IITians Develop Linux-Based Cell Phone Tracking Software

by Julia Fernandes    Dec 30, 2004

Did you ever wish that you could track the location of a mobile user? Well, this could very well be a reality largely thanks to the efforts of three young Mumbai-based IITians, who have developed a Linux-based software application that tracks the location of mobile phones.

Speaking to CXOtoday Nitin Seth, director of Mobiance Technologies, said, “This software is an enhanced version of cell display info. A customer can track a user by sending an SMS. The service provider will then ask the tracked user permission via SMS. If the tracked user consents, the customer is then flashed with the location details of the tracked user. The accuracy can be within 10 to 100 metres”

“The software works on other network parameters such as orientation of the sector antenna, broadcast signals of various stations. We are in the process of procuring a GIS-based database,” added Seth.

The tracked mobile user has three options and may give permission for one-time usage or unlimited access. Though the third option allows the tracked mobile user to deny access it will not be a permanent one. The same service can also be accessed through the Internet.

Apart from parents who want to track the movements of their children, the software also helps corporates to track their on-field employees.

Sharing the technical details, Nikhilesh Ghushe, CTO of Mobiance Technologies said, “Developed on Fedora Core 2 approximately 10K lines of codes were written. The entire development took around five months. The SMS interface as well as the Web interface has been developed.”

Revealing the inspiration behind the development, Ghushe recalled, “Around a year back while working on a project campus, we wanted to develop a GPS-based solution. But the cost factor proved a deterrent. It was then that we decided to develop a cost-effective solution.”

“Why is a mobile called a cell phone?” asked Ghushe. “Its because each antenna has a cell. Cellid is a technology, which identifies which antenna is seeing your mobile. We have named our technology enhanced Cellid, because this technology has been optimized,” asserted Ghushe.

Service provider Airtel provided a platform for the IIT trio to test their software, which was demonstrated at the recently concluded Mood Indigo festival on a sample crowd of 300 cell phone subscribers.

According to an Airtel spokesperson, “Depending on regulatory conditions of the country we are ready to offer this service.”

Mobiance Technologies that develops location-based services (LBS) products for corporate and mobile network operators was launched three months back by Seth, Ghushe and Mandeep Singh - CEO of Mobiance. All three had passed out of IIT Bombay last year.