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evillageprowler
Jan 16, 2008, 09:34 AM
Folks,

I am a bit confused about the Locate Me feature that comes with the new Maps application... I know that the IPT must have WiFi enabled, but does it actually have to be connected to a WiFi network for that feature to be able to work?

(I haven't bought the new apps yet.)

In the pdf doc on the Apple site for the IPT, it says that my "approximate location is determined using information from some local WiFi networks (if WiFi turned on). ... This feature is not available in all areas."

One possible way to interpret this is that I am going through a residential area with my IPT and it gets an idea of where I am by sensing the available WiFi networks.

If I actually have to be connected to a WiFi network, then I think this feature will be of limited use...

Can someone give me an idea how this works -- the more "under the covers" you can tell me, the better.

TIA,

EVP



Hls811
Jan 16, 2008, 09:43 AM
Yup.. you do need to be connected to a WiFi in order for the Locate Me to work.

I agree with you - its almost useless because if you can't access without WiFi then you can't use it - and if you have a WiFi connection you hopefully know where you are (or have the ability to find out). I think as more Public WiFi spots are available it'll be more useful but for now its a carryover "throw the ipod Touch owners a bone" type of move since its on the iPhone.

With that being said - it is sorta cool the first time you use it! :)

macwannabe77
Jan 16, 2008, 09:45 AM
Yup.. you do need to be connected to a WiFi in order for the Locate Me to work.

I agree with you - its almost useless because if you can't access without WiFi then you can't use it - and if you have a WiFi connection you hopefully know where you are (or have the ability to find out). I think as more Public WiFi spots are available it'll be more useful but for now its a carryover "throw the ipod Touch owners a bone" type of move since its on the iPhone.

With that being said - it is sorta cool the first time you use it! :)

Is anyone else having problems with this feature? My Touch is telling me that it is "unable to locate". anyone else having this problem?

evillageprowler
Jan 16, 2008, 09:55 AM
Yup.. you do need to be connected to a WiFi in order for the Locate Me to work.

I agree with you - its almost useless because if you can't access without WiFi then you can't use it - and if you have a WiFi connection you hopefully know where you are (or have the ability to find out). I think as more Public WiFi spots are available it'll be more useful but for now its a carryover "throw the ipod Touch owners a bone" type of move since its on the iPhone.

With that being said - it is sorta cool the first time you use it! :)

You sure? This app seems like such a waste (for IPT users) cuz that pretty much means I can only use it at home or at a familiar place. And, if at home or an otherwise familiar place, why would I need this feature?

But - are you sure? Because to be able to "triangulate" my location, it needs to "know" about more than just my connected WiFi network.

EVP

Hls811
Jan 16, 2008, 10:02 AM
You sure? This app seems like such a waste (for IPT users) cuz that pretty much means I can only use it at home or at a familiar place. And, if at home or an otherwise familiar place, why would I need this feature?

But - are you sure? Because to be able to "triangulate" my location, it needs to "know" about more than just my connected WiFi network.

EVP

I'm sure - unless mine isn't working properly! ;) I'm at work now with no Wi-Fi connection - if I click on the the little 'Locate Me' icon in the lower right, the wheel spins and then I get a message saying "your location could not be determined".

Its a neat little gimmicky thing.. The only use I can see is for getting directions - if you're somewhere with a WiFi connection and put in a destination address you could get directions which you could take offline with you. I guess some people might use it that way - its easier to click the 'Locate Me' button than to type out the actual address where you're at, but even thats a stretch to make a use of the feature.

rbroady
Jan 16, 2008, 10:03 AM
I dont think you have to be connected

you simply just have to detect the hotspot which most likely will register the router number on your touch and go thru that whole database of hotspots

but then agian, how does it go thru the database without being connected over wifi

Hls811
Jan 16, 2008, 10:07 AM
I dont think you have to be connected

you simply just have to detect the hotspot which most likely will register the router number on your touch and go thru that whole database of hotspots

but then agian, how does it go thru the database without being connected over wifi

I'll test this theory at lunch, there's a place down the street where I usually walk to pick up some various open WiFi signals - I'll go down there - without manually connecting, and see if the Locate Me works.

evillageprowler
Jan 16, 2008, 10:13 AM
I am at work now (in the "transplanted Wall St" section of Jersey City, NJ) and my IPT detects no WiFi networks whatsoever. Even if I had the new apps on my device, I still wouldn't be able to use the feature.

