GeoContact - we look who where

    We often want to know where other people are. So, going to a meeting, friends want to find out who is already in place, and who else is at home or on the road. Parents want to know where their children are now, whether they have already returned from school. Organizations want to know where their employees are and where the shipped goods are. GeoContact is a new service that will answer the question “Where?”.

    How it works

    The location of users is determined based on the position of their cell phone in relation to the base stations of mobile operators.

    On the phone, the location is displayed as an approximate address. The site location can be viewed directly on the map. The average accuracy in the city is about 500 meters. The distance to the user and the nearest metro are also available when viewing from the site.

    To work with GeoContact after registration, we create a group to which we invite people whose location we want to know. All members of the group install a small program on their phones. The program determines the location of the phone and periodically sends this data to GeoContact. From this moment, all members of the group can find out the location of each other, both from their phones and on the site.

    Currently, the service is more used to determine the coordinates of other people, and to a lesser extent - for personal navigation.

    Distinctive features

    • Using GeoContact is free. To date, either GPS or the services of mobile operators are used to determine the location of other people. Both that and another demands certain expenses.
    • The accuracy of the location is comparable to the accuracy that mobile operators provide in a similar service. To determine the location, the program compiles a statistical portrait of signals from nearby GSM stations. This data is transmitted to the server, where the user's location is calculated. In the future, accuracy will be increased by another 2-3 times due to special statistical signal analysis algorithms.
    • Unlike navigation using GPS or WiFi, special modules in the phone are not required to work with GeoContact. In addition, navigation on base stations practically does not increase the battery drain of the phone. Therefore, positioning can be enabled continuously. Using GPS and WiFi quickly drains the battery.
    • Positioning works both inside buildings and outside the city.
    • Users can name their locations, which other users can see later. It is noteworthy that this function can be used generally wherever there is a cellular connection.
    The closest foreign counterpart is Loopt . This service was developed with the support of the famous incubator YCombinator. Recently, the service received a good investment and is actively developing in the United States. In Europe, such projects are unknown to us.

    In Russia, the closest analogue is Wi2Geo. They also just recently started and are still in test mode. This service puts WiFi navigation at the forefront. This is a completely different paradigm. We believe that the niches of Wi2Geo and GeoContact will almost never intersect in real life.

    Current project readiness

    Now the service is in test mode. Registration is open.
    So far, only NOKIA phones with Symbian S60 3rd are supported.

    At the moment, location determination with a map display works for almost the entire central part of Russia. In other regions, users can place tags with place names and navigate them.


    In the near future it is planned:
    • Expanding the number of supported phones. Communicators based on Windows Mobile will soon be supported.
    • Open API
    Then we will increase the accuracy of determining the location, expand the coverage area and add new services.

    We will be glad to hear from the respected habrasociety general impressions and wishes for development. Reasoned criticism is welcome.

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