The How Zone

Cellphone Locating


We just got back from the Florida trip and overall I think the Cell Phone mapping method worked pretty well. It would have been nice if we didn't have to type the lat/lon in each time, but it's only a dozen numbers and easy enough once you get the hang of SMS (Short Message Service) text input.

The script I wrote for parsing SMS messages did some of the work. Instead of typing a negative sign for the longitude I had the script add it (we were staying in the western hemisphere). It could have saved a little typing by eliminating the need for a decimal point and using a fixed lat/lon coordinate size. As it was our SMS location messages looked like:

36.9 76.13 Virginia Beach

The first two "words" were split off into lat/lon variables and the remaining words used as the location name. This was stuffed into a MySQL table along with a timestamp.

To render maps the database was queried for "florida" entries and sorted by the posted date. For the IndyJunior map this information was used to create an XML file, the other map used the info in a series of icon and line descriptions.

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