Here’s My GPS is a location-tracking Cloud-based system of web & mobile Apps for iOS & Android. Track family members, pets, objects, smart watches, smart wearables, cars, fleets, buses – any person or object. Track the geolocation and even satellite view of any person or any object that is part of the system and has been added to the App (Web or Mobile) under any Map.
The Here’s My GPS mobile application and companion search website function like a two- way GPS Walkie-Talkie crossed with a homing beacon.
Here’s My GPS is an easy-to-use but versatile app that can be helpful for anything from family and friends’ location-sharing to search-and-rescue operations. It breaks down live Google Map pages into individual map web sites, called Map Channels, that can be individually named and password-protected. Live maps can be private and protected with layers of security, or public and completely open for anyone to join.
Use the HMGPS user-friendly app for constant tracking and generating custom maps, but share maps across all platforms to desktops, all brands of smart phone and even internet-connected e-readers. No download or software is required.
HMGPS’ inventor answered a call on his cell phone from an unknown number. He didn’t know the identity of the crying, hysterical child. All he could make out was a panicked “I don’t know where I am, they won't let me out, we’re moving!”
HMGPS was created by an officer in the US Air Force Civil Air Patrol in response to this real-life urgent situation. When the child was not able to provide a location, it became apparent quickly that it is very difficult to share your location if you do not know the address or if you are in motion.
Most family tracking applications are time-consuming to set up, requiring tedious Join Request emails to be sent back and forth to all participants. Maps in other systems almost always need to be shared with a link which means you have to share at least your email or cell phone number with all participants. Usually you remain permanently "Friended" with everyone on your map. This is fine for family and friends, but is more problematic when sharing your location with a tow truck driver or delivery person. With large groups, it's a logistical nightmare. HMGPS doesn't require you to send a link to join, so you can remain anonymous if you wish.
Long links are hard to remember so we just let you "Name" your maps something easy to remember so you can share them verbally without shareing a link.
Some Companies spend a lot of money to have custom map programs. We decided to stick with the Classics (like Google Maps) that work on all devices.
How do you protect a WiFI Hotspsot ? Assign a password. Password protecting live maps makes sharing and joining a breeze
Now that Creating, Naming and Joining live maps is easy you're are probably going to want more than just one. We make adding new maps easy too
What is Here’s My GPS (HMGPS)?
HMGPS is a mobile application and a companion search website. It functions like a GPS Walkie Talkie crossed with a homing beacon by creating live Map Channels that you name. Anyone can view or join using either the mobile app or any device that can access the internet and view websites. You have the option of password-protecting your private channels or creating public open channels that anyone can join.
Does HMGPS need a cellular connection to function?
HMGPS can use any internet connection to fully function, including WiFi, Bluetooth, and Sonnet. This also allows the system to work with tablet computers, Chrome books, laptops, and even desktops with no cellular connection required.
Does HMGPS use the same system as 911?
HMGPS can use the same technology as 911, but also uses additional navigation sources when possible. Unlike 911 emergency services, HMGPS does not “need” a Cellular connection to return coordinates and to fix a location and does not need to have a cellular radio embedded in the system or be hard wired like a land line. Currently, any device that can run Android applications or access a web browser can run HMGPS, even some E-readers and cameras.
What functions can you control from the Map Page?
There are over 30 controls, indicators and icons on the map page. Click on the link below for a full set of descriptions. https://www.dropbox.com/s/8zu86egmz6hx1s6/Mobile%20App%20Map%20Controls%20Legend.pdf?dl=0
Why isn’t 911 technology alone good enough for HMGPS?
911 emergency services were developed before smart phones embedded with GPS existed. Therefore, the emergency system that has served landlines well for decades still is used to attempt to locate all calls from mobile phones, with less than stellar results. For landlines, 911 finds a location using registered landline addresses along with VOI (Voice over Internet phone like Vonage / MagicJack). For mobile devices, 911 relies mainly on cell tower triangulation. That means your phone must be in contact with THREE cell towers to fix your location within 1000 feet. If you are in the country or on open highway and are in contact with only one cell tower, then 911 services usually can place your location within 1 – 2 miles.
