Wireless provides an easy Virtual GPS device

858001-1053401So I’ve done the research and have determined what Skyhook wireless and other Wi-Fi Mapping companies has done and it is ingenious!  Ok, let me set the scene:  Say you’re walking through the forest and spot an interesting tree.  Right next to that is another interesting tree.  If you end up walking in circles in the forest and you see those same two interesting trees you know where you are at that instant right?

Well… apply that same line of thinking to wireless access points (AP) anywhere in the world.  Skyhook has went around the world mapping out all of the access points and linking them to GPS locations… Thus if your in a certain location and you see 5 wireless access points around you and one of them has a 99% signal.  Odds are you are extremely close to that access point right? Send the information about that access point (like ssid and/or mac) to skyhook and they’ll send you back your most likely position.  This is the perfect mix of technology and good old fashion logic.

Well I’ve spent the time putting together the components needed to do this very same mapping and I’m sharing it with you guys free…  You will need a few things… a laptop with Wi-Fi and a GPS device. 

As far as code goes, you’ll need the following two visual studio 2008 projects:

1. WifiScanner (755kb) – a program to be run on the laptop.  It uses netsh and GPS (41kb) to map out all of the surrounding Wi-Fi access points. This map is uploaded via a SOAP call to our next program needed…

2. SOAP vGPS (56kb) – a server side application for databasing the mapped access points and returning results for finding your virtual GPS location.

The great thing about this project is the bigger the map gets the more accurate the vGPS becomes.

There are two directions these VS projects can go… the first is to complete the logging feature on the WifiScanner so the data can be captured off-line and uploaded at a later time… or second an offline and portable database can be created for personal use.  This database can be updated as you drive and vGPS can be taken with you so if you are not using the real GPS device, the vGPS can act as a viable alternative.

Comment on all the things you do with this stuff below…

In-Flight Internet services

The in-flight Internet service from American Airlines is extremely nice. It is very fast for Internet and email as well as for posting to my blog. This allows for keeping in contact with anyone anytime!
The service cost me just under $15 and is keeping up with nearly everything I’m throwing at it. Some of the apps on my iPad vie been using is the word press app of course, the FlightTrack Pro as well as other Internet related applications.

If you are planing a trip in the near future, I’d recommended getting the FlightTrack Pro at it not only maps out your flight paths, but also will give you real time flight tracking. Currently the app is reporting that I am half way thru my flight just over Arizona.

If you have an iPhone, another flight app I would recommend is Flight Update Pro. I’ve been using this app to keep tabs of my flights, the gates, and their current status. I even installed this app on my wifes iPhone and regularly update it with trips I am taking. This let’s her keep track of my flights.
Whenever you want to test your internet connection speed I utilize the SpeedTest app to get the stats of my connection. This app downloads a 1 mb file from the specified source to your device. By doing this you gain information on the speed and quality of your connection. During my Dallas to San Francisco flight, I tested the connection with the following results:

Download Speed: 3.16mbps
Elapsed Time: 25.319 sec

Needless to say if your planning a flight(s) some time soon, be sure you pick up a few apps to make things go easier.