Frequently Asked Questions
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Have a question you don’t see here? Send us a note and we’ll consider adding it
Basic Location Technology
- How do you determine a device's location?
- The device's location may be determined via a device-initiated application, wherein the subscriber invokes a location aware application from their mobile phone, or they may be network-initiated which means the user does not need to download an application to their device.
- Can you locate any phone today?
- Yes. Any mobile phone can be located via the Network Location access Locaid has with wireless carriers.
- Are you mapping a point of interest (POI) to your lat/long?
- Although we can, we usually don’t. For our brands, we most often use what they currently have in place. Often customers have pre-identified POIs, such as ATM machines or stores or monuments. At our core, we provide location information. We're not content providers.
- Do you enable geo-targeted advertising?
- If you mean: if somebody is in the area, you show them an ad? No.
- Network location can have a wide circle of precision. Will the circle of precision shrink as you get more cell towers?
- Yes. Carriers are continually improving their location infrastructure performance.
- Do you deliver TDOA location as one of the types of location information?
- No. TDOA was deployed to help the GSM carriers meet their E911 Phase 2 mandate for location. This solution is not available for LBS services due to its extremely high cost to the carriers. Locaid has access to Cell ID and Assisted GPS for the Tier 1 US carriers.
- Can GPS work in autonomous mode?
- Yes. Some phones have GPS receivers and software that can compute the location of the phone without the assistance of the network elements to acquire its initial location fix.
- Are there areas where I can get better location accuracy than others?
- Typically, location accuracy can be much higher in urban areas because of the density of cell towers per unit area. AGPS accuracy is typically higher when the phone
The accuracy is set by the carriers. These values, in addition to being manually entered into their databases, tend to be very conservative in nature. In our observations, we have found that the ground truth of the actual location is typically much closer than the provided accuracy in most cases.
US carriers are just introducing network-based location. Locaid, being at the forefront of this new technology, continues to work with carriers to provide feedback on the location data observed on the field, and hope that this feedback will continue to improve accuracy over time.
- Why am I getting location results with large value for accuracy? (i.e., Accuracy = 25,000 meters)
- Locaid doesn’t alter the accuracy information returned from the carrier’s network. We pass the information back to the developer, just as the carrier delivers it to
The radius of uncertainty is provided in the carrier response to the location request. It is a standard metric that represents the size of the area that will provide a high probability of the phone’s actual location. Qualitatively speaking, a small radius indicates a lower degree of uncertainty about the actual location of the phone. Larger accuracy values indicate larger error sources and thus lower ‘resolution’ of the phone’s location. In no case is the phone guaranteed to be within the radius provided.
For AGPS, the value is derived from an algorithm that takes into account the position of the satellites being used, the number of satellites used to obtain the fix, signal path, and other factors. The figure below illustrated the concept of radius of uncertainty for an AGPS fix.
Figure 1: AGPS Radius of Uncertainty.
For a Cell-ID request the radius returned by the carrier is generally a fixed value managed by the carrier and is an indication of the area served by the cell sector associated to the mobile. The following diagrams help illustrate the concept of the radius of uncertainty for CellId.
Figure 2: Cell sector coverage zone (area of the phone’s probable location) and the radius of uncertainty
Can You Find a Device If…
- Can you find a device as it leaves an area of interest?
- You can set up a geo-fence to trigger an alert when a device leaves the geo-fenced area.
- Can you find a device during a voice call?
- Yes. We're able to locate mobile phones during a voice call on all carriers.
- Can you find a device if it is indoors?
- Can you find a device if it doesn’t have a GPS?
- Yes. The technology provided by Locaid to enable LBS does not require a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver embedded in the mobile devices. Locaid can provide location information for both smart phones and feature phones.
- Can you find a device if the device has a location spoofing app on it?
- Yes. Only the applications that use the GPS on the device to get location information can be spoofed. Applications that use Locaid’s Network Based Location cannot be spoofed as the source of the location information is the operator network, not the device’s GPS. (As per http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SYpKfFjirk)
Working with Locaid
- How do I get started working with you?
