Sunday, October 14, 2012

Using Your Android Phone GPS to Find Friends in a Crowd

How do you find your friends in a crowd of 75,000 people?


Tailgating at the Texans - Packers Monday Night Football Game

The Houston Texans have sold out every game in their 10-year history. Thus, the Texans-Packers Monday Night Football game will have over 70,000 football fans in attendance. Thousands of additional fans bought "tailgating" tickets, which admit them to the parking lot, but not the stadium itself. How do you find someone in that mass of humanity?

Don't Rely on Your Cell Phone

If you do not arrive at the parking lots with the rest of your tailgating party, finding them somewhere amidst 75,000 fans can be a problem. Under normal circumstances, you'd just whip out your handy cell phone and have them give you directions and describe key nearby landmarks. Unfortunately, this method may be problematical in this situation.

A crowd of 75,000 people in such a constricted area may well overwhelm the local cell phone tower capacity -- even with the additional capacity that the league trucks in for the occasion. It's very difficult to
complete calls in that environment (texting is much more likely to be successful). So, what do you do? Here are two options I'll be trying out tonight.

Using Google Maps

If you and someone in the party you are trying to find both have Droids, you can use Google Maps to help you locate your friends. Go to Google Maps - Settings - Location Settings, and check "Enable location sharing." Then, click on "Manage your friends." At the bottom of the screen, click on the add friend icon (the icon is a human profile, followed by a +). You can enter the email addresses manually, or select friends from your contacts. Your friend will then be sent an email asking him to authorize you to have access to his location.

Once you're authorized to see his location, both your location and his will show when you open Google Maps. You can then navigate accordingly. When you're through, you can disable location sharing if you like.

This basic process should work for Blackberrys as well -- though, of course, the key sequence is different.

Using Find My Car

Since the Find My Car (FMC) app determines your longitude and latitude, it's useful for more than just remembering where your car or hotel is located.  If you and your friends have FMC, you can use that to find each other (note: it's available free on Google Play).

From the FMC main screen, your friend should scroll to the right to bring up the list of additional functions, then choose "Send current GPS-pos." He can then choose to send his current position via Gmail, and enter your email address. Other options are to send via text, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Obviously, you want him to send it via a method that you can receive on your phone.

When you receive the message, his current position will arrive formatted as a URL. Click on the URL, and then choose to complete the action using Find My Car. FMC will then store those GPS coordinates in your list of positions as "My position."

Next, from the main FMC menu, chose Find - My position. You can then choose to either "show on map," or "navigate" to have FMC navigate you to your friends' coordinates.

Just in Case

My experience with GPS is that it is not always precise, so I would ask your friend to also send a supplemental text with additional info -- e.g., section numbers and nearby landmarks.

Good luck.  And, let me know if you have any corrections.

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Copyright © 2012         Last modified: 10/16/2012

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1 comment:

  1. GPS Tools app is one stop shop for all your GPS related uses. If you want use different GPS Tools then you need to download different GPS Apps but our GPS Tools app will equivalent to more then 10 different GPS Apps.


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