Mobile Phone tracking

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
eileithyia
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Re: Mobile Phone tracking

Postby eileithyia » 27 Aug 2009, 10:09am

Well said PC Frank, when I learnt my hill walking craft we were taught to make up route sheets and leave at a reliable point with estimates of time of return etc.
If you are going into hills alone whether walking or MTBing should you not also be giving someome an idea of your route and eta, if you are suitably concerned for your welfare and the peace of mind of loved ones.

The carrying of mobiles for sos only is an interesting point. A friend reallised after an accident that it might be useful to carry one in case he needed to call someone to assist. Not being particularly keen on them, he initially carried it around switched off. Then realised.... "you self barsteward, what if someone is trying to reach for the self same reason that you are carrying your phone. You expect someone to be available for you but you are not making yourself available for them".
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells

pij1979
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Joined: 27 Aug 2009, 3:49pm

Re: Mobile Phone tracking

Postby pij1979 » 27 Aug 2009, 3:56pm

I am a member of a MRT and we have used mobile phone tracking quite often.

If we have a mis pers such as a cyclist or mountain biker then things are a lot easier if we have a route on which to focus our search. If we can 'ping' a phone this can help us to prioritise search areas and may well result in you being a found a lot more quickly, though the results can sometimes be very variable.

It is always worth letting someone know your route, even if it is only vaugely otherwise it can literally be a needle in a haystack. Sending a friend or family member a text halfway can also help reduce search areas significantly.

We have searched roadside ditches for missing roadies as well as mountainous areas for mtbers so this applies to all!

thirdcrank
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Re: Mobile Phone tracking

Postby thirdcrank » 27 Aug 2009, 5:19pm

I think it's easy to get paranoid but at the same time, it's always worth taking some simple precautions to minimise the inconvenience or even danger to others. When I've gone cycling for the day - always on road - I would tell my wife roughly which direction I'm going in and as I have perhaps a dozen regular routes from home, they are all marked in a large scale atlas at home (never called on.) When I bought the infamous Berlingo as a mobile bike shed, I got a very small wallet which could be fastened to the ignition key. I note where the van is parked and keep that info with my ID, credit card etc in the wallet just so it could be easily found if I was not in a position to tell people. For anybody going off the road network, this sort of thing is much more important.

I think it's worth making the point that technology is a bonus and never a substitute for basic good housekeeping like letting people know here you are going and carrying the basic stuff for self-sufficiency be that a puncture outfit or survival bag etc., depending on circumsatnces, rather than relying on a mobile to call for help.

mark a.
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Location: Surrey

Re: Mobile Phone tracking

Postby mark a. » 27 Aug 2009, 5:53pm

For those who have pay-as-you-go mobiles for emergency only: I had one of those on Vodafone. The only problem was that because I didn't have any emergencies, I didn't need to make any calls, so Vodafone decided that my account was inactive and therefore cancelled my SIM, even though it still had £5 on it.

I haven't tried to see if it still works for 999 calls.

Is that just Vodafone, or is it common? How do you get round it? I tried to keep it active by doing some free calls on it (e.g. ringing Vodafone to find out how much credit I've got left) but it seems that they only look at how much you've actually spent.

thirdcrank
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Re: Mobile Phone tracking

Postby thirdcrank » 27 Aug 2009, 7:35pm

It's in the Virgin pay as you go small print. No calls for 6 mos = disconnection. At 15 p a throw, it must have cost me approx £3 to keep co nected for 10 years. Mine does get used quite a lot to receive calls to Dad's taxi service, Dad's breakdown recovery service etc. (Never had one to Dad's Mountain Rescue or Lifeboat - just as well, there are no volunteers currently available in either.)

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rbrian
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Location: Aberdeen

Re: Mobile Phone tracking

Postby rbrian » 27 Aug 2009, 9:32pm

If you're in trouble in one of these mountainous areas with poor mobile signals, not strong enough to make a call but just enough for a text, who do you send the text to? Is there an emergency text number, like 999 or 112, or do you have to rely on family or friends contacting mountain rescue on your behalf? What if you don't have any friends?
Cynic? No, an optimist tempered by experience.

basingstoke123
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Joined: 13 Feb 2008, 10:05pm

Re: Mobile Phone tracking

Postby basingstoke123 » 29 Aug 2009, 10:16pm

I am not aware of any emergency texting number.

Regarding emergency calls: In Europe, it is a regulatory requirement that a phone can always make an emergency call, if possible. You don't need to be in the coverage area of your own operator - any operator will do. (This is why phones sometimes display 'emergency calls only' - the phone is picking up the cell site transmissions from one of the other operators but cannot see your own operator.) You also don't need a valid SIM (or even a SIM). So, you should still be able to use a de-registered SIM. As a test, take your SIM out, and dial '999' (but don't make the call!)

However, a phone that is rarely used is likely to have a dead or nearly dead battery. Dead battery - no emergency call! This will be more important than having an active SIM.

Your network operator will continuously track which cell you are in (so that you can be called or sent a text). Or more accurately, the phone regularly checks for the strongest cell site, and re-registers as you move from one cell site to the next (which is why standby time is greatly reduced when travelling). When not moving, the cell site will 'ping' the phone from time to time, to make sure it is still there. This is how the authorities can 'track' you in an emergency. While in a city centre, this will give your location to a few 100m, in rural areas, it will be accurate (or inaccurate?) to several miles. Which is why the USA made it a requirement for all new phones to have a means to accurately report location in an emergency (e.g. by incorporating GPS).

Note that if your phone is turned off, then it really is off. If the network tries 'pinging' your phone, it will NOT respond. You do not have to remove the battery.

CraigW
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Re: Mobile Phone tracking

Postby CraigW » 30 Aug 2009, 4:20pm

basingstoke123 wrote:Regarding emergency calls: In Europe, it is a regulatory requirement that a phone can always make an emergency call, if possible. You don't need to be in the coverage area of your own operator - any operator will do. (This is why phones sometimes display 'emergency calls only' - the phone is picking up the cell site transmissions from one of the other operators but cannot see your own operator.) You also don't need a valid SIM (or even a SIM). So, you should still be able to use a de-registered SIM. As a test, take your SIM out, and dial '999' (but don't make the call!)

No you can't. The GSM specifications says mobile phones should be able to make emergency calls without a valid SIM, but none of the UK networks support this. So if you don't have a valid SIM and a signal from your own network, you can't make an emergency call. You can test it you want - you will be able to dial 999 without a SIM, but it won't connect.
Even if your phone can't get a signal on your own network, and displays "emergency calls only", it won't work.
See this page for example: http://ec.europa.eu/information_society ... dex_en.htm