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Title:
FREE TRACKING
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2009/109736
Kind Code:
A3
Abstract:
A mobile apparatus (40) comprising a GPS device and a tracking module, the tracking module comprising: a GPS device manager for activating the GPS device in order to obtain GPS satellite signals, for transferring the GPS satellite signals to a location determination device for determining a location of the mobile apparatus, and for transferring the determined location data of the mobile apparatus to a tracking system for tracking the location of the mobile apparatus.

Inventors:
MURRAY JAMES (GB)
Application Number:
GB2009/000420
Publication Date:
April 29, 2010
Filing Date:
February 12, 2009
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
MOBILE TRACKING LTD (GB)
MURRAY JAMES (GB)
International Classes:
H04L29/08; G08B21/22; G08B25/10
Domestic Patent References:
WO2006122004A12006-11-16
Foreign References:
US20070229350A12007-10-04
GB2322248A1998-08-19
US20050184875A12005-08-25
US20050024202A12005-02-03
US6243039B12001-06-05
US6618593B12003-09-09
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HILL, Justin, John et al. (7 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 3AR, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:

CLAIMS

1. A mobile apparatus comprising a GPS device and a tracking module, the tracking module comprising: a GPS device manager for activating the GPS device, in order to obtain GPS satellite signals, for transferring the GPS satellite signals to a location determination device for determining a location of the mobile apparatus, and for transferring the determined location data of the mobile apparatus to a tracking system for tracking the location of the mobile apparatus.

2. The mobile apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the tracking module further comprises: a storage device for storing predetermined tracking periods, and wherein the GPS device manager activates the GPS device during the predetermined tracking periods.

3. The mobile apparatus according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the tracking module further comprises: a storage device for storing predetermined tracking intervals, and wherein the GPS device manager activates the GPS device at the predetermined tracking intervals.

4. The mobile apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the. GPS device manager activates the GPS device in response to a location request signal from the tracking system.

5. The mobile apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the GPS device manager activates the GPS device in response to a location request signal from a user of the mobile apparatus.

6. The mobile apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein the GPS device manager transfers the determined location data together with an associated mobile apparatus identification data to the tracking system.

7. The mobile apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 6, wherein the tracking module further comprises: a movement detection device for determining if the mobile apparatus is moving.

8. The mobile apparatus according to claim 7, wherein in response to a movement signal from the- movement detection device the GPS device manager activates the GPS device.

9. The mobile apparatus according to claim 7 or 8, wherein in response to a movement signal from the movement detection device the GPS device manager determines whether the location of the mobile apparatus is to be determined and then activates the GPS device.

10. The mobile apparatus according to any one of claims 7 to 9, wherein in response to a movement signal from the movement detection device the GPS device manager transfers a movement signal to the tracking system and the GPS device manager activates the GPS device in response to a location request from the tracking system.

11. The mobile apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 1O 7 wherein the tracking module further comprises: a location storage device, and wherein the GPS device manager stores the determined location data in the location storage device.

12. The mobile apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 11, wherein the tracking module further comprises: a route calculator for determining a route of the mobile apparatus based on at least two determined location data.

13. The mobile apparatus according to claim 12, wherein the route calculator determines a speed at which the mobile apparatus is travelling and/or a direction in which the mobile

apparatus is travelling and/or an altitude at which the mobile apparatus is travelling based on at least two determined location data.

14. The mobile apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 13, further comprising: a user interface for displaying the location data.

15. The mobile apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 14, further comprising: a user interface for displaying GPS satellite data.

16. The mobile apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 15, wherein the GPS device manager deactivates the GPS device when the GPS device cannot obtain at least three GPS satellite signals after a predetermined number of polls.

17. The mobile apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 16, wherein the GPS device manager compares the determined location data of the mobile apparatus with previously determined location data of the mobile apparatus to determine if the mobile apparatus has moved location, and transfers the determined location data of the mobile apparatus to the tracking system if the mobile apparatus has moved location.

IS. The mobile apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 17, wherein the GPS device manager compares the determined location data of the mobile apparatus with previously determined location data of the mobile apparatus to determine if the mobile apparatus has substantially moved location, and transfers the determined location data of the mobile apparatus to the tracking system if the mobile apparatus has substantially moved location.

19. A tracking system for tracking the location of a mobile apparatus comprising a GPS device, the tracking system comprising: a communications interface for receiving GPS location data and associated mobile apparatus identification data from a mobile apparatus; a location storage device for storing the received GPS location data and associated mobile apparatus identification data;

a tracking processor for tracking the location of the mobile apparatus based on at least two received GPS location data; an remote tracker interface for displaying the tracked location of the mobile apparatus at a remote terminal; and an internet communications link coupling the remote tracker interface to the tracking processor.

20. The tracking system according to claim 19, wherein the communications interface is capable of transferring a location request signal from the tracking system to the mobile apparatus.

21. The tracking system according to claim 19 or 20, further comprising: a storage device for storing predetermined tracking periods associated with the mobile apparatus identification data, and wherein the communications interface is capable of transferring a location request signal from the tracking system to the mobile apparatus during the predetermined tracking periods.

22. The tracking system according to any one of claims 19 to 21, further comprising: a storage device for storing predetermined tracking intervals associated with the mobile apparatus identification data, and wherein the communications interface is capable of transferring a location request signal from the tracking system to the mobile apparatus at the predetermined tracking intervals.

23. The tracking system according to any one of claims 19 to 22, further comprising: a tracker storage device for storing tracker identification data associated with at least one mobile apparatus identification data, and wherein the received GPS location data and associated mobile apparatus identification data is associated with tracker identification data prior to storage in the location storage device.

24. The tracking system according to any one of claims 19 to 23, further comprising:

a map storage device for storing maps, and wherein the remote tracker interface displays the tracked location of the mobile apparatus on a map retrieved from the map storage device.

25. The tracking system according to any one of claims 19 to 24, wherein the remote tracker interface displays the tracked location of the mobile apparatus on a map retrieved from a map storage device.

26. The tracking system according to any one of claims 19 to 25, further comprising: a landmark storage device for storing a landmark associated with the mobile apparatus identification data.

27. The tracking system according to claim 26, further comprising: an alert device for transferring an alert to a tracker associated with the mobile apparatus when the mobile apparatus is at, or leaves the landmark.

28. The tracking system according to any one of claims 19 to 27, further comprising: a geofence storage device for storing a geofence associated with the mobile apparatus identification data.

29. The tracking system according to claim 28, further comprising: an alert device for transferring an alert to a tracker associated with the mobile apparatus when the mobile apparatus enters or exits the geofence.

