Anti-GPS thread

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by boss1, Mar 3, 2007.

  1. boss1 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 8, 2007
    Well if it's included in a future model then whatever i guess. But seriously what is it about GPS that people want so bad?

    I was starting to think i was old school on this subject until i took 3 minutes to think about it. GPS is moderately useful at best! and only greatly useful for special circumstances:
    a. keeping track of other coworkers for logistical business purposes
    b. extremely rare emergencies where you may be somehow lost on a gigantic snowy mountain
    c. or perhaps if you get lost in the woods on your way to work and all the trees within a 10km radius of your standing location look exactly the same as the all the trees within the next 10km radius you travel through.

    Then I could see GPS being useful. Since when did real time GPS become the needed advantage to get from home to that store you've never been to? :confused:

    I'm not really that anti-GPS, i'm sure some people just find it amusing to play with. But i do think it's a bit more than silly when someone thinks they need GPS on a phone.
  2. grapes911 Moderator emeritus


    Jul 28, 2003
    Citizens Bank Park
    Um...GPS on a phone is extremely useful. How else do you expect 911 to know where you are calling from? Calls can be forwarded to local 911 call centers rather than the call center for your area code.
  3. BarryW macrumors member

    Jan 21, 2007
    South Africa, Jo'burg /U.A.E, Dubai
    How about sales reps who have to travel to unknown destinations.
    Turn by turn directions would be a useful addition, instead of having to buy a separate GPS unit.

    Nokia have this ability using the garmin bluetooth enabled gps receiver.
  4. boss1 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 8, 2007
    If I'm on the phone talking with a 911 operator, I would probably and have in the past during emergencies, 'tell them where i am, using words and such :rolleyes: ' . no gps needed
  5. grapes911 Moderator emeritus


    Jul 28, 2003
    Citizens Bank Park
    What if you are in unfamiliar territory and can't give an exact location? What if you are badly hurt and can barely dial 911 let alone speak? Come on, use your head a little here.
  6. CEAbiscuit macrumors 6502a


    Jun 28, 2006
    The Kitchen
    Sorry. GPs on a phone rocks on so many levels- almost a wate of time to list. Your thread is pretty useless.
  7. xfiftyfour macrumors 68030


    Apr 14, 2006
    Clemson, SC
    xfiftyfour = REALLY bad with directions.
    gps = no one needs to know.


    please, please, please steve! have gps be a secret feature you just didn't tell us about..!
  8. MichaelF macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2007
    Actually, US 911 service already tracks cellphones

    I'm joining this thread because I don't like to see guys get beat up with incorrect information.

    The existing US cellphone networks, by law, can all locate cellphones without needing GPS. This was specifically so that emergency dispatchers could send help even when the victim was lost or unable to describe their location. The law went into effect a few years ago.

    The cellphone is located by comparing the signal strength at three cellphone towers (lower signal strength means, naturally, it's farther away) and figuring out where a cell phone would have to be to have those results. The math is pretty darn simple.

    Normally, your cellphone signal is received by at least three towers, it just connects to whichever one has the strongest signal. When you're driving and getting closer to another tower, your phone automatically switches after that one becomes the stronger signal.

    The emergency cell phone location system can figure out your location within about 100 meters (or less). (The location tracking feature is also used to estimate traffic flow on highways, but my post is long enough already, so I won't go into that.)

    So, there is no public safety reason to have GPS on cell phones. The requirement has always been based on commercial opportunities. Cell phone service providers would love you to ask them where the nearest pizza joint is during lunch time. You'd get to lunch faster, and the pizza place would give them money for the referral. As you recall, Steve Jobs demonstrated precisely this commercial application during his iPhone presentation (he looked for the nearest Starbucks and called them to place an order for 600 lattes).

    GPS on your cell phone would also be good for maps and driving directions. I travel a lot for business and the rental car GPS has been invaluable several times. Upon request, the rental car GPS also provides the locations of nearby restaurants and gas stations - another feature I've been grateful for. If you allow location tracking on your cell phone (Verizon already offers this to me by reusing the tracking technology required for 911 calls), you can get all these services without needing a GPS installed.