There is a bit of a dirty secret concerning 911 Emergency services. The system only returns an accurate location for cell phones about 50% of the time. It usually does not return an accurate location if the call originates from inside a structure. This is the reason any 911 operator first asks a caller to state their name and location. Check out this USA Today national investigation 911’s Deadly Flaw: Lack of Location Data https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/02/22/cellphone-911-lack-location-data/23570499/
Does this work with other walkie talkies or two-way
Beartooth only works with other Beartooth devices. While we could have designed Beartooth to be compatible with other two-way radios, this wouldhave increased cost, increased interface complexity, and decreased battery life. With this inmind, we determined that not being compatible with legacy radios makes for a better overallexperience.
What is a Station ID
It is a map channel that is assigned to a particular device. The device that is assigned Map Channel is typically the administrator of the channel and can decide who can be ejected or blocked. That station also can manage Clues.
How do you share a Map Channel?
Channels can be searched for at the website or on the app by typing the name into the search field, making it easy to share a channel by writing it down or just telling it to someone. Maps also can be shared using traditional links but you cannot send a link to a two-way radio or landline, which is why verbal sharing is important. With HMGPS if you can share a live map without a link just by saying, “Go to 911GPS.org and search for map channel Miranda.”
What the Quickshare button?
This is the quickest way to share your location. If you press the Quickshare button your app will immediately place you on one of your default map channels and start a 5 hour timer. A pop up will appear on your screen and tell you the name of the live your live channel and tell you how to share it verbally. If you do nothing then with in 5 seconds the HMGPS app will decide you need some help and open your default shariring options. Text, Email or what every you normally use. The HMGPS system will write a text for you and include the name of your live channel and a link to the HMGPS website and to the specific map URL you are currently on. You just address the text, char or email normally and hit send. The person that received the text will be able to instantly see you. Depending on the browser they are using you may be able to see them to. The person receiving the text does NOT need to have the app installed or download anything to view your location. If they can open a website they can view your live location. When your timer runs out you’re app will turn off and your location will be hidden.
What is the timer?
The timer gives you a way to share your location to a public channel but have the HMGPS system automatically disconnect you after a set period of time. Bu default the timer would be set to 5 hours but you can set it to as little at 15 minutes. You can also set the timer to 24/7 and it will track your position 24 hour per day and 7 days per week. This tends to be the default for users using HMGPS as a Family tracker. Business uses would typically use the timer to limit your exposure. You can always immediately exit any map or simply change your channel.
How are Maps Protected?radios?
Maps can be completely open like a radio channel that anyone can tune to. Maps also can be protected in layers. Maps can be assigned passwords, require approval of each person who joins, or accessible only by links with random numbers as an ID. A timer also can be started to automatically disconnect you from all maps.
What special downloads do you need to have to use HMGPS?
HMGPS is not dependent on any particular browser, device, or operating system and does not require setting up any permissions in advance. You do not need to use any particular system to view maps. You can use a mobile phone, tablet, laptop, desktop or even a Kindle e-reader. As long as the device can view a web page, you can view maps with it using HMGPS and the live location of the participants of the maps. Users do not need to have an account with iCloud, Google, Facebook, Facetim or any other service to view maps. You don’t even need a HMGPS account. You only need the app to create and name a permanent map but you do not need the app to view HMGPS maps. Anyone can view HMGPS maps from any internet connected device anywhere on the planet. In fact if you could access the Internet from the International Station you could view HMGSP maps so it actually works off planet as well
Is there a MAYDAY button that alerts anyone near you that your are in trouble?
No. Several other systems have that functionality and we can certainly develop it but that opens several security concerns that I don’t really know how to deal with. We will look at user suggestions before we design that functionality and see how other systems have dealt with those concerns to make sure we take into account all privacy issues.
Can you use HMGPS in different agencies?