30. A mobile apparatus as hereinbefore described and with reference to any of figures 1 to 6.

31. A tracking system as hereinbefore described and with reference to any of figures 1 to 6.

Description:

FREE TRACKING

TECHNICAL FIELD

The invention relates to the field of tracking personnel.

BACKGROUND

It is desirable in certain circumstances to be able to track individuals. For example, an employer may wish to track the movements of an employee during working hours, a parent may wish to track the movements of a child, or a child may wish to track the movements of an elderly parent.

Known systems for tracking individuals involve the individual being tracked (the "trackee") carry a tracking device.

These systems are not very popular as the trackee may forget to take the tracking device with them, or may not want to take the tracking device with them since the tracking device is a separate device which must be carried by the trackee. Consequently, it is desirable to provide a tracking device in a device already carried by an individual, such as a mobile telephone, a personal digital assistant (PDA), a laptop computer, or a personal music player etc.

Known tracking systems provide a tracking device incorporated into a cellular mobile phone. However, these tracking systems use known cell location techniques in order to determine the location of the trackee. Cell location lacks accuracy and can only provide a general location of the trackee, not a specific location. Consequently, such systems have limited application.

The invention aims to provide a tracking system having a tracking device provided in a device already carried by an individual, such as a mobile telephone, a PDA, a laptop computer, or a personal music player etc. that is more accurate than known devices.

SUMMARY

According to one embodiment of the invention a mobile apparatus comprising a GPS device and a tracking module is provided. The tracking module comprising: a GPS device manager for activating the GPS device in order to obtain GPS satellite signals, for transferring the GPS satellite signals to a location determination device for determining a location of the mobile apparatus, and for transferring the determined location data of the mobile apparatus to a tracking system for tracking the location of the mobile apparatus.

According to another embodiment of the invention the tracking module further comprises: a storage device for storing predetermined tracking periods, and wherein the GPS device manager activates the GPS device during the predetermined tracking periods.

According to another embodiment of the invention the tracking module further comprises: a storage device for storing predetermined tracking intervals, and wherein the GPS device manager activates the GPS device at the predetermined tracking intervals.

According to another embodiment of the invention the predetermined tracking intervals comprises at least one of: once every minute, once every five minutes, once every hour and once every day.

According to another embodiment of the invention the GPS device manager activates the GPS device in response to a location request signal from the tracking system.

According to another embodiment of the invention the GPS device manager activates the GPS device in response to a location request signal from a user of the mobile apparatus.

According to another embodiment of the invention the GPS device manager transfers the determined location data together with an associated mobile apparatus identification data to the tracking system.

According to another embodiment of the invention the tracking module further comprises: a movement detection device for determining if the mobile apparatus is moving.

According to another embodiment of the invention in response to a movement signal from the movement detection device the GPS device manager activates the GPS device.

According to another embodiment of the invention in response to a movement signal from the movement detection device the GPS device manager determines whether the location of the mobile apparatus is to be determined and then activates the GPS device.

According to another embodiment of the invention in response to a movement signal from the movement detection device the GPS device manager transfers a movement signal to the tracking system and the GPS device manager activates the GPS device in response to a location request from the tracking system.

According to another embodiment of the invention the tracking module further comprises: a location storage device, and wherein the GPS device manager stores the determined location data in the location storage device.

According to another embodiment of the invention the tracking module further comprises: a location storage device, and wherein the GPS device manager stores the determined location data in the location storage device prior to transferring the determined location data to the tracking system.

According to another embodiment of the invention the tracking module further comprises: a route calculator for determining a route of the mobile apparatus based on at least two determined location data.

According to another embodiment of the invention the route calculator determines the speed at which the mobile apparatus is travelling based on at least two determined location data.

According to another embodiment of the invention the route calculator determines the direction in which the mobile apparatus is travelling based on at least two determined location data.

According to another embodiment of the invention the route calculator determines altitude at which the mobile apparatus is travelling based on at least two determined location data.

According to another embodiment of the invention the mobile apparatus further comprises: a user interface for displaying the location data.

According to another embodiment of the invention the mobile apparatus further comprises: a user interface for displaying GPS satellite data.

According to another embodiment of the invention the GPS device manager deactivates the GPS device when the GPS device cannot obtain at least three GPS satellite signals after a predetermined number of polls.

According to another embodiment of the invention the GPS device manager compares the determined location data of the mobile apparatus with previously determined location data of the mobile apparatus to determine if the mobile apparatus has moved location, and transfers the determined location data of the mobile apparatus to the tracking system if the mobile apparatus has moved location.

According to another embodiment of the invention the GPS device manager compares the determined location data of the mobile apparatus with previously determined location data of the mobile apparatus to determine if the mobile apparatus has substantially moved location, and transfers the determined location data of the mobile apparatus to the tracking system if the mobile apparatus has substantially moved location.

According to another embodiment of the invention the tracking module comprises the location determination device.

According to another embodiment of the invention a tracking system for tracking the location of a mobile apparatus comprising a GPS device is provided. The tracking system comprising: a communications interface for receiving GPS location data and associated mobile apparatus identification data from a mobile apparatus; a location storage device for storing the received GPS location data and associated mobile apparatus identification data; a tracking processor for tracking the location of the mobile apparatus based on at least two location data; an remote tracker interface for displaying the tracked location of the mobile apparatus at a remote terminal; and an internet communications link coupling the remote tracker interface to the tracking processor.

According to another embodiment of the invention the mobile apparatus identification data comprises the mobile apparatus SIM card number or the mobile apparatus telephone number.

According to another embodiment of the invention the communications interface is capable of transferring a location request signal from the tracking system to the mobile apparatus.

According to another embodiment of the invention the tracking system further comprises: a storage device for storing predetermined tracking periods associated with the mobile apparatus identification data, and wherein the communications interface is capable of transferring a location request signal from the tracking system to the mobile apparatus during the predetermined tracking periods.

According to another embodiment of the invention the tracking system further comprises: a storage device for storing predetermined tracking intervals associated with the mobile apparatus identification data, and wherein the communications interface is capable of transferring a location request signal from the tracking system to the mobile apparatus at the predetermined tracking intervals.

According to another embodiment of the invention the tracking system further comprises: a tracker storage device for storing tracker identification data associated with at least one mobile apparatus identification data, and wherein the received GPS location data and associated mobile apparatus identification data is associated with tracker identification data prior to storage in the location storage device.

According to another embodiment of the invention the tracking system further comprises: a map storage device for storing maps, and wherein the remote tracker interface displays the tracked location of the mobile apparatus on a map retrieved from the map storage device.