Hls811 - please let us know your findings if you step out for lunch.

TIA,

EVP

Pared
Jan 16, 2008, 10:23 AM
I'm curious about this feature as well. Will be checking in for your update.

davidjearly
Jan 16, 2008, 10:34 AM
You don't have to be connected to any wifi hotspot for this to work.

What you do need is to be in the vicinity of one or more hotspots, protected or not. They transmit unique signatures which are stored in a database that can then be accessed by the iPod, but without actually connecting to the network.

mrgreen4242
Jan 16, 2008, 10:41 AM
You sure? This app seems like such a waste (for IPT users) cuz that pretty much means I can only use it at home or at a familiar place. And, if at home or an otherwise familiar place, why would I need this feature?

But - are you sure? Because to be able to "triangulate" my location, it needs to "know" about more than just my connected WiFi network.

EVP

I agree that as it is the app is a bit of a novelty, but it has it's uses. It would be much more useful if it could save some of the results (screenshots of a map, driving directions) for offline use.

Also, there is a database of the locations of WiFi hotspots with GPS coords. If you can see one of more of these hotspots, you can track down your approximate location. It's not a new tech.

You don't have to be connected to any wifi hotspot for this to work.

What you do need is to be in the vicinity of one or more hotspots, protected or not. They transmit unique signatures which are stored in a database that can then be accessed by the iPod, but without actually connecting to the network.

Well, you'd need to be connected to A hotspot to get online and get the map data from Google, I'd assume...

Hls811
Jan 16, 2008, 01:11 PM
I am at work now (in the "transplanted Wall St" section of Jersey City, NJ) and my IPT detects no WiFi networks whatsoever. Even if I had the new apps on my device, I still wouldn't be able to use the feature.

Hls811 - please let us know your findings if you step out for lunch.

TIA,

EVP


EVP - You could have met up with me to run this test - we're in the same area in Jersey City! I went over to Newport Centre Mall where I can get a few weak signals! LOL

Anyway - yes - you do need to be connected to a WiFi Network. I know a specific spot where I can usually pick up a few signals, when I went through The first thing I did was click the 'Locate Me' button - and it picked up my location - I didn't have to do anything. BUT - there's a reason - I had already been there and previously connected to a network so it remembered me and autoconnected. (as its supposed to, it'll always autoconnect to a known network).

Then, I manually removed that network so I wasn't connected to any of the available WiFi spots, and tried the "Locate Me" button and it was unable to detect my location.

For what its worth - I did the same test with Mail - I was curious to see if it would automatically update Mail anytime it detected a wifi hotspot, but as I figured - it didn't.

I guess for security reasons you can't just have a device that automatically connects to random hotspots without the owner knowing....

evillageprowler
Jan 16, 2008, 01:30 PM
EVP - You could have met up with me to run this test - we're in the same area in Jersey City! I went over to Newport Centre Mall where I can get a few weak signals! LOL

I'll have to try it out tomorrow or Friday if I get the chance... And, maybe we can see who can skip his IPT the farthest along the Hudson!

EVP

Hls811
Jan 16, 2008, 01:40 PM
EVP - You could have met up with me to run this test - we're in the same area in Jersey City! I went over to Newport Centre Mall where I can get a few weak signals! LOL

I'll have to try it out tomorrow or Friday if I get the chance... And, maybe we can see who can skip his IPT the farthest along the Hudson!