    Because of the frequency it operates at, GPS does not work well inside buildings and suffers outages in downtown city areas. For my money, the 911 tracker technology is better in urban areas - where all the commercial applications are most likely to be used.

    We can have a great argument about whether GPS is a good idea for cell phones or not - but not based on public safety issues.

  9. Jeonat macrumors regular

    Jul 25, 2006
    United Kingdom
    I think the benefits of having GPS outweight the disadvantages, and it is useful trying to find your way around. I had a phone that had GPS a while back here in the UK and the network operator used the GPS information from the phone when you requested to find your nearest cashpoint (or whatever). It worked quite well but it was expensive in terms of requests (25p a go I believe) and there was no option to install your own mapping software and use the receiver to power it.

    So I think GPS in the iPhone will be useful as long as there is decent mapping software that doesn't charge the user per request, like those Windows Mobile devices with built in GPS that you can install TomTom or whatever on.

    The disadvantages, from the way I see it - are power consumption - hopefully you can turn the GPS off to save power and - paranoia mode on - I don't feel entirely comfortable having a GPS device in my pocket. Not only is there the "why the hell should anyone have the right to know where I am" argument, there could be potential vulnerabilities in the software which means someone unauthorised could access it over the air.

    My 2p of random thoughts anyway. The way to make me happy would - by all means have GPS, but have a hardware switch similar to the WiFi switch on laptops to let me turn it off to save battery power and my paranoia reserves.

    Cheers :)
  10. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    basically what i was going to say, but put better.

    GPS is nice, but not a necessary feature, imo. in a city/large urban environment, it truly is helpful for finding yourself around in unfamiliar territory, especially since you'd not have to divert your attention to reading maps/directions. but thats about the extent of its awesomeness for me.
  11. boss1 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 8, 2007

    like i said, extremely rare situation and very circumstantial. And as another reader noted above, your cellular device doesn't need extravagant GPS features in order for them to get your location.

    I'm not by any means saying there aren't benefits to GPS. I'm merely saying most people shouldn't find themselves in a world of disaster without it. Human existence has managed without GPS for thousands of years and all of a sudden people seem to imply it's a necessary navigation survival tool. :confused:

    Heck even out in the wilderness, never mind a city where you have a gazillion distinct landmarks, one can easily navigate using common sense, counting your measured paces, getting your bearing and direction from the natural things around you. Stuff you can learn in a child's cub scout course or online.

    I'm not saying GPS is useless if your lost wherever, I'm saying that if you truly cared for survival then people would take the time to get to know how to effectively navigate without the tech and see that it's far more useful and reliable than GPS if applied properly.

    If you think GPS is your salvation and you don't know how to navigate around without it, then you may need more help than you think.:rolleyes:

    That said I'm not going to be in a river tears because my cellphone doesn't have GPS nor should anyone be conned into thinking they can't survive or get around without it.
  12. Aperture macrumors 68000


    Mar 19, 2006
    Verizon has for around $5/Month turn by turn voice navigation on most of their phones. It can show you where you are, and the closest gas station, etc.

    It is pretty fun to play around with!
  13. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    Personal, I don't really care about GPS, but I'm sure there are people who want it. But Apple out to make a profit, and keep the price down.

    600USD is more then enough for a phone...I don't think they want to make the price go up anymore
  14. bmb012 macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2006
    Turn by turn directions... did everyone just forget that the thing comes with google maps...?
  15. grapes911 Moderator emeritus


    Jul 28, 2003
    Citizens Bank Park
    Just about two years ago (maybe 3), while in NJ, I called 911 to report an accident. The cops never came. After a few calls, I found out that my calls where going to a PA 911 center (I have a PA area code) and they couldn't directly help me. They directed my call to NJ and finally I was able to get the police out to my location. Later I called Verizon and they said that if I had a GPS enabled phone then I wouldn't have had this trouble. I purchased a GPS phone (luckily have not needed 911 since). Verizon very well could have given me incorrect info, or the technology changed, but I feel much safer having a GPS phone.
  16. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    and now you see why all phone sold in the US since I believe 2003 are required by law to have a way to give you GPS location in a 911 call. All Verizon phones sold since 2003 have had GPS built into them. All Sprint phone sold since the since 2003 have had GPS built in to them.

