Imagine driving somewhere new, you’re lost, unsure of where you are at, and the more you try to find your way out the more confused you get. Do you know how safe the area which you’re in is, is it safe to get out of your car to ask for directions or are you risking being attacked? What if you are threatened or attacked, you have your cell phone, dial 9-1-1, but are unable to tell the operator how to find you. Imagine having an accident, or witnessing an accident, but you are unsure where you are, you call 9-1-1 but are unable to tell them where you are. Imagine becoming ill while in your car, you dial 9-1-1, but become unconscious before you can tell someone where you’re at, how will anyone find you? Imagine being on a hike or bike ride when you suddenly realize you do not know where you are, how will you find your way back safely?The U.S. FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has mandated the E911 (Enhanced 911) which requires that the location of any cell phone used to call 9-1-1 can be determined. This program is divided into two parts; the first requires carriers to report the telephone number of the caller and the location of the antenna that received the call. The second part requires carriers to be able to provide a more precise location. This will require that the manufacturers to install a GPS receiver in all cell phones. The benefit of this not only means that a cell phone can be quickly located, but that cell phones will have the ability to receive driving directions, and to be used as a hand-held GPS out of the car.There are two ways that a GPS cell phone can be used to get driving directions. The first is to subscribe to a GPS navigation service, which is becoming available but is limited at this time. The second way is through use of a software program. Being able to subscribe to a navigation service has its disadvantages, if you are outside your coverage area your navigation functions won’t work. Plus, not only do you have to purchase a GPS cell phone, you must also pay a set up fee and a monthly fee and be under a 3 month to one year contract.The second way to get driving directions is to buy a software program, but you need to have a compatible cell phone. The programs and maps are on a memory card and there is no need to pay a monthly fee and since the maps are in the phone you are not dependent on a GPRS connection.If you want to take your GPS cell phone with you while out of your car, not only are there integrated GPS cell phones, there are GPS add-ons available also.Another advantage to having a cell phone with GPS technology is that parents know where their children are at any time (as long as they have the phone with them). Some carriers are offering this child location service as a ‘peace of mind’ feature. There is usually a monthly service charge for this service.Copyright 2006 Angela Carter

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