EVP

You go first. I bet you'll win!

innersanctum
Jan 16, 2008, 06:32 PM
Is anyone else having problems with this feature? My Touch is telling me that it is "unable to locate". anyone else having this problem?

Yes, i have this problem. I haven't found a way to get around it.

David G.
Jan 16, 2008, 06:42 PM
Yes, i have this problem. I haven't found a way to get around it.

Once again, same problem here. Actually, I don't even think it is a problem. This is so much a gimmick on the iPod touch it's funny.

davidjearly
Jan 17, 2008, 01:11 AM
Well, you'd need to be connected to A hotspot to get online and get the map data from Google, I'd assume...

No, you don't. :rolleyes:

You just have to be in the vicinity of one to triangulate your position. You don't actually have to be connected to it.

If you then want to go and use other features of Google Maps, Safari etc I would presume you need to connect to a hotspot.

Hls811
Jan 17, 2008, 08:50 AM
No, you don't. :rolleyes:

You just have to be in the vicinity of one to triangulate your position. You don't actually have to be connected to it.

If you then want to go and use other features of Google Maps, Safari etc I would presume you need to connect to a hotspot.

Thats not true.. I tested this out yesterday, you have to be connected to a WiFi network.

tommyp
Jan 17, 2008, 09:56 AM
Here (http://www.skyhookwireless.com) is a link to the company that provides the location service.

On the iPhone, you can use this service without being connected to any wireless network because you can use the cell network to transmit the data to Skyhook. On the iPod Touch you have to be connected to one of the available networks in order to be able to transmit information to Skyhook to search their database.

I actually tried this at home. With just my router visible, it couldn't locate me. With my router and one of my neighbors visible, it could. I am not quite sure if it was just that it needs more than one, or if somehow my neighbors network managed to get into the Skyhook database and mine hasn't.

As far as usefulness is concerned. I have found that in most places I find myself I can usually find an unencrypted wifi network somewhere. It amazes me how few people actually encrypt their networks. Of course it will remain to be seen how many private networks are in the database. Is the fact that my neighbors is visible just a fluke, or is that fairly common?

Depending on how many private networks are in the database, this almost gets a little scary.

Slip
Jan 17, 2008, 10:00 AM
From what I gathered from the Keynote it just uses the WFi hot spots to triangulate the position with no need to be connected to any network, but to search that database surely you would need internet access. I dunno

tommyp
Jan 17, 2008, 10:01 AM
I agree that as it is the app is a bit of a novelty, but it has it's uses. It would be much more useful if it could save some of the results (screenshots of a map, driving directions) for offline use.



It does appear to save some map data locally for offline use. I had Google maps give me directions from home to work, then went offline. I was able to step through each of the directions with the accompanying map being displayed, all while not connected to any network. When I did this for a longer trip, at some point it wanted to be connected again. Apparently it will only save a certain amount of data locally.

tommyp
Jan 17, 2008, 10:06 AM
From what I gathered from the Keynote it just uses the WFi hot spots to triangulate the position with no need to be connected to any network, but to search that database surely you would need internet access. I dunno

Yes, this is correct. The iPod does not have a database built into it. It sends information on visible hotspots to Skyhook who then searches their database and provides a location. The only way that can happen is if you are connected to the internet which is only possible on the iPod Touch if you have connected yourself to one of the wifi networks.

The database doesn't use anything about your connection to the wifi network to locate you, it just compares the list of visible wifi networks to it's database, but you HAVE to be connected to give them that list.

Slip
Jan 17, 2008, 10:12 AM
Yes, this is correct. The iPod does not have a database built into it. It sends information on visible hotspots to Skyhook who then searches their database and provides a location. The only way that can happen is if you are connected to the internet which is only possible on the iPod Touch if you have connected yourself to one of the wifi networks.

The database doesn't use anything about your connection to the wifi network to locate you, it just compares the list of visible wifi networks to it's database, but you HAVE to be connected to give them that list.

