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What about the U.S Wireless (USWC) technology to locate 911 callers without triangulation. Good reviews. Anyone know of competition ? All wireless services are to be able to provide this by 2001 is what I have seen. At $3.31 a share could this be a good bet?
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<What about the U.S Wireless (USWC) technology to locate 911 callers without triangulation.>

Interesting Wireless Investment angle, first time I have heard of it. I was always under the impression that under new USA laws , that all service providers were required to connect a 911 call . I don't know what triangulation means, I'll have to look that one up.

Thanks for Posting,

MYCROFT
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<What about the U.S Wireless (USWC) technology to locate 911 callers without triangulation.>

Interesting Wireless Investment angle, first time I have heard of it. I was always under the impression that under new USA laws , that all service providers were required to connect a 911 call.


From non-subscribers and delinquents perhaps. But the main bugaboo in the new law is that it mandates that the cell company must be able to geographically locate X% of those calls within y feet of their origin.

I don't know what triangulation means, I'll have to look that one up.
Using reception via directional antennas at two diverse geographical locations to pinpoint the origination of the signal.
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Someone remarked:

I don't know what triangulation means, I'll have to look that one up.

And CK$erenity offered:

Using reception via directional antennas at two diverse geographical locations to pinpoint the origination of the signal.

Wouldn't that be bi-angulation? (which doesn't really exist because there ain't no angle involved). To pinpoint the location you need three points of reference. Otherwise you can only locate the source along a line.

Maria
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SaloonGal,
If I remember my school maths, so long as you know the position of two points, and the angle of a third point from both points, you can identify the location of the third point. The term "triangulation" comes from making a triangle.

angussb (amazed to be posting here)
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SaloonGal:

Wouldn't that be bi-angulation? (which doesn't really exist because there ain't no angle involved). To pinpoint the location you need three points of reference. Otherwise you can only locate the source along a line.

Three points won't help you locate anything. They will just form a triangle if not a straight line. That is why you need directional antennas. These antennas give you the 'angles' (after being moved to get maximum signal strength) allowing you to draw two lines on a map. The signal originates where the lines intersect.
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Agreed...two lines and angles are enough. The third dimension is height, and we can usually assume that the user is on the ground.

I am hoping this thread does not die of neglect. I agree with the original post that this might be a nice wireless play. Currently, you cannot locate a user's location on a CDMA phone. If there are E-911 requiring that this improvement be made, then, IMHO, someone is going to make some money with the technology to do it.

jec
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Triangulation (in the old school) uses two compass bearings to determine a location (ie the third leg of the triangle). In practice if you were in the mountains and had a map with two prominent features within sight you could get a bearing on these two prominent points and figure out where you are in relation to these two points using a compass.

In the digital world the satelites will do the same function vis'a'vis GPS technology.

My question is why the heck is it incumbent upon the moble phone provider to generate this information for a wayward traveller. The technology will cost extra money and gobs of data storage resources. It seems to me this is not a phone provider issue.

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The FCC requirement that the mobile phone system provider must be able to determine the location of any mobile phone on its system is not motivated by a desire to help the "wayward traveler," but to enable a 911 operator to locate the point of origin of an emergency call to 911 over a wireless phone. It is not only the mobile phone user who would be protected by this location-determining requirement. Other people and property are also protected. (Can you imagine spotting a fire while driving down an unfamiliary road and calling 911? Both lives and property may be saved if the 911 operator can locate the origin of the call.)

There is also a less benign theory about why the government wants the ability to locate a wireless phone, aka the Big Brother is Watching You theory. . Query whether the location-finding system would be able to locate and track any particular wireless phone without first being contacted by the wireless phone user. If the system could do that, the potential for secret tracking and spying on citizens would become much, much greater than current methods of identifying, monitoring and tracking people.

Maybe a technically savvy Fool can enlighten us all as to whether the second, less benign theory (Big Brother is watching you comes to life) is technically feasible with the various tracking mechanisms that are being developed.

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My question is why the heck is it incumbent upon the moble phone provider to generate this information for a wayward traveller.
Who else could generate it?

