There area lot of times I want to know where my loved ones are, but do not want to make a phone call, go to voicemail, then get a phone call back five minutes later because they were driving. This was a feature of Google Latitude that I loved – the ability to see where someone was who had agreed to share location data with you. And even with Latitude, you still had to wait for the phone to check in and sometimes that could be hours.
With the death of Latitude and the near uselessness of Google Plus Locations (knowing where they were seven hours ago is not useful information), I decided to whip something up in Tasker that’s on-demand and doesn’t rely on the other person’s phone checking in with Google. And as an added bonus, it only uses battery when it’s activated.
The project is triggered by a text message containing the text “whereu” and sends a Google Map location back along with the speed in miles per hour you’re traveling. The text can be anything you want, or you could run through your contacts to verify you want to report the location to them, but it seemed to me the easiest thing was to just pick a trigger text that people were not going to send me.
You will probably need Android to be handling the text messaging. Google Voice did not cut it for this project, although I’ll probably work on a mod for that this weekend. A text message has to come in and be recognized by Tasker, which evidently in GV it’s not. If you’re using Google Voice and not going to quit, go and check the box that says “this phone receives text messages” on the webpage administration settings for Google Voice.
Any other 3rd party SMS clients may or may not work.
The profile is pretty simple. Set up an Event, Received Text. Type Any, no Sender, and the Content is whatever password you want to trigger this. As mentioned above, I used “whereu” for this. Choose something that’s not going to accidentally be something a person you don’t want knowing where you’re at would text.
I named the task Send Location because I’m not particularly imaginative today.
- GPS (on)
- Get Location (GPS, 100)
- Variable Set %locspdmph to %LOCSPD * 2.23693629 check Do Maths
- Send SMS Number: %SMSRF Message: I’m at http://maps.google.com/maps?z=12&t=m&q=loc:%LOC traveling at %locspdmph mph
- Flash sent location
If all goes well, when anyone messages you “whereu,” about 10-15 seconds later they’ll get a link to a fully interactive map depending on the browser they’re using:
And depending on how they’re viewing it they can map out a course to you, carry on stalking someone else, or call you and tell you to pick up some eggs.
Ideas for improvements
- Lock down by contact, so a child can’t share that info with friends.
- Disable audio notification when driving.
- Check if you’re home via geofence or WiFi before triggering GPS.
- Automatic checkin with parents when speed exceeds 70mph.