Where is my iDevice?

Discussion in 'iPad General Discussions' started by SheerLuckHolmes, Feb 26, 2011.

  1. SheerLuckHolmes
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    SheerLuckHolmes iPad Fan

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    Using mobile me to look at both my iPone and iPad at the same time. The hybrid view shows my iPhone on top of my house, right over the room that it is in. The iPad, however, shows to be across the alley and two houses down. WTF!?!?

    They are both sitting right next to me and they both show hooked up through my secured wi-fi.

    I don't get it.

    Anyone else know what's going on?
  2. Lavenderlady*w*iPad
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    Lavenderlady*w*iPad iPad Fan

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    I don't have Mobile Me, hoping for/waiting for it to be free, but when I select "use current location" on Google Earth, it shows me in my neighbor's garage .2 mile away! That is kind of weird too! (I have 16 GB wifi only iPad.)

    Sent from my 16GB wifi iPad using iPF
  3. graywolf
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    graywolf iPad Super Guru

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    The maps app shows me in the street about 3 houses down the road. But find my iPhone shows me where I am. I don't get it either. I have the same ip address, so what is the deal?
  4. Hasty
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    Hasty iPad Ninja

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    According to string theory there are eleven and more dimensions. Guess apple are just upping their game......

    Just don't let your wife see that!
  5. graywolf
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    graywolf iPad Super Guru

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    I'm 15. :)
  6. NLAlston
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    NLAlston iPad Fan

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    You mean to tell me that it ISN'T free? I had received notification that it WAS free, which is why I set it up. I will certainly cancel it if it indeed isn't.
  7. iPadCharlie
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    iPadCharlie iPad Super Guru

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    I could be wrong (it has happened before!), but I believe the 3G version uses a "real" GPS and the WiFi devices attempt to use the location based on the IP address.

    Interestingly enough (to me, anyway!), I was using my iPad on a Delta flight that has on-board WiFi and the location services put me at Delta's HQ in Atlanta. This was really weird since I was somewhere over Colorado at the time!
  8. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    Summary: WiFi iPads do not have GPS. The use secondary, and less accurate means of determining your location.

    That's pretty much what happens. The WiFi version sniffs around for WiFi signals and locates you based on a database of hotspot locations. It might use IP addresses too, but I'm not sure about that.

    Given that a hotspot covers a large area, it's not surprising that locations are bit vague. It's good enough for quite a few location type services though, like weather, local services, etc.

    I imagine planes are difficult to keep current in a location data base. In that case they probably just assign them to the businesses address. Or maybe it does use IP addresses as secondary location, and that probably would trace back to the Delta's headquarters.
  9. graywolf
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    graywolf iPad Super Guru

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    I think it uses ip addresses.
  10. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    Both, probably.

    I remember the debate about collecting wireless hotspot info with Google. I also remember it being mentioned that Apple stopped using Google's collected data some time before the controversy and started using their own database.

    Anyway, for those who are still not quite sure what location service does, here is Apple's link. Note the larger blue area when you've got an imprecise location.

    iPad: Understanding Location Services
  11. Lavenderlady*w*iPad
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    Lavenderlady*w*iPad iPad Fan

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    To my knowledge, right now Mobile Me costs $90 something dollars a year, apparently with discounted rates available as mentioned in other posts on eBay for example. I never checked that out so can't really say much about it. I was reading an article in the past few days that one of the March 2 announcements might be that MM will now be free. So I am waiting to see if that is true before I sign up.

    Sent from my 16GB wifi iPad using iPF
  12. Lavenderlady*w*iPad
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    Lavenderlady*w*iPad iPad Fan

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    Twerppoet thanks for the link, good explanation. I am in a very rural area in MT and our options for internet are limited. I am at the end of the line for Qwest Internet service and my neighbor, where I "appear" to be in the garage, is on a different ISP altogether. I am not techie at all, but I don't understand why my iPad would not find my ISP over his, and locate me correctly. Is one ISP stronger than another, or am I just not understanding the whole process at all?

    Sent from my 16GB wifi iPad using iPF
  13. iPadCharlie
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    iPadCharlie iPad Super Guru

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    Don't you people ever sleep???? LOL
  14. hey_moe
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    hey_moe iPF Novice

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  15. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    Probably for the same reason my Garmin GPS wants me to turn right, to the neighbors house, instead left into the RV lot when I'm navigating home. Their location database isn't perfect, and your ISP may not be in it, or the entry isn't correct.

    Any database with that much information is bound to have more than a a few errors. At least it doesn't think you are located at Delta Airlines' Headquarters. :)
  16. Bob Coxner
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    Bob Coxner iPF Novice

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    Their database uses IP addresses, not ISP's.

    The database is built essentially by war driving. Cars drive around with devices listening for IP addresses being broadcast by routers. When it picks up address XXX.XXX it uses a GPS in the car to note the approximate location of that signal and stores it in the database.

    In your situation, your signal may be so strong that the car picked it up near your neighbor's house and logged it into the database for that location.

    Note that these database entries are static and based solely on the location at the time the car drove by. You're in Montana. If your neighbor moves his router (and associated IP address) to Arizona, then if his new neighbor (in Arizona) uses MobileMe solely with IP (not GPS) it will show that he's in Montana if the only nearby IP his iPad can pick up is your old neighbor.

    The database Apple uses is maintained by a company called Skyhook. Here is their page explaining how it works. Skyhook: How It Works > Coverage

    You can submit your IP to make the database more accurate.
  17. graywolf
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    graywolf iPad Super Guru

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    How would the car get an ip if the network is encrypted?
  18. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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  19. Bob Coxner
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    Bob Coxner iPF Novice

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    Regardless of whether Apple still uses Skyhook the basic concept remains the same. Cars drive around acquiring IP addresses.

    If you're in an urban area this method will work pretty well to locate your WiFi iPad. Rural areas not so well.
  20. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    From the wording of the article and user agreement I suspect that most of the people driving around are iPhone owners. Apple is collecting the GPS and internet data, anonymizing it, and using it to create, or at least heavily supplement the database.

    And other than catering to my inner pedantic, do I care? Not really. :)
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2011

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