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Improve iPhone/touch location mapping database iOS devices
The 'Find Me' location feature in Google Maps on the iPhone and iPod touch is great, but if you are in an area with wireless access points that have yet to be mapped by Skyhook (the company that provides the location-acces point data for Apple), your shown location will rely upon cellphone tower position alone and so be far less accurate.

Recently, Jazzdogg on the Australian MacTalk forum contacted Skyhook with regard to manually submitting the longitude/latitude of his own access point to improve the location feature. In response, Skyhook created a form that allows anyone to do exactly that. Whether to improve the accuracy of your iPhone's pseudo-GPS when at work or home, or to map out access points about town, you can now supplement Skyhook's database manually without having to wait for Skyhook to map your community. This is great for those of us outside of the US and UK where there is no access point-location data, or even those in less populated areas of the US and Europe where Skyhook have yet to map.

By using the iPhone app Stumbler to directly show the MAC addresses in your vicinity, you could even do this direct from your (jailbroken) iPhone or iPod touch.

Help improve the location feature for all iPhone and iPod touch users by submitting your own access point MAC address and location. Personally I feel the privacy issues are pretty minor, as my access point MAC address is already being freely broadcast, and thus simultaneously giving its general location -- but this may be something you need to consider before you submit your own. (As far as I can see though, there is no direct public exposure to the MAC-location data.)
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Improve iPhone/touch location mapping database
Authored by: kirsch on Apr 11, '08 08:07:20AM

This Skyhook tech is very cool. At first I thought it wouldn't be viable but it does work doggone well.

What Skyhook needs to do (perhaps they already do this) is to arrange with manufacturers that have devices with both WiFi and GPS or cell tower triangulation to consantly send updates to Skyhook so they can keep their database up to date or grow it.

For example, if an iPhone can't find the WiFi access point in Skyhook's DB but can calculate its position based on cell phone towers, it notifies the Skyhook server.

Next comes an iPod touch user (or a MacBook user?) and now they can find their location based on WiFi.

Everybody wins! I haven't seen any notes about them doing this but other than dealing with privacy issues (make sure they don't transmit more than they should) it seems like a win-win scenario.



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Improve iPhone/touch location mapping database
Authored by: jorn_k on Apr 11, '08 08:37:42AM
Navizon already does this

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Improve iPhone/touch location mapping database
Authored by: mal0rd on Apr 11, '08 09:53:36AM

I'm pretty sure they already do this. They certainly for the technology for it because whenever you check your location it sends information about all the detected access points and the cell tower information and lets the server decide the location.



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It does work
Authored by: drebes on Apr 11, '08 08:25:03AM

I submitted the information of my local wireless network on March 27th, and today I checked the feature with my iPod Touch once again and the location is now working. :)



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It does work
Authored by: chyna4xena on Aug 13, '08 05:20:37PM

Yeah, worked for me too - took about 10 days after submitting my info before it registered, but works like a dream on my iPod Touch now. I like how you can use the map on the submission page to place the marker pretty much exactly where in the building the access point resides; you don't need to know the longitude or latitude beforehand.



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Improve iPhone/touch location mapping database
Authored by: imcquill on Apr 11, '08 08:44:11AM

This is great for iPhone users, but for iPod touch users, it has its limitations. For one, even though the iPod can grab MAC addresses for nearby routers, it needs to actually be connected to the net in order to look up the location in Skyhooks database. What would be super cool, is if every time you had a connection, it automatically grabbed all the locations and MAC addresses for everything within a certain (for example 10 miles) radius of you, so that you could then keep track of where you are within that range without needing a connection. I doubt their database in a 10 mile radius would be that big..

Of course, this is complicated, because it would require skyhook to allow this, and then Apple to build it into their maps application.



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Improve iPhone/touch location mapping database
Authored by: mal0rd on Apr 11, '08 09:55:10AM

Skyhook's software can do this, but Apple decided to use the online mode only.



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Improve iPhone/touch location mapping database
Authored by: imcquill on Apr 11, '08 10:05:48AM

Interesting. No reason Apple could not just turn this on if they wanted to then.



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Improve iPhone/touch location mapping database
Authored by: rspress on Jul 24, '08 02:38:41AM

even with the version 2.0 update and submitting my routers MAC address to skyhook I still cannot find my location. In fact no matter where I have used the locate me button, even in skyhook mapped cities, it has never been able to locate me.

Does it matter if the router is using WEP or WPA or does it need to be wide open?



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Improve iPhone/touch location mapping database
Authored by: Nem on Aug 16, '08 08:34:09PM

Nope - WPA/WEP doesn't matter. However, your access point needs to be broadcasting it's SSID. Disabling SSID broadcasting does NOT increase your security - it's super easy to still figure it out. Make sure you are using WPA (not WEP - it's crap) and enable SSID broadcasting.

---
Nem W. Schlecht
http://geekmuse.net/



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