According to another embodiment of the invention the remote tracker interface displays the tracked location of the mobile apparatus on a map retrieved from a map storage device.

According to another embodiment of the invention the tracking system further comprises: a landmark storage device for storing a landmark associated with mobile apparatus identification data and the tracker identification data.

According to another embodiment of the invention the tracking system further comprises: an alert device for transferring an alert to the tracker associated with mobile apparatus when the mobile apparatus is at, or leaves the landmark.

According to another embodiment of the invention the tracking system further comprises: a geofence storage device for storing a geofence associated with mobile apparatus identification data and tracker identification data.

According to another embodiment of the invention the tracking system further comprises: an alert device for transferring an alert to the tracker associated with mobile apparatus when the mobile apparatus enters or exits the geofence.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a better understanding of the invention and to show how the same may be carried into effect, reference will now be made by way of example only to the accompanying drawings:

Figure 1 illustrates an overall system of the invention;

Figure 2 illustrates one embodiment of a tracking device of the invention;

Figure 3 illustrates one embodiment of a tracking server of the invention;

Figure 4 illustrates schematically a process for obtaining a location of a tracking device of the invention;

Figure 5A illustrates a table of data received from a tracking device of the invention;

Figure 5B illustrates graphically the data provided in the table of figure 5A; and

Figure 6 illustrates a screen shot showing the position of a located tracking device of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Embodiments of the invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings.

The invention relates to a system for tracking individuals. Tracking means to determine the location of an individual at at least two points in time (in real time or near real time). In one embodiment, the tracking may be performed continuously.

Figure 1 illustrates the main components of the system. As illustrated in figure I 1 a user (tracker) is able to track an individual (trackee) using a tracker's device 20 and a trackee's device 40. In one embodiment, the tracker's device 20 is a computer. However, in another embodiment, the tracker's device 20 may be, for example, a mobile telephone, a PDA, or a portable music player etc. The trackee's device 40 may be, for example, a mobile telephone, a PDA, or a portable music player etc.

In one embodiment, the trackee's device 40 comprises a GPS device. In another embodiment, the trackee's device 40 may be provided with a GPS device after manufacture.

The system of the invention further comprises a tracking server 30, which communicates with both the tracker's device 20 and the trackee's device 40 via the internet 10.

In one embodiment, the trackee's device 40 is an existing mobile device of the trackee, adapted for use with the system of the invention. Thus, no separate tracking device is required by the system of the invention.

Figure 2 illustrates the main components of the trackee's device 40. In the embodiment illustrated in figure 2, the trackee's device 40 comprises a GPS device 402, a transmitter/receiver 404, an user interface 406, a processor 408 and a power supply 410. The trackee's device 40 may also comprise additional components which are not detailed in this application such as, for example, a memory, a camera, and/or a music player etc. Since the trackee's device 40 is a conventional device, no further description of its workings are provided.

In one embodiment of the invention, a tracking application 42 is provided on the trackee's device 40. The tracking application 42 may be downloaded from the tracking server 30, or may be provided at the trackee's device 40 using another method, for example, the tracking application 42 may be provided on a CD or memory stick for transfer to the trackee's device 40.

The tracking application 42 comprises an interface to the trackee's device 422, a GPS device manager 424, a storage device 426, and a storage device manager 428. The tracking application 42 interacts with the components of the trackee's device 40, such as the GPS device 402, the transmitter/receiver 404, the user interface 406, the processor 408 and the power supply 410. For example, the tracking application 42 uses power from the power supply 410 of the trackee's device 40.

In order to determine the trackee's location, the GPS device manager 424 provides a "begin tracking" instruction signal to the GPS device 402 via the interface 422, to activate the GPS device 402. The GPS device 402 begins tracking. In order to determine the location of the trackee's device 40, the GPS device 402 requires a signal from at least three GPS satellites.

As conventionally known in the art GPS satellites each continually transmit signals containing the current time at the start of the signal, and parameters to calculate the location of the GPS satellite transmitting the signal. The signals travel at a known speed.

In one embodiment, the GPS device 402 receives a signal from at least three GPS satellites and transfers the arrival time of each signal from each of the GPS satellites to a remote GPS analysis, server (not illustrated) via the transmitter/receiver 404. The GPS analysis server comprises a location determination device which uses the arrival time of each signal to compute the distance to each GPS satellite, and then uses the at least three distance(s) to determine the coordinates of the trackee's device 40 using geometry and trigonometry. The GPS analysis server transfers the coordinates back to the GPS device 402 via the transmitter/receiver 404. In another embodiment, the GPS analysis, server is able to determine the address at which the trackee's device 40 is located, in addition to the coordinates.

In another embodiment, the remote GPS analysis server comprises Assisted GPS (A-GPS). A- GPS can be used when the trackee's device 40 is subject to poor signal conditions, for example when surrounded by tall buildings, when indoors or when under trees in order to aid determination of the location of the trackee's device 40

In order to aid determination of the location of the trackee's device 40 the GPS analysis server comprising A-GPS locates the phone roughly by determining what cell site it is connected to on the cellular network, as known in the art. In addition, the GPS analysis server is provided at a site with a good GPS satellite signal, therefore, the GPS analysis server can compare fragmentary signals provided by the trackee's device 40, with the satellite signal it receives directly, and then inform the trackee's device 40 of it location.

The use of a remote GPS analysis server is advantageous since the computations to determine the trackee's location are performed on the remote server, thus reducing the amount of computation ability required at the trackee's device 40. In addition, GPS devices are not conventionally used for tracking as a result of the amount of power required in order to determine the trackee's location. However, since the computations are performed at the GPS analysis server, the amount of power required at the trackee's device 40 for location determination (and thus tracking) is kept to a minimum.

In another embodiment, the GPS device 402 receives a signal from at least three GPS satellites and transfers the arrival time of each signal from each of the GPS satellites to a location determination device 430 via the GPS device manager 424. The location determination device 430 uses the arrival time of each signal to compute the distance to each GPS satellite, and then uses the at least three distance(s) to determine the location of the trackee's device 40 as coordinates using geometry and trigonometry.

In another embodiment, the GPS device 402 receives a signal from at least three GPS satellites and transfers the arrival time of each signal from each of the GPS satellites to the server 30 via the GPS device manager 424. The server 30 comprises a location determination device (not illustrated) which uses the arrival time of each signal to compute the distance to each GPS satellite, and then uses the at least three distance(s) to determine the location of the trackee's device 40 as coordinates using geometry and trigonometry. Therefore, the computations are not performed at the trackee's device.

