GPS cell phones
Motivated by the events of 9/11 2001 and problems with 911 calls from cellular phones, the FCC requires that by the end of 2005 all cell phone carriers must be able to trace the location of cell phone calls to within a range of no more than 100 meters.
Cell phones are already available with GPS technology installed. These systems are not the same as the GPS devices used by hikers, mariners and drivers. Lower cost models do not allow the user to enter data such as mapping software. All systems require a wireless network.
Cell phones with GPS technology use AGPS (Assisted Global Positioning System). Assisted because the system uses both cell phone towers and satellites as location finders.
There are advantages and disadvantages in the new technology. The cost to implement the program will be passed on to consumers -– cell phones will cost more. Privacy is a real concern with the general public especially in this day of identity theft. It is a concern that unknown people will be able to access your location. Also there is a possibility that the spam you are flooded with on your home computer will now be sent to your cell phone.
Using GPS cell phones to track people has some great advantages. Locating kids and family can be a blessing. Remember though, if you try to locate someone who is out of your calling area, you will be charged extra.
The obvious benefit for the consumer is the issue of emergency aid and that was the catalyst for this whole idea of GPS cell phones. A 911 call that can be quickly located, emergency roadside assistance, locating persons missing in remote areas, the list goes on. If coverage is available then GPS cell phones save lives.Many carriers already have GPS cell phones available. You can buy the basic model for emergency tracking or you can pay for the technology that turns the cell phone into a sophisticated mapping, PDA system. Problems are still an issue with the advanced features. The more you use the advanced features, the greater the drain on the battery. Increasing battery size also increases the cell phone size and that is a problem for most consumers who want ever smaller, lighter devices to carry around. At this time Japan seems to have the edge on developing the high-end miniature GPS cell phone.
Sacrificing privacy for safety is the issue and I suspect that it would only take one positive outcome in an emergency situation to make the decision for you.
As the systems become more and more refined camera and PDA capabilities are being included into the phone itself. Developments in GPS cell phone technology are continuing. If programmers can solve the issues of privacy then the potential for GPS cell phones is incredible. It will no longer be an issue of "Can you hear me now?" Rather the question will be, "Can you find me now?"
Anne King is a sports and recreation writer in Boise, Idaho. For more information on GPS cell phones, visit Maps GPS Info.com which also provides practical information on GPS and maps that everyone can use. The website includes product reviews and a maps/GPS glossary.
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