It appears that the common denominator of all government agencies has become the smart phone. If the one radio system does not talk to the other radio system people call, text or email each other. A main goal of HMGPS was interagency operability. In many government agencies like Police and Fire Departments, use of different frequencies makes interagency communications difficult. HMGPS uses the lowest common denominator to join different groups or even private individuals together. HMGPS assumes all participants will have access to either a cell phone or a smart device that can view a website. If a Police officer had only his two way radio and his laptop in his car, he would still be able to join a HMGPS map and at least view the location of someone that is in trouble. Dispatchers that have access to the internet can also view HMGPS maps and see both victims and responders on the same screen
What is Map History and Clues?
HMGPS allows any user to mark a map location with optional pictures and notes. A simple long press on the screen drops a pin that everyone can see. The system also stores 24 hours of location history for each user, which can be displayed if the a user goes missing.
Can you upload and download data to HMGPS?
Data (Location Information on devices) can be uploaded and downloaded in CSV form via a open SDK. The one thing all systems that deal with mutable data points have in common is a database. The simplest database that is the common denominator between all data intensive systems is the CSV file (Comma Separate Values). HMGPS accepts data from CSV files and load those data points to our maps. So we can plot places, phones, or objects’ coordinates that have been captured by other systems like GoTenna, Beartooth, Sonnet, Tile, or even Google Maps as long as they can be downloaded to a CSV file. I have been in discussions with GoTenna, Beartooth and Sonnet about interacting with their devices using a SDK. We have written our own test programs that allows us to upload information from Bluetooth devices. Please see sample of text app data CSV download below: https://www.dropbox.com/s/43e2euw74rr7az4/c49e6ba3-e879-40d9-8fba-0fe2cf5981a4.csv?dl=0
Can HMGPS communicate Peer to Peer with no internet connection?
HMGPS needs at least a minimal internet connection, but can use other systems like GoTenna, Beartooth, Sonnet, Bluetooth, and WiFi Direct to allow HMGPS to function like a two-way radio. We will be able to also allow for the companies mentioned above to transmit their position to our servers, giving them a global reach. We can’t wait for our SDK to talk to their SDKs!
Is HMGPS open to developers?
HMGPS’ openness makes for unmatched flexibility. We will produce an open SDK for developers to write their own programs to plot data to HMGPS maps, and retrieve data from HMGPS maps to use in their own systems. With HMGPS, you can use one system for mutable location based services. You can easily switch form tracking the pizza guy to tracking your dog. The innate ability to search for, create and change channels quickly and easily makes HMGPS adaptable to many different situations and uses. While designed for search and rescue, the system can easily be used in a number of common location services. In many situations, the user can use the phone they already have without having to buy expensive equipment. Cheap and even reused android devices can host the HMGPS mobile application to provide (always on) tracking and homing devices in a variety of situations.
What are some uses for the HMGPS system?
The same basic system can be used for all of the following services with each different function simply being on a different map or all combined on one map. • Locate a car’s parking spot • Review the last 24 hours’ locations of any participant on a map • Find a lost phone • Show last known location of a device after its battery goes dead • Mark and remember a favorite park bench or shelter to find later • Quickly share a location with anyone verbally by directing them to the website or by sending a link using text or email, with no app needed to view • Track friends and family • Provide group tracking for everyone on the ski slopes, caravanning to the beach, or tailgating at a football game. • Allow password-protected maps to be viewed by any device or projected onto a big screen • Create an unlimited number of private or public Map Channels • Invite acquaintances to join your map without “Friending Them” and creating a permanent connection or sharing all your personal contact information. • Sending Meet Up directions for locations that do not have addresses like a kids’ soccer matches in venues with multiple teams on multiple fields • Create quick live maps for vendors at fairs, festivals or other events that have no fixed address by providing those maps on a website for anyone to join • Track the locations of mobile businesses like food carts, lawn services or mobile car washes, or share your mobile location on a website • Track Vehicles, School Buses, Fleets, Taxis, Pizza, or other delivery services or share those locations on a website
Does HMGPS need GPS Satellites to function?
One huge advantage HMGPS has over standalone handheld GPS units is that HMGPS uses whatever navigation aids are available. These aids include GPS, Enhanced GPS, cell towers, cell tower triangulation, and even WiFi routers. This allows HMGPS to return a location even when cell towers and GPS are not working. HMGPS works inside, and can work even if your phone is in partial airplane mode. It also allows the HMGPS system to work with tables, Chrome Books, E-readers, laptops and even desktop computers.
