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Can a smartphone be used as a tracking device?
Old 06-17-2015, 10:23 AM   #1
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Can a smartphone be used as a tracking device?

Here is a question for the tech savvy.

There are some neat tracking devices that one can stick in something like an RV. The hook is the monthly charges - usually $100 a year or more.

My question is whether one could hide a cheap smartphone (powered off the RV battery) and install a "find my phone" app to monitor its location.

What I don't know is if the hidden phone would be gobbling up data all the time or it could be set up to only use data when requested - enabling a super cheap prepaid plan.

Thoughts?
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Old 06-17-2015, 10:39 AM   #2
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https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...eTracker&hl=en

Like that?

A Spot satellite tracking device might be adapted to work and be cheaper. They run off lithium AA batteries, you'd have to resolve the power supply, but they are set up to track and send a map with a tacks and coordinates to emails or phones you set up on their account page.

http://findmespot.com/en/
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Old 06-17-2015, 11:09 AM   #3
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Back when our departed dad was starting to decline mentally, but still driving, we put in an inexpensive hidden gps tracking device call Drive OK, it installs under the dash, connects to the obd connection, antenna is a wire, can be hidden anywhere. Mo charge was under $10. The device was marketed for parents to track teenage drivers via gps, including speed . Dont know if it still is made or supported.

I think lo-jack, and others also has devices with web based real time tracking, don't know the cost

On the phone thing, my last employer (insert name of dysfunctional west coast city here) wanted to track us, they got sprint to set up a special system to do so on a specific piece-o-crap semi-smart phone (motorola admrial). The program became a complete flop, took up so much power , phones ran out of battery middle of the day, every day.
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Old 06-17-2015, 11:39 AM   #4
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How To Track Your Vehicle on the Cheap
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Old 06-17-2015, 12:32 PM   #5
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Why are you asking?
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Old 06-17-2015, 12:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by RonBoyd View Post
Why are you asking?
I'd like an inexpensive way to track my camper as I would hate to lose it, beyond the dollar value.
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Old 06-17-2015, 12:35 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies thus far.

Does anyone know the answer to this questions?

Quote:
What I don't know is if the hidden phone would be gobbling up data all the time or it could be set up to only use data when requested - enabling a super cheap prepaid plan.
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Old 06-17-2015, 12:35 PM   #8
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I'd like an inexpensive way to track my camper as I would hate to lose it, beyond the dollar value.
If you've reached the point where you forget where you parked it, maybe it's time you gave up camping...
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Old 06-17-2015, 12:39 PM   #9
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If you've reached the point where you forget where you parked it, maybe it's time you gave up camping...
No, I spool out a long piece of string when I roam. It is the thieves I worry about.
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Old 06-17-2015, 12:40 PM   #10
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I guess my curiosity was was tweeked by the terminology -- tracking vs locating.

Most GPS devices (including smart phones) can create GPX files that create "trails" readable by, for instance, Google Maps. This, of course, would not be useful for finding a "lost" vehicle.
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Old 06-17-2015, 12:42 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by RonBoyd View Post
I guess my curiosity was was tweeked by the terminology -- tracking vs locating.

Most GPS devices (including smart phones) can create GPX files that create "trails" readable by, for instance, Google Maps. This, of course, would not be useful for finding a "lost" vehicle.
What I'd like to be able to do is query the phone as to its GPS coordinates and have it respond with same.
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Old 06-17-2015, 12:43 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
This is along the lines of my thinking, but wonder if the advice is too old.
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Old 06-17-2015, 12:53 PM   #13
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This Google search may help a little:

GPS locating device
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Old 06-17-2015, 01:24 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonBoyd View Post
This Google search may help a little:

GPS locating device
Thanks, I've been there and done that.

Quote:
There are some neat tracking devices that one can stick in something like an RV. The hook is the monthly charges - usually $100 a year or more.
I'm trying to understand if using a cell phone to achieve the same thing would be impractical due to the data usage charges.

For example, I have a PagePlus plan that is only $40 a year on an inexpensive phone that I bought off eBay. If I could use something similar and it worked well, I'd be a happy camper.
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Old 06-17-2015, 02:45 PM   #15
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Low tech theft deterrent...
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Old 06-17-2015, 03:58 PM   #16
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If thieves hauled it to a location w/o cell service, no joy. Easy to do depending on what region you are in.
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Old 06-17-2015, 04:02 PM   #17
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If thieves hauled it to a location w/o cell service, no joy. Easy to do depending on what region you are in.
Or "block" the signal... easy to do from anywhere.

Of course, "It is not paranoia if they are really out to get you."
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Old 06-17-2015, 04:18 PM   #18
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You could use an Android phone with Cerberus on it. Cerberus has a neat feature where you can send a text message to the phone to get its location, so you don't need to have data running constantly.
https://www.cerberusapp.com/help.php

It also looks like Where's My Droid has a similar feature.
Where's My Droid - Features
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Old 06-17-2015, 04:25 PM   #19
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You could use an Android phone with Cerberus on it. Cerberus has a neat feature where you can send a text message to the phone to get its location, so you don't need to have data running constantly.
https://www.cerberusapp.com/help.php

It also looks like Where's My Droid has a similar feature.
Where's My Droid - Features
You might check on the add on on-star (you replace the rear view mirror) it provides the tracking, but can't disable the car. It costs about $375 plus $20 a month.
(On star fmv)
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Old 06-17-2015, 04:38 PM   #20
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How much is your camper worth ?
Folks can run up huge bills year after year having some monitoring thing going on, when the odds of something being stolen is small (just really lock it down to make it hard to steal).
Instead maybe you should over-insure it, or slap a really low deductible on it, with a high evaluation of it. Then you would profit when its stolen and get a nice new one.
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