In one embodiment, the GPS device 402 can also provide information to the trackee, via the user interface 406 regarding the GPS satellite status, such a how many GPS satellite signals the GPS device 402 is currently receiving, how many GPS satellite signals the GPS device 402 was previously receiving, and the strength of each of the GPS satellite signals. This information can be used to encourage the trackee to move to a position which has greater satellite signals, such as by the window of a building etc.

Location data comprising the coordinates/address of the trackee's device 40 together with the associated time and date the trackee's device 40 was at the coordinates/address is transferred (from the location determination device) to the GPS device manager 424. The GPS device manager 424 stores this location data in the storage device 426. The location data is then transferred to the tracking server 30 via the transmitter/receiver 404. Consequently, if the trackee's device 40 does not have a signal, in order to transfer the location data immediately to the server 30, then the location data is not lost.

In one embodiment, the storage device 426 only stores the location data until it has been successfully transferred to the tracking server 30. In another embodiment, the storage device 426 stores the location data for a predetermined period of time, such as for one day, one week, one month etc. In another embodiment, GPS device manager 424 does not store the location data in the storage device 426 and instead transfers it straight to the server 30.

In one embodiment, the storage device 426 is a temporary storage device and new location data is written over previous location data, once the previous location data has been transferred to the server 30.

In one embodiment, the location of the trackee may be required at predetermined tracking intervals, such as, for example once every minute, once every five minutes, once every hour etc. In one embodiment, the predetermined interval is 10 minutes. In this embodiment, for example, the GPS device 402 is activated by the GPS device manager 424, the location of the trackee's device is determined and the GPS device 402 is deactivated by the GPS device manager 424. Then after an interval of 10 minutes the GPS device 402 is activated by the

GPS device manager 424, the location of the trackee's device is determined and the GPS device 402 is deactivated by the GPS device manager 424 etc.

In another embodiment, the tracking application 42, or the server 30 comprises a route calculator (not illustrated). The route calculator utilises the location data (the determined coordinates/address of the trackee's device 40 together with the associated time and date) to determine, for example, the speed at which the trackee is travelling; the direction in which the trackee is travelling; and/or the altitude at which the trackee is travelling. In order to determine the speed, direction, and/or altitude of the trackee, the route calculator requires at least two location data.

Figure 5A illustrates a table including five location data's received by the route calculator. The location of the trackee is given as a coordinate. At location data 1 on 05/02/2008 the trackee is at location [1, 1, 1] at 13:00 hours. The trackee then moves to location [2, 1, 1] at 13:15 hours (location data 2), to location [2, 3, 1] at 13:30 hours (location data 3), to location [3, 4, 2] at 13:45 hours (location data 4), and to location [5, 5, 3] at 14.00 hours (location data 5). The path that the trackee takes is illustrated two dimensionally in figure 5B. Figure 5B dqes not illustrate movements in the Z direction.

The distance travelled between location data 1 and location data 5 can be determined from the coordinates by the route calculator. In addition, the time taken to travel between location data 1 and location data 5 can be determined by the route calculator. Once the distance travelled and time taken have been determined, the route calculator can then determine the speed of travel as known in the art. In addition, the coordinates can be used to determine the direction of travel. Furthermore, the coordinates (in this example the Z coordinate) can be used to determine the altitude of travel.

In another embodiment, the route calculator may predict the route the trackee is taking based on the previous location data and the trackee's location history. For example, if the trackee travels the same route to work every day it is likely that the trackee will take the same route the next working day.

As stated above, the GPS device 402 requires a signal from at least three GPS satellites in order to determine the location of the trackee's device 40. If the GPS device 402 cannot detect a signal from three GPS satellites, then the GPS device 402 keeps polling until it can detect a signal from at least three GPS satellites. This constant polling drains power from the power supply 410.

In one embodiment, in order to reduce the amount of power used by the GPS device 402, if the GPS device 402 cannot detect a signal from three GPS satellites, then the GPS device 402 only polls a predetermined number of times (in one example five times). If the GPS device 402 cannot detect a signal from three GPS satellites within the predetermined number of polls, then the GPS device 402 is deactivated by the GPS device manager 424, regardless of the fact that the location of the trackee's device 40 was . not determined. This arrangement prevents the GPS device 402 from excessively draining power from the power supply 410. .

In one embodiment, the storage device 426 stores data regarding the tracking intervals, so that the GPS device manager 424 activates and deactivates the GPS device 402 when required. In another embodiment, the storage device 426 also stores data regarding a predetermined tracking time period (tracking period) within which the trackee is to be tracked. For example, the trackee may be an employee and may be tracked between 09:00 hours and 17:00 hours by an employer.

As stated above, in order to detect the location of the trackee, the GPS device 402 is activated on demand or at predetermined intervals. Once the location of the trackee has been determined, the location of the trackee is transferred to the server 30.

However, the transferring of location data every predetermined interval can result in an expensive usage bill for the trackee, since each transfer of data can incur a fee. In addition, the transferring of location data every predetermined interval drains power from the power supply. Therefore, in one embodiment, following storage of the location data in the storage device 426, the GPS device manger 424, compares the new location data with the previous

location data, and if it is determined that the trackee's device 40 has not moved location, then the GPS device manager 424 does not initiate transfer of the new location data to the server 30.

In another embodiment, the GPS device manger 424, compares the new location data with the previous location data, and if it is determined that the trackee's device 40 has not substantially moved location (for example, the trackee's device 40 has not moved more than 10 meters from the previous location), then the GPS device manager 424 does not initiate transfer of the new location data to the server 30.

In another embodiment, the trackee initiates the transfer of the new location data to the server 30. For example, the trackee's device 40 may comprise a "send location" button (not illustrated). When the trackee activates this button, the trackee's location is transferred to the server 30 as an "AddCurrentLocation" request. In one embodiment, the trackee's location is transferred as a latitude and longitude together with the tracking device's identifier (for example the tracking device's phone number).

The following is a sample SOAP 1.1 "AddCurrentLocation" request and response. The placeholders shown should be replaced with actual values.

