Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ's are also a great sales tool - hence there are answers to questions that a visitor at this point may not know the question let alone the answer

Which mobile phones are compatible?

The simple answer is GPS-enabled smart-phones running Android 2.3 and above. An up to date list is provided in the "buy now". We will be expanding the range over the coming months to cater for all smart phones.

Why only Smart phones?

As a safety product the device must have the capability to run applications in the background. This is known as "Enterprise" or "Professional" class. In this way the tracking keeps an up-to-date record of your travels both for your safety and entertainment usage. As standard your phone checks its location every minute or so or when it changes direction or speed. It uploads all of this information to our server every 5th location change.

Non smartphone products rely on you checking in manually or in the case of someone being deemed missing or in danger, an emergency controller using cell site triangulation to locate you. This is notoriously inaccurate especially outside of major conurbations with miscalculations of over 7 kilometres very common and it gives no other clues as to direction of travel etc.

Who can track me?

When you sign up you are provided with a unique URL which you can provide to friends and family either directly or perhaps posting it on Facebook for instance.

When someone registers, a request is sent to both your handset and your admin page online. You can accept or decline the request.

If you accept you can put your ‘follower’ into one of three categories

> Family

> Work Friend

> Candid

This will determine what media content they can see.

There is no restriction on the number of people who can track you and if you want to block them you simply delete them from your tracking contacts on your phone or your online admin page.

Messaging?

You can send messages between your handset and your follower's personal mapping page free of charge. You can also send and receive messages with other users who you have authorised to follow you.

This service uses a very small amount of data which in the vast majority of instances will not register on the mobile networks.

How do I upload my photos?

When you take a photo on your camera phone you will see an option box appear on screen; this will ask you “Do you want to upload this?” You have three choices

Yes: uploads immediately

Decide later: stores the photo in your tracking gallery

Delete: We cant all be David Bailey!

You can also determine who can see your photos – to use this service you need to click on “decide later”

Go into the tracking homepage and click on photos, then click on “share” you are then able to restrict to the following categories.

> Family - for photos you may not want all of your followers to see i.e. family occasions.

> Work - For photos perhaps you wouldn't want your grandparents or family to see but OK for your boss at work for instance.

> Candid - For those more risqué photos, for people who have already seen it!

> Everyone - Scenery and any photo you are happy for everyone to see.

> OMG - When you take one of those shots you want to share with everyone, click on the Oh My God button. All of your followers will receive an email letting them know that you've just uploaded something they ‘really just have to see’.

Under “photos” you can also add a text caption or audio recording to your photos. This can also be done retrospectively and you can also go back and edit.

What is Audiotrac?

Audiotrac allows you to record messages that can be heard by your followers (you can also determine who hears these). With Audiotrac you can easily compile a blog of your trip for people to log into every day.

Your Audiotrac recordings are presented in a list basis starting with the most recent at the top. When you click on a recording the map will reload to the day and place the recording was made. Fantastic for reliving your trips in years to come and bringing back all of those memories.

How much data will I use?

Data usage is dependent upon upload frequency and media uploaded. The tracking element will use around 30 Mb of data per month whilst photo upload will depend upon the size of the photo but is generally around 1Mb per photo. In the UK this generally isn't an issue as the mobile networks tend to provide ‘all you can eat’ data bundle also referred to as internet access either as part of your monthly package or for around £4 per month (please check though).

When abroad this can be significantly more expensive. For shorter trips we recommend adding a roaming data bundle from your network and for longer trips buying a local SIM card enabling you to take advantage of the local rates. Please ensure that your phone is “unlocked” before you leave.When you swap to a local SIM card our system will automatically pick up the change and continue your service seamlessly.

We also provide the ability to upload your photos over WiFi which is generally free of charge in many hotels, hostels, coffee shops and fast food outlets.

Can I use WiFi to upload photos?

Yes, and we positively encourage it.

What happens if there is no GPRS coverage in the area I am traveling through?

The number of networks without data coverage is minimal and reducing by the month as are the holes in coverage. Should you visit a country without data coverage, our software still communicates with the GPS satellites and stores your location updates and photographs. When you next get data coverage or WiFi coverage you can then upload all of the data in one go effectively backfilling your snail trail.

In these instances tracking for safety purposes is not available but invariably you will still be able to initiate a red alert and communicate with the emergency response centre via a voice call.

