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#292685 - 07/04/19 07:19 PM Cell phone will (likely) not save you...
teacher Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/14/05
Posts: 780
One of the things that I have to tell folks going out on an adventure is that their phone may - or may not - help.

Because you need most of these things :
1. Is it on?
2. Do you have power?
3. Do you have coverage?
4. Do you know where you are?
5. is it dry/working/up to date?
6. Do you know how to access and use its features?

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#292688 - 07/04/19 09:38 PM Re: Cell phone will (likely) not save you... [Re: teacher]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6942
Loc: southern Cal
Cell phones are not a guaranteed item that will help you, or all the reasons mentioned, but my reading of SAR events, now as compared to the pre-SAR era, is that cells often initiate and facilitate rescue operations.

A call comes in from the victim(s) in the field, giving their location, or at least landmarks, and the situation. This is way better than the call we used to receive from someone who could only tell us that Joe was overdue and he went out hiking somewhere....

Most cells have GPS capability, and, if not, their approximate position can be roughly determined from the cell towers involved (so I am told - I know zilch about the technology involved).
_________________________
Geezer in Chief

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#292696 - 07/05/19 10:54 AM Re: Cell phone will (likely) not save you... [Re: teacher]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3161
Loc: USA
hikermor, all modern cellphones with GPS report their location regularly to the carrier. If there are no GPS coordinates for any reason (or if the carrier doesn’t have the data any more), most of the time the carriers can tell which cell tower the phone was connected to, reducing the area to search. The police can ask the carrier to “ping” a specific cellphone if they’re looking for someone, for the same sort of result, if the phone is turned on and in range of a tower. If more than one tower is in range, the “ping” can result in a much better location estimate.

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#292707 - 07/07/19 02:00 PM Re: Cell phone will (likely) not save you... [Re: teacher]
Montanero Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1509
Loc: North Carolina
Always use good planning and good sense in addition to high tech tools. Placing yourself in a position where you are completely dependent on 1 tool or devices never a good thing. Leave a plan of your trip with someone who will actually follow up when necessary. Think through your trip, know what is possible and be equipped properly. Knowledge, skill and good planning should never be replaced by devices.

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#292708 - 07/07/19 02:49 PM Re: Cell phone will (likely) not save you... [Re: chaosmagnet]
Russ Online   content
Geezer

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5169
Loc: SOCAL
Originally Posted By: chaosmagnet
hikermor, all modern cellphones with GPS report their location regularly to the carrier. If there are no GPS coordinates for any reason (or if the carrier doesn’t have the data any more), most of the time the carriers can tell which cell tower the phone was connected to, reducing the area to search. The police can ask the carrier to “ping” a specific cellphone if they’re looking for someone, for the same sort of result, if the phone is turned on and in range of a tower. If more than one tower is in range, the “ping” can result in a much better location estimate.

True, if that function is selected. I have location services disabled on my iPhone so the only time my GPS location would be sent is if I called 9-1-1 (E-911). Also true for my dumbphone — supposedly 4G-LTE, but with no additional apps available it’s dumber than my 2009 Blackberry and only sends loc data to 911. Pinging is another matter entirely; IMO James Kim’s tragic loss brought phone pinging the attention it deserved.

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#292710 - 07/07/19 05:32 PM Re: Cell phone will (likely) not save you... [Re: teacher]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3161
Loc: USA
You’re not entirely correct, Russ. You cannot turn location services all the way off for 911 or for carrier tracking on any smartphone, to the best of my knowledge. Turning it off keeps apps from having your location, not the carrier.

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#292713 - 07/07/19 06:37 PM Re: Cell phone will (likely) not save you... [Re: chaosmagnet]
Russ Online   content
Geezer

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5169
Loc: SOCAL
In the case of 9-1-1 you are correct, E-911 is always on, afaik there is no opt-out. As for the carrier getting a GPS location from the phone, anything is possible I suppose.

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#292716 - 07/07/19 10:31 PM Re: Cell phone will (likely) not save you... [Re: teacher]
teacher Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/14/05
Posts: 780
I am amazed at the number of people who go boating WITHOUT having a waterproof cell phone case.

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