POST /FTService/LocationService.asmx HTTP/1.1

Host: 213.167.72.94

Content-Type: text/xml; charset=utf-8

Content-Length: length

SOAPAction: "https://www.FreeTracking.com/FTService/AddCurrentLocation"

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

<soap:Envelope xmlns:xsi="http://www. w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema" xm!ns:soap="http.y/schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/"> <soap:Body>

<AddCurrentLocation xmlns="https://www.FreeTracking.com/FTService/"> <phoneNumber>string</phoneNumber> <latitude>double</latitude> <longitude>double</longitude> </AddCurrentLocation> </soap:Body> </soap:Envelope> HTTP/1.1 200 OK

Content-Type: text/xml; charset=utf-8 Content-Length: length

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

<soap:Envelope xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema" xmlns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/"> <soap:Body>

<AddCurrentLocationResponse xmlns="https://www.FreeTracking.com/FTService/"> <AddCurrentLocationResult>

<Status>OK or NotAuthenticated or ValidationError or Error</Status> ^rackinglnterva^string^Trackingfntervafc <ExceptionType>strlng</ExceptionType> <M essage>string</M essage> <CsvContent>.string</CsvContent> </AddCurrentLocationResult> </AddCurrentLocationResponse> </soap:Body> </soap:Envelope>

In one embodiment, the tracking application 42 also comprises a movement detection device (not illustrated). The movement detection device can detect if the trackee's device 40 is being moved, and thus if it is stationary. If the movement detection device determines

that the trackee's device 40 is moving, then the movement detection device informs the GPS device manager 424. The GPS device manager 424 then actives the GPS device 402.

In another embodiment, the movement detection device can detect if the trackee's device 40 is being moved substantially (for example, if movement is detected for a period greater than one minute). If the movement detection device determines that the trackee's device 40 is moving substantially, then the movement detection device informs the GPS device manager 424. The GPS device manager 424 then actives the GPS device 402.

In another embodiment, if the movement detection device determines that the trackee's device 40 is moving or moving substantially, then the movement detection device informs the GPS device manager 424. However, the GPS device manager 424 does not automatically activate the GPS device 402. The GPS device manager 424 determines whether the trackee's location is to be determined, for example, has the server 30 requested the trackee's location, or is the current time within a predetermined tracking time period. If the GPS device manager 424 determines that the trackee's location should be determined, then the GPS device manager 424 activates the GPS device 402.

In another embodiment, if the movement detection device determines that the trackee's device 40 is moving or moving substantially, then the movement detection device informs the GPS device manager 424. However, the GPS device manager 424 does not automatically activate the GPS device 402. The GPS device manager 424 determines, based on information received from the server 30, whether the trackee's device 40 should be moving or moving substantially, for example the trackee is a child who should be in school between the times of 9:00 and 15:30. If the GPS device manager 424 determines that the trackee's location should be determined, then the GPS device manager 424 activates the GPS device 4Q2.

In another embodiment, if the movement detection device determines that the trackee's device 40 is moving or moving substantially, then the movement detection device informs the GPS device manager 424. The GPS device manager 424 then initiates a signal being sent to the server 30, notifying the server 30 that the trackee's device is moving or moving

substantially and requesting instructions as to whether the trackee's location should be determined. If the server 30 requests that the trackee's location should be determined then the GPS device manager 424 activates the GPS device 402.

Consequently, only when it is determined that the trackee is moving or moving substantially is the trackee's location determined.

In one embodiment, in order to prevent unnecessarily draining the power supply 410, the tracking application 42 is only activated when the trackee is to be tracked. In this embodiment, the tracking application 42 may be in a "power saving" mode running in the background on the trackee's device 40, and receipt of a request for tracking from the server 30 or after the predetermined tracking interval has passed, the tracking application 42 is activated.

In another embodiment, the tracking application 42 is turned off. Therefore, receipt of a request for tracking from the server 30 turns on the tracking application 42. Alternatively, receipt of a request for tracking from the server 30 results in a message to the trackee being displayed at the user interface 406 requesting that the trackee turns on the tracking application 42.

In one embodiment, initiation of the tracking application 42 sends a "GetWhoTracksMe" request to the server 30 for tracker information. The server 30 replies, for example, by sending to the tracking application 42 the following data: tracker ID; tracker name (first name and last name); tracker phone number; status; and tracking interval. The status can be A (accepted), D (declined), or N (not confirmed yet).

The following is a sample SOAP 1.1 "GetWhoTracksMe" request and response upon initiation of the tracking application 42. The placeholders shown should be replaced with actual values.

POST /FTService/LocationService.asmx HTTP/1.1

Host: 213.167.72.94

Content-Type: text/xml; charset=utf-8

Content-Length: length

SOAPAction: "https://www.FreeTracking.com/FTService/GetWhoTracksMe"

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

<soap:Envelope xmϊns:xsi="http://www. w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema" xmlns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/"> <soap:Body>

<GetWhoTracksMe xmlns="https://www.FreeTracking.com/FTService/"> <phoneNumber>string</phoneNumber> </GetWhoTracksMe> </soap:Body> </soap:Envelope> HTTP/1.1 200 OK

Content-Type: text/xml; charset=utf-8 Content-Length: length

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

<soap:Envelope xmlns:xsi="http://www. w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema" xmlns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/"> <soap:Body>

<GetWhoTracksMeResponse xmlns="https://www.FreeTracking.com/FTService/"> ■ <GetWhoTracksMeResult>

<Status>OK or NotAuthenticated or ValidationError or Error</Status>

<Trackinglnterval>string</Trackinglnterval>

<ExceptionType>string</ExceptionType>

<Message>string</Message>

<CsvContent>string</CsvContent>

</GetWhoTracksMeResult> </GetWhoTracksMeResponse> </soap:Body> </soap:Envelope>

Following receipt of the tracker information and tracking interval and response, the tracking application 42 transfers to the server 30 location data (for example as a latitude and longitude together with the tracking device's phone number) at the required intervals.

The following is a sample SOAP 1.1 "AddLocation" request and response. The placeholders shown should be replaced with actual values.

POST /FTService/LocationService.asmx HTTP/1.1

Host: 213.167.72.94

Content-Type: text/xml; charset=utf-8

Content-Length: length

SOAPAction: "https://www.FreeTracking.com/FTService/AddLqcation"

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

<soap:Envelope xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:xsd="http.y/www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema" xm!ns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/"> <soap:Body>

<AddLocation xmlns="https://www.FreeTracking.com/FTService/"> <phoneNumber>string</phoneNumber> <latitude>double</latitude> <longitude>double</longitude> </AddLocation> </soap:Body> </soap:Envelope> HTTP/1.1 200 OK

Content-Type: text/xml; charset=utf-8 Content-Length: length

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

<soap:Envelope xmlns:xsi="http://www. w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema" xmlns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/"> <soap:Body>

<AddLocationResponse xmlns="https://www.FreeTracking.com/FTService/"> <AddLocationResult>

<Status>OK or NotAuthenticated or ValidationError or Error</Status> <Trackinglnterval>strfng</Trackinglnterval> <ExceptionType>string</ExceptionType> <Message>string</Message> <CsvContent>string</CsvContent> </Add Location Result> </AddLocationResponse> </soap:Body> </soap:Envelope>

Figure 4 illustrates schematically a process for obtaining location data from a trackee's mobile device 40. In one embodiment, the server 30 sends a request for location data to the trackee's device 40 (step SlOO). The request is received by the transmitter/receiver 404 of the trackee's device 40 and transferred to the tracking application 42 via the interface 422. The GPS device manager 424 then activates the GPS device 402 (step S102).