Fine if you're in the middle of no where and there's an open network I guess...
Kinda useless if they're all locked ;)

But anyway, it's just a novelty

Jschultz
Jan 17, 2008, 10:35 AM
My "locate me" is being useless. It located me about 15 miles from where I actually am. What the heck?

evillageprowler
Jan 17, 2008, 11:20 AM
This feature blows. Unless at home, I am usually not connected to a WiFi network and thus unable to access Skyhook. (At home, I located me fairly accurately - about 5 minutes walking away.)

Why can't this app cache data from Skyhook and thus be able to triangulate/locate if there are nearby WiFi networks but I am not connected?

I want my $19.99 back... :mad:

EVP

BrownManUPS
Jan 18, 2008, 10:33 PM
If you are at an airport for instance, can you connect to the public-but-you-have-to-pay-to-actually-surf internet and still use locate me though? Or does the internet have to be "validated"

ProwlingTiger
Jan 18, 2008, 11:52 PM
Steve Jobs himself said that all you need to do is be near WIFI, because WIFI spots triangulate signals. Otherwise the app would be COMPLETELY pointless.

Whether it works or not is a whole other issue I guess.

Pared
Jan 19, 2008, 01:19 PM
Steve Jobs himself said that all you need to do is be near WIFI, because WIFI spots triangulate signals. Otherwise the app would be COMPLETELY pointless.

Whether it works or not is a whole other issue I guess.

In case anyone is wondering, no, it does not work this way.

You need to be connected to a hotspot before it will work.

evillageprowler
Jan 19, 2008, 09:47 PM
Anyway I can get a refund and "return" these apps? I know $19.99 isn't a lot of money, but there's principle involved...

I've been spending the past few days trying to figure out how to get a WiFi hotspot on-the-go and on-demand. I know that I can get smartphones (that also have a wifi transceiver) running Win Mobile to use software that can turn it into a WiFi router and have my IPT and notebook connect to it.

But, that is getting expensive. The iPhone/ATT data plan is very cost-effective -- except that I don't own an iPhone (yet) and the ATT data plan prohibits tethering.

EVP

ComputerMonkey
Jan 19, 2008, 10:47 PM
If you are at an airport for instance, can you connect to the public-but-you-have-to-pay-to-actually-surf internet and still use locate me though? Or does the internet have to be "validated"

Nope, doesn't work. I just tried this today. You need to have a working, valid, wifi connection for the locate me feature to work.

nakile
Jan 19, 2008, 11:03 PM
It only works with Wi-Fi spots that have been added to Skyhook's database. They have quite a big documented but not all (obviously).

They have a coverage map (http://www.skyhookwireless.com/howitworks/coverage.php) showing the areas they cover.

solyd
Jan 20, 2008, 12:00 AM
Most WiFi routers will actually triangulate your position without connecting to it, however you need to be connected to a WiFi for the map data to download. Thus even though your iPod Touch knows its location, it cannot show you where you are since it does not store street maps all around the world.

macfan881
Jan 20, 2008, 01:18 AM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/4A93 Safari/419.3)

so a place like starbucks?

hecks
Jan 20, 2008, 01:42 AM
Most WiFi routers will actually triangulate your position without connecting to it, however you need to be connected to a WiFi for the map data to download. Thus even though your iPod Touch knows its location, it cannot show you where you are since it does not store street maps all around the world.

How on earth is a WiFi router supposed to 'triangulate' your position if your iPod is not communicating with it? And 'triangulate' with respect to what, and by which method of calculation? Please explain this technological marvel.

All your iPod can know is the SSID of the WiFi hotspot to which it is connected, which it checks against the map coordinates held in the (necessarily limited) online database.

Grasbak
Jan 20, 2008, 03:44 AM
there seems to be confusion as to wether the 'locate me' function only works if you are connected to a wifi hotspot.... i assume its a moot point. Presumably Maps only works if you are connected. I would have thought skyhook works without being connected the maps app doesnt work anyway!

then i dont have a touch (yet, due in a couple of days) so i could be totally wrong!