it also features a Keruve indoor position finder when the personal GPS tracking watch is unable to find a GPS signal, a VisionCellid location system, and a GSM network system. This is very useful because in almost any circumstance you are going to have some idea where the watch is.

They have also made some significant improvement to the GPS tracking receiver. There are now clearly labeled buttons on the touch screen, making it easier to find what you are looking for. They have expanded the display to 4.2″ and increased the font size of the displayed addresses to improve readability. A new ergonomic design rounds out the receiver improvements.

While the already existing model was a solid, though expensive, real time GPS tracking system, the improvements introduced by the Keruve 2010 should provide a better user experience in both terms of ease of use and functionality.

Keruve GPS Tracking System Marketing

Below are a few of the ways in which the Keruve tracking watch was marketed in the native Spain. The commercial below is in Spanish, but I have translated the information about the video into English using Google Translate with some minor clean up:

Presentation Keruve. Keruve as a direct locator specialist for people with Alzheimer’s disease in the first stage. With the Keruve GPS watch, a person with Alzheimer’s can continue walking as they did before, and the family with the receiver can know where the Keruve watch is whenever they want.

As you can see, people on the other side of the Atlantic run into the same problems that Americans do. We all have children that can get lost in the mix and milieu of people in our modern societies. We have older relatives whose bodies have outlived their minds and suffer from the crippling disease of dementia, with the most common manifestation being Alzheimer’s.

The next video is more of a news story and is particularly focused on the use of the Keruve GPS tracking system in Alzheimer’s patients:

Demonstration of the Keruve personal locator at the residence Santa Elena in Seville, Spain. Video provides an explanation of performance and interview with one of the inventors and the director of the association of relatives of Alzheimer patients in Seville, Spain.

Now that we have seen that this device is marketed both as a child tracking system and an Alzheimer’s tracking system let’s briefly discuss both of these applications.

Keruve GPS Tracking System For Kids

Tracking systems for kids are nothing new on GPS For Today. We have seen the Amber Alert GPS tracking system and how it tries to provide reliable information for parents on the location of their children. Unlike the Amber Alert GPS, the Keruve GPS tracking system for kids uses a watch rather than a stand alone tracking unit. This has its advantages and disadvantages.

The first advantage is that the watches are now much more natural looking than they were before. One of the biggest issues that people have with GPS tracking watches for kids is that they are often too bulky and obviously a safety device. Not so with the Keruve GPS watch. It has a sleek design that makes it look like a real watch. Though it might be too large for the wrists of the smallest children, it should work fine for teenagers and some pre-teens.

Another advantage of a watch is that they are usually on the wrist of your child. Sure, sometimes kids take off a watch when they play – but the Keruve is not able to be taken off unless they have a special tool to do so. Without that tool your child will be wearing that watch until you take it off from them.

Some disadvantages of a watch are that they are easily discovered and removed by kidnappers, they suffer some serious wear and tear if your child is a boy and they like to adventure, and that they must be worn to be effective. While these disadvantages can all be avoided, it does take a considerable amount of effort to do so.

Keruve GPS Tracking System For Alzheimer’s

A relatively new and novel idea is to use GPS tracking for Alzheimer’s patients. This is a great idea since a good portion of those that suffer from this form of dementia will “wander” at some point. There can be little that is more disturbing than loosing a elderly relative who appears to be healthy and sane but is unable to remember the recent history. They can sometimes suffer greatly when they are lost and separated from their loved ones and familiar surroundings. Real time GPS tracking systems are designed to help track down Alzheimer’s suffers quickly so that they can be restored to comfortable and safe surroundings.

GPS tracking watches for Alzheimer’s patients work well because they are attached to the wrist and if the patient has had a long history of wearing a wrist watch they should have no problem wearing this GPS device. If they do not regularly wear a watch then it might be difficult to get them to do so on their own. If this is the case you might want to pursue other avenues of tracking them or talk with your doctor to come up with ideas on how to introduce a new routine into their life.

Keruve 2010 GPS Tracking System Screen Shots

Here are some screen shots from the Keruve 2010:

Keruve 2010 GPS Tracking System Larger Numbers

Keruve 2010 GPS Tracking System Location ProcessKeruve 2010 GPS Tracking System Look and Feel

As you can see the Keruve 2010 GPS tracking system is an interesting bit of technology. Marketed as a child and Alzheimer’s GPS tracking watch it offers effective tracking services in a user friendly and Internet-less environment. Wherever you have a cell phone signal you can use the Keruve GPS tracking system, making it great for those in urban settings who want to track a person via GPS.

GPS Tracking For Real Estate Agents and Prospective Home Buyers

If you are prospective home buyer or a real estate agent who wants to get on the fly, real time house price data then you might want to check out Smarter Agent, a GPS tracking application for real estate prices on your cell phone.  There are several products that Smarter Agent offers that couples the power of GPS position data with the public record information that would be very useful for home buyers and real estate agents alike.  It appears that the application has both free and paid components, letting you give the service a shot before you upgrade to one of the different paid services.