The GPS device manager 424 may activate the GPS device 402 at predetermined tracking intervals following receipt of a request for location data at step SlOO. In another embodiment, the GPS device manager 424 may activate the GPS device 402 at predetermined tracking intervals (stored in the storage device 426) without a request for location data, in this embodiment there is no step SlOO.

Once activated the GPS device 402 receives signals from at least three different GPS satellites (step S104).

In one embodiment the signals from the at least three different GPS satellites are transferred to a GPS analysis server (step S106A), the GPS analysis server determines the location of the trackee's device 40 (step S106B) and the GPS analysis server transfers the location of the trackee's device 40 to the GPS device 402 (step S106C).

In another embodiment the signals from the at least three different GPS satellites are transferred to a location determination device 430 (at the tracking application 42) (step S106I), and the location determination device 430 determines the location of the trackee's device 40 (step siθ6ll).

The location data (the location of the trackee's device 40 together with the associated time and date) is then transferred to the GPS device manager 424 (at step S108). In one embodiment, the GPS device manager 424 stores the location data in the storage device 426 (step SIlO). Finally, the location data is transferred to the tracking server 30 via the internet 10 (step S112). However, in another embodiment, the location data may be transferred straight to the tracking server and not saved in the storage device 416.

Figure 3 illustrates schematically the main components of the server 30 of the invention. The server can communicate with several different servers/trackers/tracking applications 42 via a communications gateway 324. For example, a tracker can access the server 30 via the website interface 306 and the internet 10 in order to set up a tracking account with the server 30 and/or track a trackee. The components of the server are all controlled by a processor (not illustrated) as known in the art.

In one embodiment, the tracker is required to enter personal data such as their name address, and/or financial transaction card details in order to set-up a tracking account. The tracker may also be required to create a user name and/or password, however, other

security systems, such as soft tokens may be used. The tracker's personal data is stored in a tracker data storage device 310.

In another embodiment, the trackee can also set up a tracking account with the server 30, such that the location of the trackee can be monitored by trackers at the server 30. In one embodiment, the trackee can select to have either a public or private tracking account at the server 30. If the trackee selects a private tracking account, then only authorized trackers can view the trackee's location. Alternatively, if the trackee selects a public tracking account, then unauthorized trackers can view the trackee's location.

In order to begin tracking, a tracker is required to input, at least, a trackee's mobile device telephone number or some other form of identification data of the trackee's mobile device 40, such as the trackee's mobile devices SIM card number. In one embodiment, the trackee's mobile device telephone number is entered in the international format (e.g. +44 (0) **** ****** f or tne UK ) Tne hackee's mobile device identification data is stored in the tracking settings storage device 302. In one embodiment, the tracker can track any number of trackee devices and thus is required to input, at least, identification data of each of the trackee mobile devices 40 to be tracked.

In one embodiment, when a tracker registers a trackee's device 40 for tracking, the tracker is asked their relationship with the trackee, for example employer, parent, child, relative, partner etc.

Once a tracker has registered with the server 30 and entered, at least, identification data for a trackee's mobile device 40, then tracking can be initiated. In one embodiment, the server 30 sends a message to the trackee's device 40 (such as SMS, MMS, email, voice mail, WAP message etc.). The message provides a link to the server 30, which, if activated enables the tracking application 42 to be downloaded from the tracking application storage device 320 at the server 30 to the trackee's device 40.

In one embodiment, the tracking application storage device 320 comprises a plurality of versions of the tracking application 42, and the version which is downloaded is dependent on the make and/or model of the trackee's device 40. The make and/or model of the trackee's device 40 can either be defined by the tracker when inputting the identification data of the trackee's mobile device 40, or can be provided by the trackee in reply to the server's message.

In another embodiment, the trackee's device 40 may be provided with the tracking application 42 at manufacture, or the tracking application 42 may be provided on a storage device to be uploaded onto the trackee's device 40 by the trackee.

In one embodiment, the tracking application is stored in the memory (not illustrated) of the trackee's device 40.

In another embodiment, updated versions of the tracking application 42, or updates for the tracking application 42 can be downloaded to the trackee's device 40 from the server 30.

In one embodiment, a message sent from the server 30 to the trackee's device 40 sets out that the tracker wishes to track the trackee, and the trackee must consent to be tracked in order for tracking to begin. If the trackee does not consent to be tracked then the server 30 will not track the trackee. In one embodiment, the tracker is notified if a trackee refuses to be tracked.

In another embodiment, the trackee is required to consent to be tracked at predetermined intervals. For example, the trackee may be sent a message, approximately once every two day, requesting that they consent to be tracked. In another embodiment, the message requesting that the trackee consents to be tracked is sent from the server 30 at random intervals.

In one embodiment, when a trackee agrees to be tracked an "UpdateAgreeStatus" request and response may be transferred to/from the server 30. The "UpdateAgreeStatus" request

and response comprises the following parameters: actlD (tracker identifier), phoneNumber (the identifier of the tracking device 40), isAgree (true if the trackee accepts tracking, false if the trackee declines tracking).

The following is a sample SOAP 1.1 "UpdateAgreeStatus" request and response. The placeholders shown should be replaced with actual values.

POST /FTService/LocationService.asmx HTTP/1.1

Host: 213.167.72.94

Content-Type: text/xml; charset=utf-8

Content-Length: length

SOAPAction: "httpsV/www.FreeTracking.com/FTService/UpdateAgreeStatus"

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

<soap:Envelope xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema" xmlns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/"> <soap:Body>

<UpdateAgreeStatus xmlns="https://www.FreeTracking.com/FTService/"> <actld>int</actld>

<phoneNumber>string</phoneNumber> <isAgree>boolean</isAgree> </UpdateAgreeStatus> </soap:Body> </soap:Envelope> HTTP/1.1 200 OK

Content-Type: text/xml; charset=utf-8 Content-Length: length

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

<soap:Envelope xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema" xmlns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/"> <soap:Body>

<UpdateAgreeStatusResponse xmlns="https://www.FreeTracking.com/FTService/"> <UpdateAgreeStatusResult>

<Status>OK or NotAuthenticated or Validation Error or Error</Status> <Tracki ngl nterva I>string</Trackingl nterva l> <ExceptionType>string</ExceptionType> <Message>string</Message> <CsvContent>string</CsvContent> </UpdateAgreeStatusResult> </UpdateAgreeStatusResponse> </soap:Body> </soap:Envelope>

In one embodiment, by consenting to be tracked, the trackee's also consents to be sent advertising messages to their device 40 based on their known current location. For example, if the trackee is determined to be at a location close to a shopping centre, then the trackee may be sent promotions from shops at that shopping centre.