The technology will cost extra money and gobs of data storage resources.
I don't see it needing much, if any, data storage. If a phone had GPS the provider wouldn't have to have any storage. They would just have to pass along the Lat/Lon information in the data stream for 911 calls.

It seems to me this is not a phone provider issue.
It is a 911 issue. From a landline they get address information. And with more and more 911 calls coming from cells they want the same information. Most people know their street address. Even if a 911 cell caller can stay on the line, I imagine many of them have trouble accurately describing their location.
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There is also a less benign theory about why the government wants the ability to locate a wireless phone [...] If the system could do that, the potential for secret tracking and spying on citizens would become much, much greater than current methods of identifying, monitoring and tracking people.

Maybe a technically savvy Fool can enlighten us all as to whether the second, less benign theory (Big Brother is watching you comes to life) is technically feasible with the various tracking mechanisms that are being developed.


This can be done right now. It just isn't easy to pinpoint your location. If your phone is left on it is very easy to track the cells that you travel through.

As for "without first being contacted by the wireless phone." Your wirless phone reports in every few seconds. It is in constant communication with the cell. Otherwise, travelling at 80mph through small cells would be a big problem for receiving calls. How would the system know which cell to send the call to?

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This board is very informative. I applaud Mycroft and everyone else for all the hard work.
Thank you for all your efforts.

I have investments in DSL, and fiber optics. I have wireless only through a takeover play (CTS recently bought some wireless operations from Mot). I am on the flat portion of the wireless learning curve and the vast amount of wireless information avalible is hurting my tiny brain.

I've been thinking about this 911 location thing some more. If the FCC mandates the location service what opportunities will be avalible for wireless providers?

One recent advance in farming is the use of GPS technology to drive tractors on pre-specified coordinates, ie drive a straght line for a long time. When a farmer is planting and harvesting, work shifts can be 18 to 20 hours a day. It is much easier to drive a straight line if the computer is doing the steering during those 18 to 20 hours, since much of that driving is done in darkness. It also allows tractors to miss power poles, irrigation systems and other stationary hazards.

For the rest of society using the moble phone as a GPS could allow users to find out where they are "real time" and this information could be plugged into on-board vehicle guidance systems to determine the best route(s)to proceed.

Moble phones could easily replace the present GPS systems.

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The technology will cost extra money and gobs of data storage resources. It seems to me this is not a phone provider issue.

The Swiss government has been collecting that data regularly for a few years now, on every cellphone in the country, and not just to be 911-friendly.

Search for "Echelon online", or check out this article (from May 1999) from the Australian online newspaper The Age. It's not your usual paranoid-conspiracy level raving you might find in some of the web sites, but just a straightforward, factual article.
http://www.theage.com.au/daily/990523/news/news3.html
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Aww crud! I was in the middle of a reply to this thread, and I hit some key that killed my msg. Not sure if it got posted, so please bear with me as I repeat myself:

* Hi! Thanks to all who have contributed so much useful info to this board. I've learned A TON. I'm an EE grad student with a tech-related interest (but no formal training) in GPS, so I hope to be able to answer some of the questions that have cropped up.

* Potential GPS applications: In a previous post, Willneal pointed out that GPS can be used in agriculture systems in order to provide an example of how GPS can be used in applications not necessarily associated with GPS technology. He is absolutely right, and if anything, he didn't stress this point enough. Furthermore, it is my opinion that the future of GPS is not in the answering of the question "Where am I?", but more along the lines of "Where am I, and how does this information assist me in making informed decisions?" (Vague, yes I know. I'd be willing to expand in a new thread if people are interested.) The punchline is that I believe that GPS technology will become an increasingly important part of our lives.

* Want to learn more about GPS apps? If so, go to one of the many GPS trade-pubs (www.gpsworld.com is probably the best example) or to one of the major GPS mfctrs (www.trimble.com is a good example.) If you surf these sites, you can learn about the technology involved as well as the applications currently addressed by GPS.

* GPS for E-911. This has been pretty much addressed by previous posts. Just to add a bit about its applications and limitations: The idea is that if you get in a car accident in the middle of nowhere, you can call 911 on your cell and immediately be located to within 100 meters. The FCC is mandating e-911 for reasons of public safety.

