[Fsf-friends] IITians Develop [GNU]Linux-Based Cell Phone Tracking Software

Frederick Noronha (FN) fred@bytesforall.org
Sun Jan 2 23:08:39 IST 2005


IITians Develop Linux-Based Cell Phone Tracking Software
By Julia Fernandes <mailto:juliafernandes at cxotoday.com>
Mumbai, Dec 31, 2004

Did you ever wish that you could track the location of a mobile user?
Well, this could very well be a reality largely thanks to the efforts of
three young Mumbai-based IITians, who have developed a Linux-based
software application that tracks the location of mobile phones.

Speaking to CXOtoday Nitin Seth, director of Mobiance Technologies,
said, "This software is an enhanced version of cell display info. A
customer can track a user by sending an SMS. The service provider will
then ask the tracked user permission via SMS. If the tracked user
consents, the customer is then flashed with the location details of the
tracked user. The accuracy can be within 10 to 100 metres"

"The software works on other network parameters such as orientation of
the sector antenna, broadcast signals of various stations. We are in the
process of procuring a GIS-based database," added Seth.

The tracked mobile user has three options and may give permission for
one-time usage or unlimited access. Though the third option allows the
tracked mobile user to deny access it will not be a permanent one. The
same service can also be accessed through the Internet.

Apart from parents who want to track the movements of their children,
the software also helps corporates to track their on-field employees.

Sharing the technical details, Nikhilesh Ghushe, CTO of Mobiance
Technologies said, "Developed on Fedora Core 2 approximately 10K lines
of codes were written. The entire development took around five months.
The SMS interface as well as the Web interface has been developed."

Revealing the inspiration behind the development, Ghushe recalled,
"Around a year back while working on a project campus, we wanted to
develop a GPS-based solution. But the cost factor proved a deterrent. It
was then that we decided to develop a cost-effective solution."

"Why is a mobile called a cell phone?" asked Ghushe. "Its because each
antenna has a cell. Cellid is a technology, which identifies which
antenna is seeing your mobile. We have named our technology enhanced
Cellid, because this technology has been optimized," asserted Ghushe.

Service provider Airtel provided a platform for the IIT trio to test
their software, which was demonstrated at the recently concluded Mood
Indigo festival on a sample crowd of 300 cell phone subscribers.

According to an Airtel spokesperson, "Depending on regulatory conditions
of the country we are ready to offer this service."

Mobiance Technologies that develops location-based services (LBS)
products for corporate and mobile network operators was launched three
months back by Seth, Ghushe and Mandeep Singh - CEO of Mobiance. All
three had passed out of IIT Bombay last year.

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