    Now all GSM phone do not need it because singular gives you location by your phone signal delay between 3 towers. Also quite a few phone they sell have GPS built into them for 911.

    The person trying to get Anti-GPS is on a losing battle because of requirements by US law put on the cell companies. They will not touch or allow a phone that they can not get a GPS location to get on their network.
  17. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    IIRC, this is a proposal rather than a law. If you can provide a link supporting your claim, then I will gladly accept it. Even if it were law, it would only be workable in populated areas where cell towers are spaced closely enough for three of them to pick up a phone's signal. In many areas of the country, cell towers are few and far between. You get one tower or none at all.

    As for the signal strength method, there is simply no way that it can approach the accuracy of GPS except possibly in the suburbs or a city park. Any obstruction which attenuates the signal sent to a cell tower will dramatically alter the location determined by triangulation. OTOH, GPS uses four (4) geosynchronous satellites and the time required for each of their timing signals to reach your receiver. Three are needed for triangulation and the fourth is a check on the other three. Civilian GPS can pinpoint a location to within a meter (about three feet).

    Long story short--cell tower location is better than nothing, but GPS can distinguish you from the person trying to provide you with aid.
  18. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    Heck by your logic why need a cell phone at all if we manged without them for thousands of years. Same with electricity, or cars, or computers. Personally, I travel alot and would find gps very useful so I could care less what you say as you obviously dont have a need for it.

    not quite the same. thats like looking at road maps while driving. way safe there buddy. gps tells you when to turn and automatically updates your position as you drive. this is alot safer and a heck of alot more convenient. remember gps can also find gas stations, hotels, restaurants and other things. that in itself is really nice.
  19. dollystereo macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2004
    Thats super paranoic!
  20. Eagle51389 macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2007
    Consumer GPS won't work in whiteout snow conditions. Or in areas of dense forest. Its almost comparable to satellite radio in terms of reception and availability.

    I know for a fact that the government & military units that they use for GPS location are accurate within inches. They somewhat disable the accuracy in consumer units.

  21. bigandy macrumors G3


    Apr 30, 2004
    Actually, since 2000, this has not been the case. Consumer GPS can be as accurate as it's military counterpart now - that is, of course, with similar equipment. You're $300 mobile phone with GPS isn't going to work half as well as the $3,000 one they issue to troops, the $5,000 one they slap in hummers, or whatever. there's no comparison.
  22. gco212 macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2004
    Just for those who are calling paranoia on the 911 thing, a man in Pennsylvania died a few years (around 2) ago due to cell phones not being locatable. He was locked and bound in a van, and was being beaten to death, but was able to reach and make a call on his cell phone to 911. He obviously couldn't talk, and the operator had no idea where he was. The operator had to listen as he was beaten to death, and his body was found the next day.
  23. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    its not about everybody like it, its about options, how can anybody against an option? even some individuals don't like it? if you don't like it, nobody force you to use it?
  24. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Actually, this is not true. If your GPS receiver is accurate to within a few inches, there is no practical benefit to a more expensive receiver which is accurate to within a few millimeters. Unless you need to know the location of an M&M chocolate candy piece within its bag, the extra money that you pay for sub-inch GPS accuracy is wasted.
  25. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Yep. The other poster was referring to Selective Availability, and that was indeed an intentional "fuzzifying" of the consumer-grade GPS signal. It was still good to within about 20 meters or so, close enough for most purposes at the time (and still close enough for most things you're going to do with a GPS unit).

    Now that Selective Availability has been turned off, your GPS units provide you with accuracy down to 1-5 meters (on a good day). Additional technologies such as WAAS improve GPS accuracy even more. The military may well have something new up their sleeve now, but everyone gets the same signals from the NAVSTAR satellites (e.g. the GPS constellation).

    Someone back then decided to test the limits of their newly-improved GPS accuracy by hiding a bucket of goodies in the woods and challenging other people to find it using only latitude and longitude coordinates. That's how Geocaching, the "GPS stash hunt", got started, and now there are thousands upon thousands of these little "treasures" all over the world (I've found about 250 so far...) Chances are there's one hidden somewhere near YOU, and I'd bet there's at least one less than a mile from where you live. You probably pass by some all the time and never knew it. Get your GPS-enabled phone and go find it! :D

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