In one embodiment, the tracker can request that the server 30 obtains the trackee's location now. In response to a request for the trackee's location, the server 30 sends a "TrackNow" request to the tracking device. In one embodiment, the server 30 may send a SMS to the tracking device in the format: //CF:req:coords:now:#_actld_#.

The following is a sample SOAP 1.1 a "TrackNow" request and response. The placeholders shown should be replaced with actual values.

The "TrackNow" request and response comprises the following parameters: actlD (tracker identifier), phoneNumber (the identifier of the tracking device 40), latitude and longitude.

POST /FTService/LocationService.asmx HTTP/1.1

Host: 213.167.72.94

Content-Type: text/xml; charset=utf-8

Content-Length: length

SOAPAction: "https://www.FreeTracking.com/FTService/TrackNow"

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

<soap:Envelope xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema" xmlns:soap="http://schemas. xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/"> <soap:Body>

<TrackNow xmlns="https://www. FreeTracking.com/FTService/"> <phoneNumber>string</phoneNumber> <actld>int</actld> <latitude>double</latitude> <longitude>double</longitude> </TrackNow> </soap:Body> </soap:Envelope> HTTP/1.1 200 OK

Content-Type: text/xml; charset=utf-8 Content-Length: length

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

<soap:Envelope xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema" xmlns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/"> <soap:Body>

<TrackNowResponse xmlns="https://www.FreeTracking.com/FTService/"> <TrackNowResult>

<Status>OK or NotAuthenticated or ValidationError or Error</Status> <Trackinglnterval>string</Trackinglnterval> <ExceptionType>string</ExceptionType> <Message>string</Message> <CsvContent>string</CsvContent> </TrackNowResult> </TrackNowResponse> </soap:Body> </soap:Envelope>

In another embodiment, the tracker defines when they wish to track the trackee. For example, the tracker may specify that they wish to track the trackee on a certain date or between certain dates and/or between certain time of days, such that the tracker tracks the trackee on 5 February 2008 between 09:00 hours and 17:00 hours (the tracking period). The tracker can also specify a tracking interval, for example, the trackee's location may be determined once every 10 minutes (the tracking interval). The tracking period and tracking interval are associated with the identification data of the trackee's device 40 which is to be tracked, and are stored in the tracking settings storage device 302.

In one embodiment, for example, if the trackee is to be tracked on week days between 09:00 hours and 17:00 hours at 10 minute intervals, then the server sends a request for location data to the trackee's device 40 at 09:00 hours and then once every 10 minutes until 17:00 hours. In response (providing that the trackee's device is able to receive at least three GPS satellite signals as detailed above) the trackee's device 40 transfers location data together with trackee identification data of the trackee's device 40 to the server 30 at 09:00 hours and then once every 10 minutes thereafter until 17:00 hours, when the last request is received. The server 30 associates the received location and identification data with tracker identification data and stores the received location and identification data together with the tracker identification data in the tracking setting storage device 302.

In another embodiment, for example, if the trackee is to be tracked on week days between 09:00 hours and 17:00 hours at 10 minute intervals, then the server sends a request for location data on weekdays between 09:00 and 17:00 at 10 minute intervals to the trackee's device 40. The tracking application 42 at the trackee's device 40 stores these settings in the storage device 426 and then initiates tracking during the tracking period at the tracking interval set by the tracker. In response (providing that the trackee's device is able to receive at least three GPS satellite signals as detailed above) the trackee's device 40 transfers location data together with trackee identification data of the trackee's device 40 to the server 30 at 09:00 hours and then once every 10 minutes thereafter until 17:00 hours, when the last request is received. The server 30 associates the received location and identification data with tracker identification data and stores the received location and identification data together with the tracker identification data in the tracking setting storage device 302.

In another embodiment, the trackee's device 40 transfers location data together with trackee identification data of the trackee's device 40 to the server 30 at the end of the tracking period, not after each tracking interval.

The tracking settings storage device 302 stores the trackee's location history (the location data for that trackee at each tracking interval). All data transferred to and from the tracking application 42 are transferred via the transmitter/receiver 404 of the trackee's device 40 using systems known in the art.

In one embodiment, the tracker can access the server 30 in order to view the trackee's location history data. In one embodiment, the server 30 illustrates the trackee's location history data together with the current location of the trackee on a map.

In one embodiment, the server 30 comprises a map storage device (not illustrated), which stores maps. The server 30 applies the trackee's location to an appropriate map from the map storage device, such that the tracker can view the trackee's location on a map via the website interface 306. In another embodiment, the server 30 comprises an interface 318 to a map website (for example multimap.com), and the server 30 retrieves an appropriate map

from the map website and then applies the trackee's location to the appropriate map. In another embodiment, the tracker can select a map website from which the server 30 retrieves the maps.

In one embodiment, the tracker can use a device 20 such as a personal computer, in order to access the server's 30 website via the internet 10, as conventionally known in the art. In another embodiment, the tracker's device 20 may be a mobile device provided with a tracking application enabling a tracker to view the trackee's location from the tracker's mobile device. In one embodiment, the tracking application storage device 320 also comprises a tracker application to be downloaded to a tracker's mobile device such that the tracker cannot only receive alerts as to the trackee's movements via the tracker's mobile device, but can also receive location data regarding the trackee's location. In one embodiment, the tracking application to be downloaded to the tracker's mobile device comprises a mapping application. The trackee's location can then be displayed on a map, similar to when the tracker accesses the server 30 via a personal computer, at the tracker's mobile device.

In another example, the tracker may be provided with the trackee's location data as an address in an SMS message or email. For example, a SMS message may contain text such as "James Murray has been tracked at Kingston Road, Ewell, Surrey to see this location on a map click the link below".

In one embodiment, the tracker may be sent notification when the trackee turns the tracking application 42 and/or trackee's device 40 off, thus preventing tracking. For example, when the trackee turns the tracking application 42 off, the tracking application 42 sends to the server 30 an "OnSoftwareGoesToBeSwitchedOff" message prior to turning off.

