cellspotting – what a wonderful idea

cellspotting.bmp

This may be the only ‘workable’ location based service I have seen.

Its simple and organic

Saw it on Paul Golding’s weblog HERE

from cellspotting.comThis is what you can use it for:

- Find the name and location information about a place you are at.

- Track your Cellspotting friends, You can find the whereabout of your Cellspotting friends.

- Find the distance and direction to spotted cells!

How do I use it:

Download the Cellspotting Client into your cellphone, (currently Nokia Series60, see Software section). Run the Cellspotting client, select the “Go Cellspotting” menu choice and it will connect to and query the CellSpotting Database. Hopefully the cell is already known and you can get some useful information back. The connection can be dial up or preferably gprs. If you stumble across an unknown cell you become a cell “Discoverer” and can help give additional information about the location!. This way you can help other CellSpotting users when they come to your home town!

and ..

How CellSpotting works:

First some mobile network basics.

A mobile phone is a radio device, when turned on, it is in contact with a “cell”. A cell is the smallest geographic area covered by a base station in the mobile network. The size of a cell can be from 100 meters in urban areas up to a few kilometers in rural areas. Each cell can be identified by a number, the “cellid”. Cells are also grouped into areas and the cells and areas are operated by a Mobile Operator. The cellid,area and operator is known by the mobile phone, and can be read using special applications from many mobile phones. The idea with CellSpotting.com is to read the Cellid information from the phone, use it as a “key” to look up the geographic location of the phone. If the cell is not known to the CellSpotting server then the user can assist, and help to provide with geographic information, it can can be a street address or some other information regarding the location of the cell. Is the cellid really unique, what about areas and operators? True, the Cellid is a number and is only unique within an Area, but together with the areaid and the network code, they form a 3 part key and can uniquely identify the cell.