Do I need to buy a phone from you

Not at all; you are free to buy your phone from any shop and we will upload the ‘thin client’ handset software remotely, known as OTA (over the air) configuration.

Is it a good idea to use my current mobile number?

If you are going abroad for a period of time we would recommend using a new number to avoid expensive incoming calls when you are roaming. You can let your friends know they can communicate free of charge via your home page and just let your parents or next of kin have access to the number for emergencies.

How much does it cost?

£10.00 plus vat per month billed monthly in advance to a credit card, no minimum contract.

Is there a minimum contract?

One month.

What is my ‘Personal Profile"?

As a subscriber you are invited to fill in an online in-depth profile. If you are already logged in Click here to see the form, if not you must log in here or you can access it by returning to the homepage and clicking on My Account This information is encrypted and is not accessible to anyone but you. If you forget your password you request a new one from an automated system. This overcomes data protection requirements and ensures your personal details are kept personal.

The only time our ERC staff would see these details is if you raise a red alert when effectively you are forwarding these details from your secure area to one of our highly trained emergency staff to use in order to help you. This information may be shared with local emergency services. We encourage all subscribers to complete the form in full and keep it up to date. It may sound dramatic but it could save your life.

How many Photos can I store?

The limit you can store is unlimited.

How many messages can I store?

Totally unlimited - enjoy!

So what do I do next?

See if your phone is compatible, it must be running the Android operating system version 2.3 or above. If it is on the list, click on ‘buy now’ fill in the user details including the credit card that the monthly charges will be billed to.

We will then generate your personal admin site which will contain your personal URL. You will need to distribute this to your friends and family as they will need to go to your unique URL to register.

You are then ready to start your tracking experience.

How does GPS work?

Simply put, there are around 32 navigation satellites in various orbits around the Earth. The current system everyone uses is owned by the US Department of Defence but will soon be joined by the Russian GLONASS system and the European Galileo project. In the future devices will speak to all of these systems for greater accuracy.

Compatible devices have a GPS chip in them along with a separate (internal) antennae. Your phone needs to be able to see four of these satellites to calculate its location.

Technically this means you will only get accurate coverage when you are out of doors and away from ‘urban canyons’ i.e. roads lined with high rise buildings. In reality you will still get fixes although some can be wayward in these environments.

Your device needs to be in a pocket or at the top of a bag or rucksack at least, not buried down at the bottom of it.

This is the same basic technology as the Sat Nav systems such as Tom-Tom that you see in many cars. In that instance the location information is laid straight onto the mapping held on the device in the car; as you move the data is discarded.

As well as its safety implications, our product is designed to provide a record of your travels, so our software on your phone continuously transmits your location to our central servers where it is stored. When one of your followers logs on, these details are then overlaid onto the finest commercially available online digital mapping.

Changing the date ranges allows them to see historic travel as well as live travel.

Is tracking guaranteed?

The simple answer is no. We rely on the mobile phone networks around the world and as you know at times these do fall over and can have poor areas of coverage. Radio waves are subject to various atmospheric and topographical challenges and as such are fallible.

Mobile coverage continues to expand and improve and as it does so does our tracking.

That's the bad news. The good news is that outages are thankfully few and far between and generally are well notified in advance.

I have heard that GPS usage uses a lot of battery

All applications use battery be it mobile email, web browsing, texting and, of course, voice calls. GPS does use more than these due to its constantly enquiring nature. Our advanced technology preserves battery life to a degree but you must still be aware that on average a phones standby time will reduce by around 35% to 40%..

Think of the old Army maxim ‘sleep when you can, eat when you can’ -in this instance ‘charge when you can’.

When I come back into coverage will my phone update instantly?

Yes, this may take a few minutes depending on how long you’ve been out of coverage for.

Will my phone update if I am on a voice call?

If you are connecting via 3G or EDGE the answer is yes as both can handle voice and data simultaneously - if not, i.e. you are on 2G coverage the phone will not update until after the called finishes. This data accumulates until it can be uploaded.

How does the Emergency Response Centre work?

As soon as your call is connected we start digitally recording it. Your location map and your personal profile are presented to the controller across two screens and if you are abroad our databases present the information for the relevant British Embassy and emergency services.

Whilst our controllers ascertain the nature of the emergency and develop a plan of action they are able to patch in any number of outside agencies and expertise in order to help resolve your situation.

