Our names are Scotty and Fiddy and we hitchhiked to all 50 state capitols in 50 consecutive days. We started in Times Square on October 10th 2006 and ended in Honolulu on November 28th 2006. It was awesome. Email us: hitch50@gmail.com. Thanks to everyone who made it possible, it was fun! Read about our trip here.
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As far as we know, the map on our site works just like the really high-tech maps back at headquarters in old dectective shows. Exept this time the dot on the map is the good guys. Basically, we have no idea how it works. But our resident geek Heath who helped us out with it knows all about it, so we'll let him explain.

Scotty and Fiddy

The technology that makes the map go is all off-the-shelf. Anyone with $50 and a some prepaid minutes to spare can get in on this.

Several years ago, the Federal Communications Commission required all new cell phones to be equipped with GPS receivers, so that customers can be located by rescue workers. Recently, the software to access the GPS hardware on Nextel phones has become available. This means that a $50 i415 phone can stream location information every 15 seconds to not just 911 call centers, but anywhere you'd like.

Scotty and Fiddy are going to be using this technology over the next 50 days to let everyone know exactly where they are, and what they're up to. By cross referencing their location with Google Maps, we get an up-to-the-minute satellite view. And by throwing some recording equipment into the mix, we'll see America through their eyes as photos, podcasts, and videos appear along their path on the map.

We think that this technology is just in it's infancy, and that it's going to revolutionize the way we think about location. But first, we're going to have some fun with it.

Heath Johns
Resident Geek

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please tell us more about the tech on this one. What is the software you are using? Have you written your own server side app to listen for these pings?

4:46 PM  
Blogger hitch50 said...

Hey there. Thanks for your interest...

The guys at Mologogo wrote the software that goes on the phone. This software has a configuration field called altURL: in our case it's set to our server which collects this information via an http GET request, with the GPS information contained in the query part of the URI. The phone sends these GET requests out once every 15 seconds or so, and a php script on our server is set up to listen to them and log the updated information into a database.

From there, we've just got a bit of JavaScript to pick up the coordinates from the database an put it up on the google map.

Does that answer your question, or did I nerd out too much there?

Heath

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys are great Americans!

1:28 PM  
Anonymous benthos said...

Hey Tech Guy! Your site is beautious, good work. But I've already become addicted to the boys' travels. I want a small, always on-top window that shows where they are. That way I don't have to keep going to my browser.

I know I don't have the right to demand anything, but if you are able to meet this signficant technical challenge, I'd be grateful

3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is absolutely Amazing. As a web developer I find it pretty fascinating that you can do stuff like that. I will definitely keep this in mind in case I ever have to implement something like it.

--Joe
www.thejoey.net

6:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This looks more like an adventure a couple of Canadians would do. Have a beer in every capitol, eh?

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Jerome said...

Not to be too needy but how about a map that shows the actual route that has been traveled like where they started and how they got to where they are now. All kinds of ideas could happen with that.

Anyways - I will be following closely and when Scotty and Fiddy get close to Colorado I will try to offer them a ride-

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Urgo said...

Love the idea for the site. It would be cool to see more done with the data though. Perhaps since you know the coords every 15 secs you could print out the speed they are moving. Or another thing that would be cool would be to see a solid line showing where they've been on the map over the past X days.

Keep up the good work and I'll keep watching!

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Tech Guy, do all cell providers allow this type of 'get' operation with their network/phones?

This would be a great app to keep track of FBI: Friends, Brothers, and In-Laws. Thx...

9:42 PM  

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