Locate Me feature on IPT

Discussion in 'iPod touch' started by evillageprowler, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    #1
    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
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Hls811

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #2
    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! :)
     
  3. macrumors member

    macwannabe77

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Location:
    Pennsylvania USA
    #3
    Is anyone else having problems with this feature? My Touch is telling me that it is "unable to locate". anyone else having this problem?
     
  4. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    #4
    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
     
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Hls811

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #5
    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.
     
  6. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    #6
    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
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Hls811

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #7
    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.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    #8
    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
     
  9. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    #9
    I'm curious about this feature as well. Will be checking in for your update.
     
  10. macrumors 68000

    davidjearly

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2006
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    #10
    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.
     
  11. macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    #11
    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.

    Well, you'd need to be connected to A hotspot to get online and get the map data from Google, I'd assume...
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Hls811

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #12

    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....
     
  13. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
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    #13
    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
     
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Hls811

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    #14
    You go first. I bet you'll win!
     
  15. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2007
    #15
    Yes, i have this problem. I haven't found a way to get around it.
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 10, 2007
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    #16
    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.
     
  17. macrumors 68000

    davidjearly

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2006
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    #17
    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.
     
  18. macrumors 6502a

    Hls811

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    Location:
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    #18
    Thats not true.. I tested this out yesterday, you have to be connected to a WiFi network.
     
  19. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    #19
    Interesting info on how this works

    Here 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.
     
  20. macrumors 6502a

    Slip

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Location:
    Wiltshire, England
    #20
    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
     
  21. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    #21
    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.
     
  22. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    #22
    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.
     
  23. macrumors 6502a

    Slip

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Location:
    Wiltshire, England
    #23
    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
     
  24. macrumors 6502a

    Jschultz

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #24
    My "locate me" is being useless. It located me about 15 miles from where I actually am. What the heck?
     
  25. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    #25
    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
     

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