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I work at a highway construction company, where at any given time, there are three to four work crews at different locations or towns In The Middle Of Nowhere. Right now, the guys in the office have paper maps on the wall, with pins stuck at each town or location, for each crew. This works well enough, but has to be manually updated, and isn't accessible once you leave the office(s).

A software solution would be nice. I'm picturing something like a snapshot of Google Maps, with icons of pins stuck into the map. If the locations of those pins was done with a sister app on an iPhone/Android device, that would be a nice bonus. (iPhone App preferred, since most guys use iPhones, but about 10% of us have Androids.) e.g. The guys push a button which grabs the location of the nearest town, or their exact GPS coordinates if farther than 25 km from a town. Sort of like checking into locations on Facebook, but I want a standalone software package, so it's more robust and has a dedicated, clean interface for this task. Furthermore, it should be a manual check-in/location-update, so that the guys know when they are actively giving their location away. i.e. They need to feel safe that I'm not spying on them every minute of the day, or on their personal time/days off.

Is there any software that can do this kind of thing?

(If not, it's no big deal; I can whip up a program/app over the next year or so. This isn't a necessity, and I have a B.Sc in computer science. ;)

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closed as off topic by Canadian Luke, Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, Dave M, Breakthrough, Karan Jun 15 '13 at 0:29

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What communication systems are available in the area of "The Middle Of Nowhere"? In case only GSM/SMS you have to look for an app that sends the position using SMS. –  Robert Jun 14 '13 at 14:37
    
Ah, right. Pretty much our whole province has 3G cell phone coverage. Mostly because we have a government-run telecom, which helps keep services good and competitive, instead of letting in a monopoly. So, SMS is possible, but most of our guys can get onto the internet from their phones, even if it's as slow as dial-up, or they have to stand on top of their truck for a few minutes. –  E.T. Jun 14 '13 at 15:00

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Glympse would seem to be a good solution for your use case.

First, it's available for Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, and Blackberry.

Second, when you send someone a "Glympse", you can define how long they can monitor your location. Once that time is up the observer is cut off.

Third, you can "request a Glympse". If someone hasn't checked in in a while, you can ping them to update their location.

It's a consumer product, and it'll require some training (and changed habits) but it seems like it would work for you.

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This largely seems to work from testing it in the office. Now all that remains is to see if the supervisors would actually go through the effort of pushing a couple buttons, mostly for my benefit. :) –  E.T. Jun 14 '13 at 17:00

If your crew uses Android Smartphones (Or possibly Windows and iOS as well, although I'm not certain if they have the capability) you can do this using Google Maps, provided there is cell coverage. If you enable Latitude, you can set up a Friends list of other people that can see your location at any given time. You can use it to track individual people, so if an individual moves between crews, you can see that. It's a free option, but there may be some concerns if you ask them to use their personal phones for this.

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Latitude, Moby, Glympse –  William Jackson Jun 14 '13 at 15:14

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