- First decide what markets you serve. We do not provide APIs to consumers directly, only to enterprise developers. If you need all Tier 1 carriers in the U.S. and Canada, we are the only location gateway available for you. You can download our API documents at http://developer.loc-aid.com/document_repository and use the tools shown at http://developer.loc-aid.com/try play around with them. Once you’re ready, register http://developer.loc-aid.com/getit to get developer credentials. After receiving the online application, our developer support team will review and submit your app for carrier approval and after approval is received, the app can be activated on each of the approved carrier networks. Our developer support and onboarding team will work with you every step of the way to make the process simple and easy.
- What kinds of applications can be built using the Locaid API?
- All kinds of applications, including fraud prevention, asset tracking, mobile marketing, authentication, generalized messaging services (aggregator services), notification and alert services, personal safety and tracking services, etc. Click here for tons of examples sorted by use case and industry.
- How is an end user’s privacy protected when building LBS applications?
- Are the Network API services scalable and reliable enough to run my business?
- Yes- the network APIs have been implemented on a scalable and reliable platform that will support the contracted SLA transaction volumes.
- Is the subscriber location information secure?
- Locaid and its carrier partners have taken many steps to ensure that the subscriber's location is secure. Each LBS application must be authenticated by Locaid prior to being allowed to acquire the location of the device. In addition, third party application developers must provide Locaid a plan for how they ensure that the customer's location is kept secure. And they must sign a contract that states that they will ensure the customer's location is kept secure.
Before You Start
- What support is offered by the Locaid Developer Program?
- The developer program will provide everything developers need to build and test LBS applications that use Locaid’s APIs.
- What kind of technical support is available during development testing? What about after I move to the production environment?
- You will have access to technically resources via email and direct contact with our developer support team. You will be provided with specific technical support prior to being moved into the production environment.
- How do I gain access to the network APIs?
- You will need to register as a developer at the http://developer.loc-aid.com/getit web site and follow the instructions from there.
- What developer tools will I need to get started using the APIs?
- After registering as a developer you will be provided with a “Getting Started” guide that will include overview information, a description of the APIs, sample code and everything needed to get started using the APIs. No proprietary software tools are required in order to build network API applications. The network APIs can be leveraged by any software development platform that supports SOAP web services.
- What information do you need from me to begin?
- To use our location APIs you will need to 1) sign up for an account, and get 2) a key that identifies your unique application. To get started, we'll ask for a few
pieces of information.
• Your name
• Your email: this will be the username for your account
• Your company name
If you'd like, you can tell us a bit about your app, but we understand if you'd rather keep your thoughts to yourself at this point.
If you are enrolling in the Demo, you will receive an app-key that references your Demo account. This notification will be sent to the email address you provided in the registration.
- Why do I need to fill out an application form?
- Locaid requires an application form as the first step in the activation process because we need to collect information on how you plan to use location and
information on how to contact you.
Everyone in the LBS community needs to think about and respect end user privacy. Locaid has developed an award winning, multi-tiered, option based privacy framework called Privacy Vault™. During the activation process, we collect information on how you to plan to use location in order to assign the appropriate system flow.
In addition to learning a little bit about your company, your industry and your location requirements, Locaid also needs information so that we know how to contact you if we have any questions about your intended location use. We also need to contact you to provide you with a unique identifier called a ClassID that is required to interact with the Locaid Xchange Gateway (LXG).
- What is a privacy flow and why do I need one?
- At Locaid, we take privacy very seriously. One of our most valuable services to the LBS developer community is that we have taken the “hassle” out of location. To earn the trust of the LBS community and in order to become a carrier partner, Locaid developed an award winning privacy framework known as the Privacy Vault™. Locaid location specialists review the information you provide in your online application form to ensure it is compliant with Locaid Privacy Guidelines, and to determine an appropriate system flow. However, we don’t want to make this decision in a bubble and will involve you to reach a mutually agreed decision.
- What is a ClassID and why do I need one?
- A ClassID is a five digit unique identifier that Locaid assigns to each activated application in our system. A ClassID is assigned after a developer has filled out an online application and LOCAID has reviewed and approved the intended use of location. Each application requires its own distinct ClassID.
- How do I activate my app?
- Activation is used to signal us and the carrier that you are ready to launch your application. You may activate any time after the carrier has approved your
application for their network.
