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DIY GPS tracking with “disposable” phones – Mod a GPS enabled Nextel and fauxjack yourself…or your car, or your kid, or a big dog, or an elephant. We really, really want to track an elephant. Mologogo is a free service that will track a “friends” GPS enabled cell phone from another phone(gps not required) or on the web. It currently works on pretty much any Nextel phone with Java and GPS – even a $60 no-contract Boost Mobile phone. Link. My dog might be getting another GPS.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. dgjiv says:

    This sounds like just the app I’ve been looking for, but how do I install it to my phone? I have an i830 that is gps capable.

  2. NessieVL says:

    I don’t think this is really GPS. GPS requires a satellite. I think this is just triangulation from the cell towers. Cell carriers have been required for a few years now to have such a service available for law enforcement, and now it looks like it’s here for the public too.

  3. philliptorrone says:

    pretty sure it’s both – gps and cell tower.

  4. spy1325 says:

    do you have to pay and have a current service plan. or can you just buy a phone. and use it as a GPS device? And the software enables you to view where you are on the phone?

  5. spy1325 says:

    also – Does anyone have a link to the 60 dollar boost mobile phone. i cant find it for the life of me on their site!

  6. adam12hey says:

    To install on an 830 you need a data cable and a program to do the ‘loading’ of the software on your phone. MyJal is one version of a program which can be found by searching the web. Once you have those two components, you will be able to run the program as a Java application on the phone.

  7. digitalFX says:

    No, most nextel phones have gps enabled. The phone receives gps from the satalites and then transmits it’s location via another method. It IS gps.

  8. thecapitalizt says:

    No, it really does have a GPS chip in it. Plug a serial cable in and you can suck out NEMA coordinates. Awesome for what it is.

  9. Myself248 says:

    NEMA is the National Electronics Manufacturers’ Association, the group that defines (among other things) levels of waterproofness for conduit fittings and wiring boxes.

    NMEA is the National Marine Electronics Association, who many years ago defined a set of signals and messages for marine instrumentation, including anemometers, automatic chartplotters, and satellite navigation receivers. NMEA 0183 is that standard.

    Concievably, you could have a device which adheres to both NEMA 6 and NMEA 0183. Actually, I think that describes my eTrex.

    As for the phones: The reason you get GPS lock so quickly (which might make you think it’s fake) is that the tower gives the phone a breath-of-life packet, containing the current satellite almanac and possibly even the position of the PRN sequences, so the GPS chip can achieve lock almost instantly.

    You can test this by taking the phone to an area with no Nextel towers (Montana and Mississippi work well) and telling it to acquire a GPS fix. It’ll take much longer (30-50 seconds typically), just like your Garmin, because it’s not getting help from a tower. But even in the complete absence of towers and service, the phone’s GPS chip does work just fine, and will happily feed NMEA 0183 data over the serial cable for your laptop’s mapping software.

  10. n3ldan says:

    what is the $60 no contract boost mobile phone? the cheapest I see is the i415, and its $80

  11. mranderso says:

    i see $60 phones at n1prepaid.com.

    never dealt with them, so can’t say anything +/- about them.

  12. NextLevel says:

    Philly Mobile Has Myjal, Webjal, and instructions on how to install and use them! Along with Free Ringtones, Games, Unlocking, and Wallpapers.

    $60 Boost phones can be picked up at almost any cell store that carrier boost. You will get a sim card and around $10 in minutes.

  13. evejen01 says:

    hello everyone. Hope this site has some cool stuff

  14. GPSGuru says:

    Great free application that is perfect for families and friends. The Sprint data plan is very reasonable at only $10 for unlimited data use. However, the product does offer extremely limited features (tracking only) and will not be ideal for business use. For more GPS products and reviews please check out:
    http://www.tracelogic.net
    http://gpswireless.blogspot.com

  15. GPSGuru says:

    Answer to a question below:

    “I don’t think this is really GPS.”

    The Mologogo, like many other Sprint (Nextel) GPS applications definitely use GPS. Most state AGPS which uses cell towers to give a general location in the network and search for the closest satellites in orbit (helps speed up the GPS signal). The location is stored in the phone (JAVA app) and transmited to the GPS service provider through packet data.

    http://www.tracelogic.net

  16. Marcs says:

    Check out Navizon. It looks like they have the exact same feature, only that it works with all carriers and with all phones as long as you have Windows Mobile running on it.

  17. Marcs says:

    Check out Navizon. It looks like they have the exact same feature, only that it works with all carriers and with all phones as long as you have Windows Mobile running on it.

  18. dem0sthenes says:

    does anyone know if this gps system will allow for reading/tracking of altitude as well? im building a homemade near-space contraption and i want to know how high it goes, and then be able to find it when it comes back down. id like to know if this would be appropriate for pinpointing exactly where it lands. any other ideas for solutions would be appreciated.

  19. pvlman says:

    last month I purchased an alltel prepay. The Nokia phone provided does have GPS. According to the manual the GPS unit is activate only when an emergency call is placed. Something to keep in mind when macking hacking attempts. Of course YMMV.

  20. penmaster says:

    Check out GPS tracking at Global Tracking Communications. They offer real-time GPS vehicle tracking systems with similar features.

  21. justsaynotobillgates says:

    A true cell tower assited GPS Tracking Device Should be covert and have a long battery lifer like the one made by LightningGPS.com Tracking

  22. OilandGas says:

    I am headed to China next month into the Tongren Region with many mountains and unexplored terrain. Does anyone have an idea of which GPS device would be best to use for that region?

    Thank you

  23. omniangel says:

    I have installed the mologogo ware on my phone cingular 3125 smartphone. I can get the program to run. I’m just having trouble with my location/tracking. still says I’m at the default location. Does anyone know which com port, baud rate for my phone? help would be MUCH appreciated!!!!!!

  24. omniangel says:

    I have installed the mologogo ware on my phone cingular 3125 smartphone. I can get the program to run. I’m just having trouble with my location/tracking. still says I’m at the default location. Does anyone know which com port, baud rate for my phone? help would be MUCH appreciated!!!!!!

  25. najaspeed says:

    http://www.connect2car.com is also using the nextel phones for tracking as well as hardware control of vehicle. They even have a phone interface for remote control/track of the vehicle

  26. agbt782068 says:

    how do you keep the phone charged?

  27. phoner says:

    what are you talking about with sprint and a $10 data plan. It’s $59.99 Unlimited.

  28. Paulo says:

    I´m using mologogo. It´s avery powerfull tool and free. It´s the best GPS Tracking apllication that I use, because you don´t have to buy and expensive hardware in order to work.

  29. ameautosales says:

    I’ve been using Mologogo successfully until a couple of weeks ago I started getting ‘sattelite datat outdated’ messages. What’s with that? It quit working and I can’t figure it out.
    What gives?

  30. lparker says:

    another service is iTag.com

    http://www.itag.com

  31. Chris says:

    http://www.transportlines.com – Allows multiple devices under 1 account

  32. pitt says:

    I bought a GPS Tracker on nowsupplier.com last month. It work perfectely with my Iphone 4. You can learn how to install GPS Tracker into your phone on http://bit.ly/9CkzIk

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