After consulting with you and with your agreement a text message will go out to your nominated next of kin alerting them to the situation and inviting them to dial in and enter the pin number given. This gives our controller the opportunity to professionally stabilise the situation before the obvious emotions of a friend or parent are added to the process.

What if I activate the red alert accidentally?

As with the 999 services, all calls are considered as emergency calls until proven to be otherwise. When the call comes through, our controllers are able to listen into the audio to determine the situation. If for any reason we cannot determine whether it is an emergency or not we will call the device and mention a prearranged phrase - if it is an emergency situation the user will answer with a key word indicating that they need help.

If a user makes more than three accidental emergency calls we reserve the right to charge for any further calls or to suspend the service upon their return. We will not suspend service whilst the user is abroad.

What is phototrac?

Phototrac is your personal gallery where all of your photos are stored after being uploaded. They are shown chronologically as ‘thumb nails’. When you click on a photo it will load the map with the data from the day the photo was taken and place the photo at the point it was taken. This can be over any period of time and really lets you revisit your past holidays and experiences.

You can also group photos as albums; again this will take you back to a particular day or period in your life.

When you click on the photo in the map it will take you back into Phototrac at the exact place you left it, enabling you to continue browsing.

When one of your followers logs on, Phototrac will only show the photos that you have allowed them to see.

How do I see historic data?

The simplest way is to go to ‘Date Range’ this lets you select a single day or a period in time. Selecting a two-week period when you were in the same place can make the map cluttered. Selecting a longer period when you were travelling on the other hand provides an incredible record of your trip of a lifetime and you can then zoom in to locations along the way, view photos and listen to audio tracks.

You can also recall historic data by selecting a photo in the relevant time frame from within Phototrac.

What are followers?

This is a list of the people that you have authorised to follow you. Followers can message each other from your site bringing together friends and family with a common thread i.e. you!

Can I stop someone following me?

Yes, very simple just delete them from the followers list on your admin page or from tracking contacts on your mobile.

What is Multitrac?

We have quickly realised that followers may be following more than one subscriber. Multitrac means that a follower only has to log in once; our databases then search to see if you are authorised to follow other users and these are shown in Multitrac. This is much easier than saving multiple user names and passwords and having to keep logging in and out.

What is Status?

Status allows subscribers to let people know what they are up to at that time. This can be left from the admin pages or the handset as a text message or a voice message.

The status button also shows how much battery life the user has left.

I noticed a recommend button, what's in it for me?

Apart from your friends' undying gratitude for introducing them to such a cool product?

Quite a bit. Every unique referral equates to one entry in our competitions.

Each month we hold a draw for £250.10, that 250 National Lottery Scratch carda and 10p to scratch them off with.

Oh yes, forgot to mention - all entries are also put into an annual draw with a main prize of a brand new Mini!

I think I could use something like this for work

This product is just one of a range of tracking products from Ubitrac. We also provide several cutting--edge products developed especially for business with productivity and upcoming lone worker legislation in mind. For more details go to www.ubitrac.co.uk.

What does Hybrid mean on the top right of the page?

As standard, when you log onto the map it is in satellite view with “labels” i.e. place names street names etc. If you just want to enjoy the imagery you can click on the drop down box in the top right corner and uncheck “labels”

You will also notice that you can change the view to “map” this is a traditional streetmap, you can also click on terrain to overlay a topographical map.

In the top left hand corner you will see the Streetview icon. Simply drag the icon of the small man to the area you want more detail on. If the road is highlighted in Blue you will be able to see street level imagery.

What do all of the icons mean?

Red dot means that you were travelling at under 10k per hour - this could indicate walking or sitting down.

Red arrow means you were travelling at over 10k per hour.

The same in yellow means that a photo is associated with that point - clicking on the icon will open the photo.

The same for blue icons; these indicate an audio message.

The same for pink icons; these indicate a video.

A yellow icon with a number on indicates a number of photos taken in close proximity. As you zoom in you will see the number dividing down into smaller groups. You can click to see the group of photos as an album in Phototrac or you can keep zooming in to open them on the map.

When you click on the icons it indicates the time, date, speed and location (where available).

GPS and GPRS, what's the difference?

GPS is Global Positioning System. This is the technology that lets compatible devices talk to a number of satellites to accurately determine where it is.

GPRS is General Packet Radio Service, a generic term for the ‘packets’ of data transmitted by your mobile phone for internet connectivity, email etc. Your phone transmits your location data to our servers over GPRS.