To activate your application:
1. Point your browser to the Locaid Developer Portal at www.loc-aid.com
2. Login using the credentials provided as part of the Registration Process (lost your credentials? click here)
3. Click the “Carriers” button to select the carrier
4. Click the “ON” button in the App Status column of the summary table to toggle the activation
Problems with activation? Email Customer Support at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- After I have completed testing of my application, how do I officially “publish” so my customers can leverage it?
- There is a certification process that will require you to perform basic testing to ensure your application behaves properly in the network environment. Once your application has been certified, you will be moved the production environment.
- What is the “carrier approval process?”
- The wireless carriers (e.g. AT&T, Sprint and Verizon) provide access to the location of their subscribers to enable compelling applications. To limit potential
misuse of this sensitive information, carriers ask developers to make themselves known and provide some basic data about their application. The carriers use the description
provide by the developers to approve that application on their network, and to determine the conditions under which that application will be required to notify
Locaid will collect the necessary information from you about your application and manage the carrier approval process.
- Why can't I locate my phone on Boost Mobile (or Virgin etc)?
- Some carrier networks do not allow phones to be located for anything other than emergency services, for the rest we are negotiating access. This process is ongoing, so check back often to see if access is enabled, or you can register for notification when a network is added.
- Can Locaid report whether a device supports high accuracy or just coarse location?
- No. You may use the location Method=MOST_ACCURATE, the LXG will attempt high accuracy and if that fails the LXG will attempt cell-ID.
- What technology is used to implement the network APIs?
- The network APIs are implemented as Web Services and published as SOAP interface for use by applications.
- Are there other restrictions in the use of the Network APIs, such as transaction volume?
- Yes- depending on your contracted service level. Several SLA options are available that provide varying support for different services and transaction volume levels.
- Will I be able to register my existing messaging short and long notification codes for use with the API?
- Yes, the Network Enablers onboarding application has a section for entering existing codes for this purpose.
- Will the network APIs work when a target mobile device is roaming?
- The Messaging APIs will be able to send messages to devices on another carrier's network. However, there are some limitations in the API set if an end user is roaming. For instance, confirmation of message delivery may not be possible if a user is on a different network. The location-based service API will not have access to a user's location while roaming.
- I'm stuck. How do I get help?
- We're here to help, send us email at email@example.com
- I know my phone number is correct but get an MSISDN not valid error. Why?
- MSISDN (Mobile Station International Subscriber Directory Number) is a unique number defining the mobile subscription of a GSM/UMTS network; it consists of up to 15
digits defined as follows:
• MSISDN = CC + NDC/NPA + SN
• CC = Country Code
• NDC = National Destination Code or NPA = Number Planning Area
• SN = Subscriber Number
A common MSISDN error is to omit the country code (e.g.,“1”) in front of an area code.
- Why am I getting a phone number not subscribed error when I submit a valid getLocationsX or getLocation request?
- One of the most common reasons for getting a phone not subscribed error when submitting a valid getLocationsX or getLocation request is that the phone has not been registered in the LXG. Please review the Device Registration API to make sure that you have completed the necessary steps to register a phone in the LXG.
- Why am I getting a digital certificate error?
- All applications interfacing with the Locaid Web Services will require a digital certificate for authentication of the application. Click here for instructions on how to download the Locaid digital certificate and import into your application.
- I have confirmed my phone is registered in the LXG, but I am not getting any location information. Why not?
- If you have confirmed an MSISDN is registered in the LXG but are not receiving any location data, there can be several different reasons for this:
• The end user handset is turned off
• The end user is in a “dead zone” where location cannot be retrieved
• The carrier does not support location retrieval for the end user handset model
- Is there a limit to the number of simultaneous location requests that can be asked at one time?
- Yes. One of the settings associated with each ClassID is a maximum number of location transactions per minute. The maximum number of transactions per minute for your application was included in Form #5 during the onboarding process. If you do not have access to this form, please contact us and we will provide you with this information.
- What happens if I send the same number multiple times in one batch request? Does Locaid de-dupe the phone numbers?
- Locaid ignores duplicate phone numbers. If you send five location requests for the same phone number in one transaction, we will only return one location and will only charge for one location.