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Just how accurate is cell phone location tracking?

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posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 09:24 PM
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It is a bit more accurate than I thought.



My location is the blue dot.

I was able to get this location from the application "Line," which is a chat service that offers the option to share your location. This is my current location. Notice that there are outlines of buildings, so you can see which building I am in - and which part of the building I am in. I'm glad I was able to find something worth sharing with the community.

I'm sure that law enforcement has access to this kind of technology, and if they wanted to, they could track your movements in real-time. In this case, they would know that I was in my apartment. If I went to visit the apartment across the hall, they would know that, too.
edit on 28pmSun, 28 Sep 2014 21:24:51 -0500kbpmkAmerica/Chicago by darkbake because: (no reason given)




posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 09:27 PM
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a reply to: darkbake Anything but smart phones is the way I live.



posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 09:27 PM
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i'd say it is rather accurate. there is even a cellphone game Ingress that is reliant on accurate locations around the world to play.



posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 09:33 PM
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originally posted by: scubagravy
a reply to: darkbake Anything but smart phones is the way I live.



Not sure how it is in your country but here in the states its the law all phones smart or not have gps chips installed, since the US is likely the largest customer of phones I doubt they make them different for everyone. But they could be turned off with software and back on by the right agency. If you know what I mean.



posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 09:37 PM
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a reply to: MarlinGrace im in Australia, and I still use as a nokia that's about 12 years old, it messages, it calls, stopwatch, camera (which I don't use). I'm also not involved with facebook or instagram or any other crap, and im quite happy bout it.



posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 09:37 PM
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a reply to: darkbake

They can't know what floor your on so you have some wiggle room



posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 09:39 PM
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a reply to: darkbake

I know as a 911 operator/dispatcher, when someone with cell phone calls in We can get it down to about 3-9 yards (take less than 30 seconds most of the time) If requested for law enforcement (has to be exigent circumstances or be warranted by a judge) purposes we just call the phone company and they will "ping" a number for us. Accuracy depends on the phone, but usually can narrow it down to a specific house. Calling the phone carrier usually takes a few minutes, but never has it taken longer than 5 minutes.

here is some interesting reading from a Dispatchers guide to location services.

ANI/ALI location services technology



posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 09:42 PM
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Having worked in telecom for many years, I can tell you with absolute certainty that I can find you, right down the actual GPS coordinates, anywhere you have cell phone coverage or access to internet.

Wifi is a little less reliable for location based activities, but cell towers are not.

As stated above, accurate within a few yards.

~Tenth



posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 09:43 PM
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When the phone is turned off, can it still be tracked?



posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 09:44 PM
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a reply to: minkmouse

Not true location data form cell phones includes Elevation data, all you have to do is subtract the elevation at that geographical location from the actual elevation of the device.

In other words if you know through mapping services that the approx elevation that the building sits at is 5000 feet and the phone is sending an elevation of 5010-5020 feet, then you know the person you are looking for is most likely on the second floor.



posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 09:45 PM
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originally posted by: Tusks
When the phone is turned off, can it still be tracked?


Yes.

Without physically removing the source of power from the contacts, your phone is always technically 'on'. Pull your battery, then you're good.

As long as the current flows then the device can be accessed through a number of means.

~Tenth



posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 09:47 PM
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a reply to: darkbake

It is pretty accurate, I'd say in my area it's within 10 yards of actual spot. I have had to use the find my iPhone app and where it showed it on the map was pretty close to where I found it. It certainly got me to the right area.



posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 09:48 PM
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a reply to: Tusks

It can be tracked as long as the battery is still in it. Most of the time though if the phone has a battery is still in the phone but the phone is off/or in standby then they can only get WPH1 location meaning they could only triangulate using the towers and not the GPS data on the phone (most phones turn location services in standby to save battery power). Triagulating usually results in an accuracy of 200-500 yards at best. Some times worse depending on the number of towers in the area. The more towers the more accurate the triangulation...The fewer towers the less accurate.



posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 09:51 PM
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originally posted by: AprilFooseball
a reply to: Tusks

It can be tracked as long as the battery is still in it. Most of the time though if the phone has a battery is still in the phone but the phone is off/or in standby then they can only get WPH1 location meaning they could only triangulate using the towers and not the GPS data on the phone (most phones turn location services in standby to save battery power). Triagulating usually results in an accuracy of 200-500 yards at best. Some times worse depending on the number of towers in the area. The more towers the more accurate the triangulation...The fewer towers the less accurate.


That's only if you believe the major manufacturers/software devs about how their devices operate in stand by mode. I've seen quite a few Android devices keep location services active when in standby for the specific purpose of being able to locate it if lost and turned off.

I know Iphone location services are ALWAYS one due to the Find My Iphone app.

~Tenth



posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 09:53 PM
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a reply to: tothetenthpower

Very true nice catch on my oversight!



posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 09:56 PM
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originally posted by: AprilFooseball
a reply to: tothetenthpower

Very true nice catch on my oversight!


I only mentioned it because the FBI director came out in force against Apple and other manufacturers for having OS's that are 'too encrypted' like there was such a thing.

He says it could hamper terrorism investigation. IMO this is a dog and pony show. Pretty sure Apple and Google have been playing ball with the NSA and other 3 letter agencies for years, and they've just concocted this story to make themselves all look good.

Anyway, sorry for the OT, but it was an interesting read.

~Tenth



posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 10:28 PM
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a reply to: AprilFooseball

Gurgle, gurgle, gurgle....The sound of my galaxy s4 going down the toilet.



posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 10:33 PM
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a reply to: tothetenthpower

I've heard that even that doesn't work -- as there is a tiny backup power source that keeps the clock/settings for you in case you need to swap batteries.

Payphones are like unicorns these days...



posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 10:41 PM
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originally posted by: tothetenthpower

originally posted by: Tusks
When the phone is turned off, can it still be tracked?


Yes.

Without physically removing the source of power from the contacts, your phone is always technically 'on'. Pull your battery, then you're good.

As long as the current flows then the device can be accessed through a number of means.

~Tenth


Then a small Faraday bag might be a simpler means of cloaking phone from GPS than removing battery.



posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 11:07 PM
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originally posted by: darkbake
It is a bit more accurate than I thought.


Depending on who's looking for you, you can get that down fairly tight - less than 10 feet for current phones, down to a foot or two if they want to push the issue.

Every part of the system knows some part of it - the cell towers use triangulation to put you within a few hundred feet, the GPS part in the phone narrows that down to maybe 10 feet, and then the phone can triangulate itself to any wifi nodes in the area. There are vehicles that drive around mapping out wifi router locations, which in itself is pretty damned creepy, but there you go. Between all of them, in a wifi infested area you can locate the phone to a room in a building.

Then, of course, they can get a GPS correction from a nearby high-accuracy receiver and fix your location to a corner of the room, if they really want to find an exact location. Upcoming phone GPS chips will place you to within a few inches using multiple signal sources.
edit on 28-9-2014 by Bedlam because: (no reason given)



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