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SMS to Geocode (Latitude, Longitude)

Posted on 2004-09-18
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Last Modified: 2013-12-09
I am trying to find out how to accept an SMS message from a mobile user, and approximate their physical location via latitude and longitude.  Is this possible in any of today's networks?  If so, can you lead me to a vendor or solution that can accomplish this?

Thanks
-Craig
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Question by:clurey
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10 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:fulscher
ID: 12097577
Craig,

Two thoughts:

1/ You can buy a GPS-enabled phone or a device which sends its position via SMS. There are a number of phones and devices out there which will do this. Check out, for example, Garmin NavTalk (http://www.garmin.com/products/navTalkGSM/).

2/ As far as I know, the geographic location is not included in an SMS message unless you send it explicitly (see option 1 above). Although the operator knows where the sender is located, it probably will not include this information in the SMS for two reasons: (a) it's useless to most users, and (b) it's sensitive data which they aren't allowed to send anyway. However, the information is basically available and it probably will be used in location-based services. However, the information will be available to owner of a phone only (and law enforcement agencies, of course), not to anybody else, unless you have a very special contract with the provider. I'm not aware of any provider doing this - but I'm in Europe; it might be different in the U.S. or in Asia, for example.

Hope this helps
Jan

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Expert Comment

by:imarshad
ID: 12101770
>>I am trying to find out how to accept an SMS message from a mobile user, and approximate their physical location via
>>latitude and longitude.

Well as told by fulscher for most of the GSM devices the Geographic Information is not included with the SMS......The only information with which the Cellular Service Providers can track you(in a radius of say 30-50 km)  is the Cell Info that is send from your Mobile Phone to the nearest Cell ....So they will know in which cell you are in.....whose radius may vary according to the strength of the Cell...... But this information is not sent when an SMS is sent.....So this is almost useless for you......

YOu can use Thuraya to achieve this.......Here is the link......

http://www.thuraya.com/products/sms_marketing.htm
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Author Comment

by:clurey
ID: 12107427
Thanks.  But I'm looking for a solution that does not require users to purchase hardware or buy specific phones, if that exists.  
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Expert Comment

by:imarshad
ID: 12115312
I dont think you will find one...........
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Author Comment

by:clurey
ID: 12115496
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Accepted Solution

by:
imarshad earned 125 total points
ID: 12115678
An excert from the link.....
>>The system works by noting the location of the mobile phone base station that the text message is being sent from.
>>Multimap is providing the geographic information.

This is the same info that I have told you earlier....

The only information with which the Cellular Service Providers can track you(in a radius of say 30-50 km)  is the Cell Info that is send from your Mobile Phone to the nearest Cell.....When you are inside a city then this radius is reduced dramatically
and you can be tracked within a radius of say 1 KM.....I dont know what the Cellular providers in UK are using but where I live someone can't be tracked with an accuracy of less then 5 km.....

This info (Cell info of Sending Mobile)  is only send/known to the Cellular provider and when this SMS is forwarded to the recipent this info is not included........ and only the Cellular provider know this info......                

                   SMS/Cell Info                                              SMS with no Cell Info
Your Mobile ------------------>  Setup of Cellular provider ----------------------->     Intended recipent......

I hope it will be quite clearer now......

Imran Arshad
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Author Comment

by:clurey
ID: 12117241
Thank you.  So basically you're saying I would have to work directly with the cellular provider to potentially recieve this information?  I was hoping there would be a 3rd party that could accomplish this somewhere in between users and providers.

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Assisted Solution

by:fulscher
fulscher earned 125 total points
ID: 12117270
Yes, this is correct: The info is available to the provider only. You can't do anything without some kind of agreement with the provider - who might be willing to sell this info, but then again, he might not. There's a lot of money involved in location based services.

Jan
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Expert Comment

by:imarshad
ID: 12119693
>>The info is available to the provider only
Yes this is available to the provider only and supplying this info to a third party is against the laws......(At least in my country)....
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Author Comment

by:clurey
ID: 12122258
Thank you for the insight.

Craig
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