The following is a sample SOAP 1.1 "OnSoftwareGoesToBeSwitchedOff" request and response. The placeholders shown should be replaced with actual values.

POST /FTService/LocationService.asmx HTTP/1.1

Host: 213.167.72.94

Content-Type: text/xml; charset=utf-8

Content-Length: length

SOAPAction: "https://www.FreeTracking.com/FTService/OnSoftwareGoesToBeSw itchedOff"

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

<soap:Envelope xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:xsd="http.7/www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema" xmlns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/"> <soap:Body>

<OnSoftwareGoesToBeSwitchedOff xmlns="https.7/www.FreeTracking.com/FTService/"> <phoneNumber>string</phoneNumber> </OnSoftwareGoesToBeSwitchedOff> </soap:Body> </soap:Envelope> HTTP/1.1 200 OK

Content-Type: text/xml; charset=utf-8 Content-Length: length

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

<soap:Envelope xmlns:xsi="http://www. w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:xsd="http://www. w3.org/2001/XMLSchema" xmlns:soap="http.7/schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/enve)ope/"> <soap:Body>

<OnSoftwareGoesToBeSwitchedOffResponse xmlns="https://www.FreeTracking.com/FTService/"> <OnSoftwareGoesToBeSwitchedOffResult>

<Status>OK or NotAuthenticated or ValidationError or Error</Status> <Trackinglnterval>string</Trackinglnterval> <ExceptionType>string</ExceptionType> <Message>string</Message>

<CsvContent>string</CsvContent> </OnSoftwareGoesToBeSwitchedOffResult> </OnSoftwareGoesToBeSwitchedOffResponse> </soap:Body> </soap:Envelope>

The server 30 then sends to the tracker notification that the trackee has turned the tracking application 42 and/or trackee's device 40 off. The notification may be in the form of an audible alert, such as a voice message, or a visual alert such as an email or SMS message. The tracker may select the form of notification received from the server 30. In addition, the tracker can elect to receive more than one type of notification, and/or more than one tracker can receive the same notification in either the same or different form.

In another embodiment, the tracker can identify "landmarks" (such as the trackee's address, the trackee's work place, the trackee's school etc.) at the server 30. The tracker can then be informed by the server 30 when the trackee is at, or leaves the landmark. The location of the landmark together with an associated landmark name, trackee identifier and tracker identifier is stored in the tracker settings storage device 302. In a further embodiment, the tracker can define a "geofence". A geofence is an area which surrounds a landmark. In one embodiment, the geofence is circular in shape and the landmark is provided in the centre of the geofence. In one embodiment, the geofence can have a radius of between 1 meter and 100 miles from the landmark in all directions, however, any radius (within reason) can be specified. In another embodiment, the geofence can be any shape.

Figure 6 illustrates a screen shot of a landmark 610 surrounded by a geofence 600. As can be seen from figure 6, the geofence 600 and landmark 610 are shown on a map.

In one embodiment, if the trackee's location is to be illustrated on a map, then the tracker can select the colour in which each trackee's location and/or route is to be displayed. This data is stored in the tracking settings storage device 302. This arrangement is advantageous

when the tracker is tracking more than one trackee, such that the location and/or route of each trackee can be illustrated in a different colour.

In a further embodiment, the tracker can define a geofence 600 without identifying a landmark 610. For example, the tracker can define a perimeter (geofence 600) of any shape. In another embodiment, the tracker can define a geofence 600, which is a route between two points, for example, the geofence 600 may be the roads the trackee uses to travel between a first location (for example their home) to a second location (for example their place of work). The tracker defines the geofence 600 at the server 30, via the servers website, and the geofence 600 together with an associated geofence name, trackee identifier and tracker identifier are stored in the tracking setting storage device 302.

Once a landmark 610 and/or a geofence 600 has been defined, the tracker can elect to be provided with alerts if the trackee leaves and/or enters the geofence 600. In one embodiment, the geofence 600 and/or landmark 610 can also be used in combination with a tracking period and/or tracking interval as defined above. For example, an employee may set a geofence 600 around a place of employment and may receive alerts when a trackee enters or exits the geofence 600 within working hours defined by the tracking period, for example between 09:00 hours and 17:00 hours.

In one embodiment, the tracker can define any number of landmarks 610 and/or geofences 600 in relation to the. same and/or different trackee's. The tracker may then receive a notification when the trackee exits and/or enters a geofence 600, and/or is at or leaves a landmark 610. The notification may be in the form of an audible alert, such as a voice message, or a visual alert such as an email or SMS message. The tracker may select the form of notification received from the server 30. In addition, the tracker can elect to receive more than one type of notification, and/or more than one tracker can receive the same notification in either the same or different form. For example, if the trackee is a child and they have exited the geofence 600 surrounding their school, notification may be sent to one parent via email and to another parent via SMS.

The notification preferences defined by the tracker are stored in the tracking settings storage device 302.

As stated above, the location data together with trackee identification data is transferred from the trackee's device 40 to the server 30. The tracker setting storage device 302 comprises data regarding which tracker(s) is tracking which trackee(s). The tracker settings storage device manger 304 associates the received data regarding the trackee(s) with the appropriate tracker(s). The server 30 then notifies the tracker(s) of the trackee's location. If more than one tracker is associated with (and thus tracking) the trackee, then notification is sent to all the trackers. In another embodiment, the tracker is not sent a notification. In this embodiment, the tracker is only informed of the trackee location when the tracker accesses the server 30.

In another embodiment, for example, if a trackee is lost, then the trackee can send a location request to the tracking application 42 requesting their location. The trackee's location can then be displayed to the trackee via the user interface 406 as an address, if the trackee's device is not capable of displaying maps together with location data. In addition, the trackee's location could be transferred to the server 30 for display to the tracker on a map. The tracker can then inform the trackee of their location and/or the vicinity to train/bus stations, etc.

In one embodiment, a trackee's device 40 provided with the tracking application 42 can be used as a personal safety device. For example, upon installation of the tracking application 42, the trackee is required to select a button (which already exists on the trackee's device 40) as an "alarm button". Then, if the alarm button is activated by the trackee, the tracking application 42 sends the trackee's identity and location data to an emergency response monitoring centre. The emergency response monitoring centre can then assess the situation and if necessary inform the emergency services. In another embodiment, the tracking application 42 also simultaneously makes a voice call to the trackee in order to further assess the situation.

The invention has been described with particular illustrative embodiments. It is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the above-described embodiments and that various changes and modifications may be made by those of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the scope of the invention.