Mobile Phione - location in emergency.

Submitted: Friday, Jan 02, 2009 at 11:02
ThreadID: 64725 Views:3194 Replies:6 FollowUps:6
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I have been told that a mobile telephone can be located in an emergency. (The debate arose from the story of the 2 kids that spent 3 days lost after trying to sneak into the music festival)

I f any one knows the answer to these questions I welcome your advice.

1. Can a mobile telephone that is turned off be located by the Police, emergency services, etc., if necessary?

2. Can a mobile telephone that has a flat battery be located by the Police, emergency services, etc., if necessary?

3. If out of range for mobile communications for say an 000 call, is anyone aware of a number that when dialled alerts "authorities" of an emergency and acts as a locater?
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Reply By: Member - Mike DID - Friday, Jan 02, 2009 at 11:34

Friday, Jan 02, 2009 at 11:34
Mobile Phone location (assuming it doesn't have a GPS built in ) works by measuring its distance from at least 3 base stations. It does this by measuring the time it takes a signal to travel base-mobile-base.

If it's only in range of 2 bases, they can only localise to two possible locations.

If it's only in range of one base station (remote area, deep valley), they can only determine that it's a certain distance from the base.

If the mobile is switched off then nothing happens.

I really have to wonder about this techology though, I was in a weak signal area 30km north of Sydney and it told me I was near Melbourne !!!!! That was using a Bluetick NextG phone.

And to save an obvious question - there is NO mobile phone that can send or receive to satellites, unless it is a satphone.
AnswerID: 342210

Follow Up By: Member - Littleborgy (SA) - Friday, Jan 02, 2009 at 17:31

Friday, Jan 02, 2009 at 17:31
"I really have to wonder about this techology though, I was in a weak signal area 30km north of Sydney and it told me I was near Melbourne !!!!!"

Same sort of thing has happened to me as well... I was driving behind the RAAF base Edinburgh (sp?) here in Adelaide, & my phone told me i was in bloody Darwin!! WTF??

Cheers, Brad
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Reply By: Member - Mike DID - Friday, Jan 02, 2009 at 11:39

Friday, Jan 02, 2009 at 11:39
If you're out of range for your network provider, the phone can put through emergency calls on any accessible network USING THE SAME BAND. e.g if you are on Vodaphone GSM and out of Vodaphone range, you can connect to Optus or Telstra towers for 000 or 112 calls, as they have GSM. It's technically impossible to connect to Telstra NextG-only base stations.

If you're out of range for 000/112, then you're out of range for anything.
AnswerID: 342211

Reply By: Thunderflash - Friday, Jan 02, 2009 at 11:41

Friday, Jan 02, 2009 at 11:41
Firstly a mobile phone that is switched off or has a flat battery cannot make calls (obviously) or be located by the phone providers as it needs power to poll an aerial. The other part of your question is correct, a mobile phone that is turned on can be tracked by the phone companies/police.

The way it works is that a mobile phone is constantly polling for the nearest phone tower/aerial thus is in communications with the phone provider nearly all the time. Even if your phone is not in range of your provider, it may be in range of another provider and will actually communicate with them (although you wont see that as you would not subscribe to that particular provider).

The fact that your mobile can communicate with any/all providers then allows any mobile phone to call 000 even if not in range with your provider. All mobile providers allow 000 calls from any mobile.

Hope that helps :)
AnswerID: 342212

Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Friday, Jan 02, 2009 at 11:48

Friday, Jan 02, 2009 at 11:48
1. No, phone needs to be on.

2. No, ditto

3. No such number. If you are out of range, that's it.

cheers

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AnswerID: 342214

Reply By: D200Dug- Friday, Jan 02, 2009 at 12:43

Friday, Jan 02, 2009 at 12:43
A little off topic but some time ago some lost bush walkers were located by sending photos of the surrounding hills to rescuers.

One of the locals who was familiar with the area could identify the hills from the photos and map a location for the lost walkers.

It saved a lot of time on a ground search.
AnswerID: 342221

Follow Up By: Warstar - Friday, Jan 02, 2009 at 13:25

Friday, Jan 02, 2009 at 13:25
Thanks for the info!! (I win the debate!)

By the way, what is the difference between 000 and 112??
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Follow Up By: Boobook2 - Friday, Jan 02, 2009 at 13:41

Friday, Jan 02, 2009 at 13:41
000 is the emergency number for Australia.

112 is the universal emergency number for GSM etc.

If you are in Australia and dial 112 it will go to 000. If you are in say the US it will go to 911.



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Follow Up By: equinox - Friday, Jan 02, 2009 at 13:51

Friday, Jan 02, 2009 at 13:51
LINK FOR D200Dug



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In whatever comes our way.

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Follow Up By: D200Dug- Friday, Jan 02, 2009 at 15:40

Friday, Jan 02, 2009 at 15:40
thank BooBook2 not me for the link I think :-)
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Follow Up By: Boobook2 - Saturday, Jan 03, 2009 at 08:24

Saturday, Jan 03, 2009 at 08:24
Nuh, the credit has to go to Equinox, nice info too. Most complete overview of the situation.
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Reply By: howesy - Friday, Jan 02, 2009 at 21:00

Friday, Jan 02, 2009 at 21:00
There are mobile phone detectors existing that will detect mobile phones that are switched off but the battery does need to be on the phone and they only have a very limited range (metres) The technology is cost prohibitive and totally unusable for search and rescue. It is more for scanning purposes in high security installations. Even the 'must be switched on" mobile phone detectors are worth a tidy sum really. Location over distance is as described in above replies by utilising the received signal through networks as the phone updates with towers.
Just a bit of trivia
AnswerID: 342315

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