The How Zone

Cellphone Locating

GPS and Cellphone

In January of 2004 I drove from New Hampshire to Florida and tracked the journey live on the web using a GPS and a cell phone. Find out how it was done and check out the resulting maps.

Garmin GPS II+

Usually when I go on a long road trip I bring along a Garmin GPS II+. It's a bit old but works great. The Garmin will track speed, direction, along with elapsed time and miles. It also stores a list of track-points that can be downloaded to a computer and mapped.

This GPS is old enough that it doesn't have digital maps. That's fine, small screens aren't much fun for live navigation nor do I want the hassle and mess of hooking up a computer and map program for live tracking. The roads of the United States are easy to navigate using road signs and paper maps.

Still, it's fun to think of new ways to use all of this technology. So I decided to try and publish my location on this website from the road...without using a laptop.

Virgin Mobile Audiovox 8500

When I've attempted this type of thing before it usually involved laptops, way too many wires, hotel room dial-ups, and lots of hand editing of web pages and maps. This time I automated it as much as possible and reduced the amount of gear.

For the trip I bought a Virgin Mobile pre-paid cellphone (Audiovox 8500). I rarely, if ever, need a cellphone so this seemed like a good deal. Time will tell.

For ten cents per message I can send text messages. The messages can be sent to other phones or to email addresses. This opens up a whole realm of possibilities. For ten cents I can essentially send my location to any email address.

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