Where are You? A Location tracking experiment.

ok so the experiment was interesting. For those of you not paying attention I’ve
been running an app on my phone – Nokia N82 – that uploads the phones gps position to
a third party every minute or so which I can stick on a google map and then
display on here. In other words anyone that fancies it can comes here and view a
map with a little person drawn on it that represents me live right now! Cool eh?

I don’t know why but I was surprised at it’s accuracy and how well it all just
worked, when the phone has a decent GPS signal the map on this website nails me
down to the meter, and I suppose why wouldn’t it. Now, I kicked this off for a
number of reasons, mainly becuase it’s geeky and I like the fact that the
technology to do this is all pretty much free and well, it’s there to be done. I
was also interested in the social side of it..

How many times would I turn it off to appear to be somewhere else? Would I act
differently because I knew people could see where I was? Would other people act
differently becuase they could see where I was.. would I even know? In short,
would the indisputable truth about my whereabouts change anything.. can society
survive without the white-lie ..

“I’m on the train!” when you’re walking to the station, “I haven’t been to the
pub all week!” when you’re there right now?

As it turns out it made little difference to me, I just got on with living the
life of Paul Fletcher as I’ve become pretty accustomed to doing but the reaction
it had with other people was .. interesting!

To start with I’d regularly get texts, in some cases from people I didn’t think
still read the blog, things like “You’re on the Kings Road!” when I was driving
home or “fetch me two slices of toast” when I’d gone to the canteen at work.
Novelty value perhaps but still..

I left work early to go into HQ and ended up meeting my boss somewhere else as
he phoned whilst I was en route. During the meeting I had one text and a
suspicious phonecall from two collegues “what are you doing at Bank you said you
were going to Waterloo!” Guilty till proven innocent!

The other thing of course is that when the phone can’t pick up a GPS signal, it
resorts to Assisted GPS which uses the strength of all the telco cells to
triangulate your position roughly. This often results in pinpointing me looking
like I’m on a housing estate 3/4 of a mile to the east of my work building when
actually, I’m sat at my desk! Could be interesting if anyones keeping an eye on
me and using the map as the truth for where I am.

Anyhow, the experiment is still running over at /findfletch and I’m intending to
incorporate it properly along with the new gallery and twitter
during the next update…until then, bear in mind there
are bugs to be ironed out and of course.. keep up with the texts… I know you’re
watching.

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