* Legal requirements. As far as I know, the FCC will require all cellular phones to have this E-911 capability at some point in the future; there are lots of cellular phones; the market implications of this are clear, although it should be noted that the FCC mandate only requires that the person can be located within X meters; it says nothing of whether this has to be done with GPS.

* Privacy issues. The "Big Brother" issue has been brought up before, and it is a valid concern. Can the wireless network/government track the positions of your phone? Perhaps. To be more specific, your location is first determined by the GPS unit in your handset. At this point, your geo-location information is PRIVATE. The wireless network does not (necessarily) assist in your location determination, and your GPS module does not (necessarily) "ping" its location for snooping ears to pick up. Your location information becomes PUBLIC only when your location data is PURPOSEFULLY TRANSMITTED by your handset back to the network. Ideally, this is only done when you ask it to (or call 911). However, there is no a priori constraint that would prohibit your phone from transmitting this data without your consent.

* What about cellular-based location info? Is that private? A point was raised that Big Brother can have a vague idea where you are merely because it knows which basestation your cell is communicating with. This is true (provided Big Brother can get its hands on that info.) I think that these cells are pretty darned big, so the usefulness of this info is pretty limited, both for big brother and e-911. Also, the basestation triangulation idea has its flaws in that it would require the basestations to have rather sophisticated signal processing functionality (all sorts of phase recovery stuff) that basestation mftrs have no incentive to include.
Still, cellular-assisted GPS is a hot idea for e-911. I know very little about it, but check out www.snaptrack.com for a company that uses this technology for e-911.

Phew! I keep forgetting how long winded I am. If any of you are more interested in GPS nuts and bolts, let me know and I'll try to throw together a primer on GPS technology and its apps.

Happy trails,
David


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dasobel:
* GPS for E-911. This has been pretty much addressed by previous posts. Just to add a bit about its applications and limitations: The idea is that if you get in a car accident in the middle of nowhere, you can call 911 on your cell and immediately be located to within 100 meters. The FCC is mandating e-911 for reasons of public safety.

So car centric? Ah, shouldn't the car, knowing the air bag has been deployed, and sensing no operator movement, make that call for you. You might be unconsious and bleeding to death. I believe this service, integrated with GPS, is already offered.
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ckserenity:
So car centric? Ah, shouldn't the car, knowing the air bag has been deployed, and sensing no operator movement, make that call for you. You might be unconsious and bleeding to death. I believe this service, integrated with GPS, is already offered.

Really? Cool, I hadn't heard about that. Do you know of any companies that offer this product? In particular, do you know how the cellular phone is integrated such that the car can "communicate" with it?

thanks,
David

P.S. As a side note, e-911 is not only for car-centric folk. There is nothing preventing anyone not in a car from using it. I merely mentioned the automobile app as an example.
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dasobel:
Really? Cool, I hadn't heard about that. Do you know of any companies that offer this product?

Afraid not. I just heard about such a system a couple of years ago in a presentation from a VP from a large insurance agency. Might have been experimental. Definitely targeted at high worth individuals but rather straight forward to implement.

In particular, do you know how the cellular phone is integrated such that the car can "communicate" with it?

Nothing hard about that. Nowadays I imagine the phone would be embedded. A few years back it probably used an installed car phone. Weren't there models with remote keypads? If so it would be easy to attach another device instead to press the keys. There were quite a few anti-theft systems that used a phone to report GPS data if it detected the car was being stolen.

P.S. As a side note, e-911 is not only for car-centric folk. There is nothing preventing anyone not in a car from using it. I merely mentioned the automobile app as an example.

Of course, it was you I was accusing of being car-centric! ;-)
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Do you know of any companies that offer this product? In particular, do you know how the cellular phone is integrated such that the car can "communicate" with it?

I haven't checked to verify this, but I am almost certain that both Mercedes and Cadillac offer a system that automatically dials 911 upon airbag deployment.
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Hey whichwayisup,

Thanks for your 9/9/99 post re USWC's technology. I read your post a few days later and bought some on 9/22. Have made a few bucks in the last 63 days.

Investing is little guys like this is like kissing frogs. Sometimes the frog turns out to be a prince. If so, you can keep it. If the frog turns out to be a frog, well....yuck!
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