Free Real Estate GPS Tracking Services

From what I can tell from the website and my own playing around, you can get the Homes For Sale cell phone application for free from their website.  This software will turn your GPS-enabled cell phone into a powerful home finding tool.  All you need to do is install the software onto your phone and then take it with you to the neighborhood that you would like to buy a home in. With just the press of a single button you will have a map display of your location and the location of the 10 nearest homes for sale around you.  Users can zoom the map in or zoom the map out so they can get a tighter or wider view of the listing and surrounding area.  If you want to see more information about the home then just scroll to and take a look.

If you would prefer to see things as a list, this free GPS cell phone application lets you you do just that.  It lets you see the top 10 properties that are the closest to the exact location where you are standing according to the cell’s GPS tracking chip.  The list view allows you to view property details, plot results on a map, save your search, or expand it to see additional properties in your vicinity. There is even the ability to save your search if you thought that the listings were particularly important to your home search.

Smarter Agent’s Homes For Sale also displays some detailed information about each listing if you want to give that a look.  You can see such things at the house’s address, the sale price, the number of beds and bathrooms, the square footage of the home, the estimated mortgage given certain parameters like interest rate and down payment, and the taxes that the home owner pays when that information is available.  This information can be huge for those that are just getting acquainted with an area and want find out where some of the houses for sale are located.

In all, this is a great way for people looking for a solid GPS real estate application to get their feet wet for free.

Paid Real Estate GPS Tracking Services

The main reason that Smarter Agent is offering their Homes for Sale application for free is that they are hoping that people will buy their premium product, Recently Sold Homes. For $4.99 a month you can have access to information about the closest homes sold within the last three years.  The information available from this GPS application includes the last sold price for homes nearby, the last sold date, and the square footage of the home sold.  As you can imagine, this can be very helpful information for getting an understanding of how competitively prices some of the current homes for sale are.

While this information is not going to be incredibly precise, it is still helpful for those that are new to a region to get an idea of what is going on in a region’s real estate market.  If you are just starting out with a real estate search then you might want to consider getting your GPS tracking cell phone out and installing Homes For Sale.  If you like the way it works and are particularly interested in homes in a certain area then you might want to buy the Recently Sold Homes application as well.  The $4.99 might save you some considerable time in your searches.

Compatible Sprint GPS Cell Phones

Homes for Sale is available on the following Sprint mobile phones:

  • Blackberry Curve 8300
  • Blackberry 8800 World Phone
  • Blackberry Pearl
  • Blackberry Tour
  • LG 535
  • LG LX 550 Fusic
  • LG LX570 Muziq
  • LG lx400
  • LG Lotus
  • LG Rumor
  • Motorola KRZR K1m
  • Motorola RAZR V3m
  • Motorola SLVR L7c
  • Motorola RAZR2 V9m
  • Palm Pre
  • Samsung A900
  • Samsung A920
  • Samsung M500
  • Sanyo Pro200
  • Samsung M610
  • Samsung M620 UPSTAGE
  • Samsung A727
  • Samsung M520
  • Samsung Instinct
  • Samsung Rant
  • Samsung S30
  • Sanyo 6600 Katana
  • Sanyo 7400
  • Sanyo 7500
  • Sanyo 6650 Katana 2
  • Sanyo 8500 Katana DLX
  • Sanyo 8300
  • Sanyo 8400
  • Sanyo M1
  • Sanyo 7050
  • Sanyo Pro700

Compatible AT&T GPS Cell Phones

Homes for Sale is available on the following Sprint mobile phones:

  • Apple iPhone
  • Blackberry 8100 Pearl
  • Blackberry 8300 Curve
  • Blackberry 8800 World Phone
  • Blackberry 9000 Bold
  • Blackberry Pearl
  • LG CU400
  • LG CU500
  • LG CU575 Trax
  • LG CU515
  • LG CU720 Shine
  • Motorola KRZR
  • Motorola SLVR L6
  • Motorola SLVR L7
  • Motorola RAZR V3
  • Motorola v365
  • Motorola RAZR2 V9
  • Motorola V3xx
  • Nokia 6085
  • Nokia 6555
  • Samsung A437
  • Samsung A707
  • Samsung A717
  • Samsung D407
  • Sony w300i
  • Sony w580i
  • Sony w810i

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GPS tracking is becoming more and more important for cell phone users as more and more applications are becoming available that allow users interact with the world around them in such a way that they get what they want, when they want it, and where they want to get it.  We are becoming a mobile society, GPS and cell phone technology are giving use everything we could every want when it comes to have relevant, location-based information in real time.