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Where You Dey? by kehers(m): 6:48pm On Aug 21, 2008
I'm working on a new idea I call 'Where u dey?' and seeking views.

'Where u dey?' is a Nigeria 'places and people localization' initiative. This simply means that at any point in time, people can track their current location, places around them and as well broadcast this to subscribers of their presence. There are a lot of significance to this. You can let people know your current location, track location of friends or items, get to know places (that you may not be aware of) around you, discover people around you and many more.

The system rely on mobile phones, using a special application, to accomplish this. It simply works by using 3 network values in your current location to tag the location. These are the network code (mnc), the local area code (lac) and the cellid of the network tower (the so called mast) transmitting to your mobile phone. The network code is a fixed value that identifies the network you are using. The local area code and cellid however changes as you move from one point to another. While the local area code is the same within a local area (across tens of KMs), the cellid changes more often as you move from one point to another (within a short distance) - infact, you can get more than 5 different cellids in a stationary position. You can then identify this cellid(s) to your current location (called tagging), and with the 'autosync' feature on, notify subscribers to your presence - friends or social network, about your location at certain intervals or at change of cellid. This feature also helps you track your phone in case of misplacement or lost as long as the phone is still on and the app is still running and broadcasting.

By aggregating tagged locations and cellids from users, other features come in.
1. Places around me: By syncronizing your currently reported cellid/lac with tags of the same cellid/lac from other people, the system can notify you of places around you and in your local area.
2. People around me: You can as well easily get a list of people around you (with the same cellid as yours) or in your local area (with the same lac as yours).

I have spent the past few weeks researching into the whole idea and the pros and cons. The biggest challenge of it all is the support on the various phone OS. It is just of late that phone manufacturers found the need to grant apps access to these network values. In other words only newer phones support access to this network codes and even then, their implementation varies from phone to phone. Another thing is that while it is a nice idea for users to personally tag their location as the cellid changes, having the app automatically get the location by matching the cellid with a standard database from the network operator is a better idea. Meaning the app can automatically show you the name of your location. These will however require the operators releasing the db of their cellids and name/locations which I bet they won't want to. The work around to this however is that with time, we can build our own custom cellid names from users' tags - which in another way is better because of flexibility.

So what's next? Getting my butt down and developing the mobile app. I currently program mobile devices with java (J2ME) and will be bringing out the first release of the app (as will as with the Facebook app and source codes) for Sony Ericsson JP7 phones (K530, K550, K610, K790, K800, K810, S500, T650, W580, W610, W660, W710, W830, W850, W880 [my phone], Z310, Z610, Z710, K850, W910, Z750) - the phone series with the easiest support and which I can test well on for now. Motorola comes next, followed by either of some Samsung phones or new Nokia S60 (Symbian series 60) phones. Depending on response from people, I may go into native C++ coding for S40 and old S60 phones but that will mean getting new phones for tests. Blackberry and Smart phones that run on Windows Mobile will come far later. And iPhone and Google Android? A talk of another time.

To contribute to the initiative, simply post your ideas, suggestions and feedbacks as comments or drop me a mail via ray[AT]ngbot[DOt]com. Or better still a beep via +234 (0) 8066887840. Thanks wink
Re: Where You Dey? by idupaul: 6:52pm On Aug 21, 2008
tagging, hope to work on this with u, just give me some time to evaluate the concept
Re: Where You Dey? by yawatide(f): 7:41pm On Aug 21, 2008
I forget the company that did this in the US but it went very well. Many subscribed. I think it's a noble concept although I personally wouldn't sign up for it - privacy reasons. For instance:

- supposing I am with my guy somewhere enjoying the some quality time. My phone happens to be on and so I am broadcasting my presence. Do I really want my friend dropping in?

- call me naive, but in these kidnapping days, do i really want to let pple know of my location?

Again, noble concept, but given the "naija factor", if not already, I think you should think through this big time.

Re: Where You Dey? by kehers(m): 8:21pm On Aug 21, 2008
Looked into privacy issues.for 1,u can turn off ur visibility.in ds case ur presnc is not broadcasted but den d app is stil useful as u can gt to knw wen u are near tagged places or (request) places/visible people around u.
2. Cellids (which d system is based on) is only accurate to some meters (even few kms in some instance),so dat settles d kidnappg issue.
Was i convincg enough?
Re: Where You Dey? by yawatide(f): 8:29pm On Aug 21, 2008
yes u were. I am willing to help out wherever I can. Again, it's a noble cause. I just won't be signing up personally. I know having just said that, I sound like a hypocrite but I would rather speak my mind.

Once again, it's a noble concept and I look forward to seeing it work well within the Nigerian context.

Re: Where You Dey? by uspry1(f): 2:06am On Aug 22, 2008
Great idea but it was not new to me. Wish you the best luck!
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[*]Pocket Windows applications (embedded mobile browser)

[*] many possibilities beyond no man go before!!!!

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