Where Are You? Cell Phone Tracking

Cellular phone tracking is the process of determining a mobile phones position on a map, whether it be stationary or moving. This is achieved by either GPS if the device has the capacity, or by multilateration of several radio towers used by the network of which the cell phone belongs. The cell phones GMS is judged by the signal strength of the cell phone to nearby aerials/ antennas.

Cell phone tracking that includes a location based service gives the actual coordinates of the cell phone. This is used by telecommunication companies to get an estimate on where a mobile phone is. This comes into play a lot more when the cell phone moves into areas where there are extra charges for use. This often includes other countries.

A location based service (LBS) is the name for the process of locating a phone, however the correct term used for the action of "locating" is actually referring to the purpose of the search as oppose to the process.

The process of cell phone tracking using GPS is done using a constellation of 27 satellites orbiting earth. In simple terms the satellites send out a signal, telling where they are and when they sent the signal, the GPS receiver picks up these signals. It then uses this information to figure out where it is in comparison to these satellites, and hence then knows where it is on the globe. In a similar way that you can figure out roughly were you are by using the stars. A cellular phone with a GPS will simply transmit this information on to whom ever wants to know where the phone is. GPS tends to work better outdoors; the more resistance between the phone and the sky, the poorer the performance.

Tracking using the multilateration of several radio towers is based on the idea that a mobile phone is always in contact with a base tower. To me and you this is known as having a signal. If a phone has no signal then it has lost contact with its closest radio tower/ aerial/ antenna. The cell phone networks can use one or more of these towers to estimate the phone's location. If there were one tower, then the farther away the cell phone is then the weaker the signal it sends back (normally unless there is interference). Knowing this, if there are three or more aerials then the signal strength being received by each can be used to triangulate the cell phones location.

This technology does have sinister uses, however it is used every day by your network provider. As mentioned earlier it helps them to work out your phone bill if you are using your phone in places that they charge higher tariffs for (usually being abroad). It is also used to judge which antenna tower they should use to route your calls. The network provider will use your location and then route your calls and texts through the nearest tower to you. This means you will get the clearer phone calls and your texts will come through un-hindered.

Cellphone tracking has multiple uses, so why not find out more?


Phone tracking

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