Does HMGPS require map downloads?
HMGPS uses Google Maps. Why re-invent the wheel if you don’t have to? Our browser saves the current Google Maps you are viewing internally in the phone’s web browser and it will continue to function normally unless you close the app. In the future, we will allow you to download Google Maps so it will work offline even after a re-boot. Unlike other systems, we do not charge for map downloads and our maps are updated when Google Maps are updated.
How do you search for a user.
On both the landing page and map page there is a [Search] field. You just type in the uses channels name and hit search. By default each use is issued two map channels IDs that are unique to them. The first channel and a HMGPS User name that you create like any social network user name. Your second default personal map channel is your phone number. We decided a phone number was the easiest channel to share on a phone call. (Since your phone number would show up on caller ID) Numbers are easer than letters to understand over a two-way radio. Ether way you have to be currently signed into a channel for someone to view your location and join you on that channel
Can you communicate with other users using HMGPS?
When you sign up for an HMGPS account, we capture your Email address and cell phone number. (You can enter bogus phone and email information if you want, but then you will not be able to reset your passwords.) You have the option in your HMGPS profile to choose to share or hide both your picture and your contact information (Phone and Email) If you choose to share your contact information, any user who has joined the same map you are on can immediately contact you and any other user just by tapping on their user tag and the desired contact method (text, phone, or email) via drop-down box. This is a great feature, as you can contact everyone in your group even if they are not in your cell phone contacts. It allows you to use your normal text or email program that you are already familiar with so you don’t have to learn anything new. It saves time when trying to set communications with groups where everyone does not already have everyone else’s contact information loaded into their contacts. It also allows you just to tap on a participant on your map. I find that it is faster than using your normal contact manager, I just open our family map and tap on the user tag for the family member that I need and then just tap on the phone or text button.
Eventually we will have push-to-talk capability built into the system through the use of Web Sockets so we can communicate from browser to browser with no app required but that will not be in the first version of the app.
Does HMGPS need an Internet connection to operate?
HMGPS does need a minimal Internet connection for 1 – 2 seconds to ping a cell tower or router to upload and download data from the server, and it will attempt to upload and download positions to the server every minute. However, the data packets are so small and the connection is so brief that only a 1G connection is required for HMGPS to fully function. Many times you may not be able to send a text or make a call, but HMGPS will still function normally if your device can ping a cell tower or have a minimal WiFi connection. If you lose total cellular/internet connection you still can navigate on your app, with maps functioning normally and HMGPS continuing to track your position until you reconnect. You will not be able to see updates of everyone else’s positions until you can ping the server. HMGPS will save location data internally from the GPS receiver and upload your breadcrumbs later when it has service. Purple breadcrumb positions markers on a map indicate that HMGPS had no server contact at that point and pulled your position from internally saved data. This will also give you a historical indicator of your poor personal cell/internet coverage areas, like a personal connection Heat Map.
How often does the HMGPS app update position to the server?
HMGPS attempts to contact the server every minute. If you look at breadcrumbs you will see a red dot indicating that the server was successfully contacted at that particular GPS location on the map. You can click on individual breadcrumbs to see the exact time of update. We save data points every 15 seconds internally in the HMGPS app and then plot those points from memory during the 1-minute updates. You see these historical 15-second data points as yellow dots. Purple dots mean the app missed the server update check in and saved the location data internally until the next server update. Look for purple dots to see bad cell areas. Connections can also be disrupted but localized interference and obstructions. Like sitting on your phone ;-)
How does the web interface work?
When you agree to share your location for Google Maps or a Weather forecasting website or want to view show times for local movies, you give permission for Google Maps to know your location. The app needs to allow your phone or tablet to be tracked constantly even if the app is only running in the background. You also need the app to create and name a custom permanent map. The Web interface is designed to function as close to the app as possible. Whenever you view a HMGPS map from a website, you are required to enter your name and you are issued a guest ID which allows all users to be managed by the map owner. You have to have a Guest ID to view a map web site and you have to have a guest ID to enter a password (if a password is required). This allows the map owner (Administrator) to know how many people are joining their map channel and to not allow Ghosts to view them or their locations. Unlike other location sharing systems that just rely on an open web page and random URL to provide security, HMGPS allows you to completely control who can see you. With other systems if you send a URL location sharing a link from other systems, that link can be shared with an unlimited number of web viewers and even posted to social media. A thousand people could be watching you and you would never know it. With HMGPS that can’t happen since we do not allow unmanaged connections and we provide a live count and names of all participants. You can eject and block all participants and guests.
How can you join a map and share your location if you have no app installed?
When you agree to share your location with Google Maps or a Weather forecasting website or want to view show times for local movies, you give permission for Google Maps to know your location. Using a web browser to view an HMGPS map can still share your location, but only if you choose that option. Mostly we think of the Google Location Sharing system as only knowing our zip code. However, when a browser gives your location it gives it as precisely as possible … usually to the closest meter. Most websites don’t care exactly where you are, rounding out to your zip code. HMGPS works the same way, except we do capture the exact location if available.
If you visit an HMGPS map website, you will be asked to share your location. If you do not share your location or if your location cannot be determined you still will show up in the participant menu as invisible but you can be blocked or ejected from the map. Even invisible participants have to enter passwords to view a map if it is protected. If you do share your location, a user tag with your first name will be attached to the map and your location will be tracked just like when using the app. If you leave your phone browser, tracking stops. If you stay on the browser, your position will be updated every two minutes. This all happens even if no app is installed. It also works this way on tablets, laptops and even desktop computers. Currently, bugs in Safari and Google Chrome prevent those browsers from returning locations well, but Firefox (Mozilla) and Dolphin browsers return location almost as accurately as having the app installed. For desktops using an Ethernet cable, your location may show only the general locale of your IP address.
What are Clues?
The term “Clue” comes from the need for people on search and rescue missions to be able to log the location of an item of clothing, scrap of paper, broken branch, or other hint of someone’s location. These trail indicators normally would be called in via two-way radio to an Incident Coordinator. In HMGPS a Clue is simply a place marker that can be tagged with a photo, notes and coordinates, but it is actually one of the most powerful functions of the HMGPS system. Any app user can long press on their phone screen on the map and a place marker will appear on that spot. The place marker will also prompt you to name the “Clue” and even take a picture of it and attach the picture to the Clue/Place marker. You can attach about 1000 characters of notes to the Clue for others to read. The Clue then will appear on everyone else’s map within 60 seconds along with the photo, name, and notes. This is a great feature for sharing information with everyone in a search party instantly, or sharing back to the command post with a photo, clue name, notes and even GPS and UTM coordinates. (It also is good for marking the location of your car in a parking lot.) GPS and UTM coordinates are also attached to the clue for verbally reading over a two-way radio. There also is a handy “Copy To Clipboard” button if you want to send the coordinates as a text. The Clue capability gives all users the ability to directly message all other users on a map (including website visitors) and provide images of whatever they see for everyone else to see. Eventually the “Clue” capability will become a fully functional messaging system within HMGPS. Check out this clue: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/rhwmhizf2fixs1t/AABrH6iHgLD35LWSUTBjav9Ua?dl=0
What is the difference between UTM and GPS coordinates.
If you are geekey enough to have made it this far in the FAQs, I assume you know what GPS is so I wont take the time here to explain here. UTM stands for Universal Transverse Mercator. It’s Military grid reference system used to find locations on maps in the field. Basically it divides maps into grids and makes it easy to verbally tell someone where you are over a two way radio. If you are using UTM it is assumed you are on the ground and thus UTM is typically used by ground teams. GPS coordinates also has the ability to give altitude so normally it is used by pilots. When pilots and ground teams work together they constantly have to translate from UTM to GPS and vise versa. To make it easy of both teams HMGPS shows UTM and GPS side-by-side so you can just read out what ever coordinate you need. If whom you are talking to does have the ability to receive a text, we placed a handle (Copy to Clipboard) button right next to the coordinates. Just one click will copy both UTM and GPS to your phones clipboard so you can drop them right in to a text.
How is the navigation line used?
When you search for a participant or clue on a map, a red line appears between you and the participant (or Clue) with the shortest route possible between the two points along with distance in miles. This line is updated every minute even when both participants are in motion. It is great for road trips when everyone is driving in separate cars. It is a quick way to navigate to where every you are going but it does not adjust for traffic conditions.
Why was the HMGPS system created?
The HMGPS System was created by an officer in the US Air Force Civil Air Patrol in response to a real life urgent situation and young child calling for help on a cell phone. When the child was not able to provide a location, it became apparent quickly that it is very difficult to share your location if you do not know the address or if you are in motion. For more on that real life story click here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8e_Nu77eMMc
What were the most critical development requirements for HMGPS?
1. A single police officer sitting in their squad car could take a call from a cell phone and within 30 seconds locate the caller on a live map, even if the caller has no idea where they are. 2. The officer could join the live map and both he and the person calling for help would be able to see each other as they moved toward each other. 3. The officer could coordinate with other police officers, dispatchers, fire and rescue squads, or even families of the victim over a two-way radio and phone and provide the map channel verbally so that they could view the channel on a smart device 4. The system would not be limited to only cell tower triangulation or GPS satellites. It must use all location signals available in the way Google Location Services functions. 5. The system must be inherently simple to use so that an officer could just send the victim a link or direct them to a website to join a live map.
What makes it different from most other location sharing systems?
1. Ability to verbally direct anyone to your map while driving without touching your phone 2. Ability to generate unlimited number of mutable map channels 3. Ability to name maps to match existing radio frequency or channels 4. Ability to create Public Maps that anyone can join without prearranged agreements 5. Ability to alter maps instantly with markers, pictures, and notes by pressing on screen 6. Ability to leave map unrestricted and open for anyone to join instantly from any device 7. Ability to assign passwords to maps and change passwords instantly if needed 8. Ability to restrict joining by requiring permission for each person requesting map access 9. Ability to display maps to website or project to display screen in command post 10. Ability to share map channel name verbally by phone or radio 11. Ability to join live maps by just clicking on a website and sharing your location 12. Ability to show 24 hours or more of map history for all participants 13. Ability to instantly get contact information and instantly connect with all participants 14. Ability to view participant status updates (speed, altitude, and direction of travel) 15. Ability to Integrate location data from other systems via CSV files
What is a Map Channel?
Your use name is your person default Map Channel ID. Any Map Channel ID can be random numbers or something easy to remember like a phone number or key word like MyMap or IrishPub. You can even assign a Map Channel to an existing radio frequency number to make it easy to relay to anyone on your team. You can create an unlimited number of channels. Maps can be private for individuals or public for businesses. In HMGPS, your phone number is one of your default channels. It is easy to share because it shows up on the call recipient’s caller ID.
• Provide individual tracking on Android enabled watches for seniors and children • Provide tracking on Android enabled Pet Tags • Create social maps for Bars, Restaurants or outdoor events • Track employees in service industries where they visit customer locations • Keep tabs on idle employees or vehicles that are not moving • Track luggage or even packages during shipping • Provide Black Box location data and history for Hikers, Vehicles and even Aircraft • Provide Incident Command Post functionality to track all members of emergency response teams • Integrate Roadside Assistance for helping to locate stranded passengers • State-of-the-art tracking and situational awareness for low or no-budget organizations like volunteer fire departments or citizen watch groups • Provide Time Clock service for employees with app enabled phones • Use HMGPS as a Dating App that uses HMGPS Random numbers to allow strangers to meet up but not exchange permanent information
How long has HMGPS been in development?
Almost 3 years (3…long ….years!), but we took our time and developed a good product unlike anything else on the market
If the system has been in development for 3 years, why has it not been introduced yet?
I was overly ambitious and designed in many capabilities that were not available in any other application. Unfortunately, making complex systems extremely simple to use is challenging. I have used the system with my family daily for more than a year and have been tweaking it constantly because I did not think it was ready to release to the public. With your help I can finish this system and get it out there doing some good, perhaps even finding out if an app could really save a life.
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