Sunday, January 04, 2009

Real time BMTC bus tracking

BMTC tracker  lets you track Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation buses LIVE on google maps. Position data are updated every 1 minute. You can select buses by route number, or simply keep the route number blank and press GO button to track all the buses. Note that only around 383 buses out of the 5000 odd buses have been GPS enabled. GPS data is provided courtesy of BMTC.

The site is still in beta, so if you have any suggestions please put your valuable comments here. Please note that the site does NOT work well with Google Chrome. Please use IE or Firefox.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Indian Trains tracked live on Google Maps

Yeah, you heard it right. Here is the live tracking of trains in India using google maps API. Enter the start date of the train and the train number, and current postition of the train will be tracked. Once the site is loaded, the position of the train is refreshed every minute.

The site is still in BETA though. Only trains which are currently running will be displayed properly. There are still some bugs which need to be fixed.

If you are accessing using WAP/GPRS on your mobile, use this mobile friendly link

WithoutGPS - Live tracking without GPS !!

There are quite a few websites which lets you track live if you have a GPS phone. I was curious if the "My location" feature in Google maps can be used to track the phone using only the mobile tower number information. WithoutGPS was born out of this curiosity.This was set up using code from various sources.

What is WithoutGPS?

You run an application on your smart phone, which updates your current tower information on the website which hosts the code, and you can get your position shown on google maps to anybody who has got an internet connection.

You can check my current location live at
If I am moving, the map will automatically move showing the updated position. (This site does not show properly in Chrome browser. Use IE or firefox)

How to setup WithoutGPS?

1. Right now only Nokia Symbian smartphones are supported(All S60 v2 and v3). Use the Aspicore GSM Tracker in your phone with the following settings:
HTTP protocol : On
Internet page URL :
(choose a unique username which nobody else could be using)
Send cell every time : On
Cell -> On startup tracking : On

2. This is your live tracking website :

What else can I do with WithoutGPS?

1. If you want to host this in your own site, you can download all the server side code from . Be sure to use your own Maps API key in the live.html file.

2. You can use this as a vehicle theft prevention system, by putting a sybian phone with GPRS connection always in your car. It can be setup at a hardware cost of around Rs 7500 (cost of a N72) and monthly charges of Rs 200/- (minmum voice plan + WAP over GPRS)

3. I have been running Aspicore GSM tracker on my N80 (s60v3) phone, and Airtel's mobile office plan, and it has been running without a hitch. Can anyone try out if this application works with Airtel Wap over PRS(which I think is called Airtel Online)

How exactly does WithoutGPS work?

1. The application on your phone sends the cell number of the mobile tower which you are connected to.
2. The gmaps.php script queries the google database with the cell tower information, and gets the longitude and latitude, which is recorded into a file.
3. When you click on the file, it uses the recorded information and shows it on google maps.

Future of WithoutGPS?

1. Efforts are on way so that you can specify zones - like home, office etc. And when you enter some specified zone, it will send an email (or an SMS) to some specified number.

2. Do you know of other applications which will allow http access over WAP/GPRS of the cell tower information in other phones do let me know.

3. I am not into mobile software writing, so if some one can write simple applications for uploading cell tower information, let me know, and I will post it here.

4. Your comments/suggestions/contributions/ideas/brickbats are always welcome.

Friday, May 09, 2008

GPS routes plotted on Google Maps

Following are some of the routes, which I have traced on my GPS (I use SmartComGPS software running on Nokia N80 with Haicom BT406C external bluetooth GPS). The idea is to give information of the route, the mode of transport and the amount of time required for the journey. I hope this will help travellers to these locations to plan their travel. Those who have GPS devices with them can also download the tracks to their devices.

The tracks are in OziExplorer (and SmartComGPS) format. You can right click on the download link and save with .plt extension. Use GPSBabel to convert it into any other GPS format.

More routes to follow soon......

Siliguri to Gangtok (download)
The trip starts from the New Jalpaiguri railway station. We took a shared taxi to the bus stand and took a Sikkim Nationalised Transport (SNT) bus from the Siliguri bus stand to Gangtok. Times are also shown.

Kollam to Alwaye (download)
Trip made by KPN Volvo. It was probably the 5:30 pm Volvo from Trivandrum to Bangalore. Route goes through NH 47 taking the Ernakulam bypass.

Kumaraparvata Trek (download)
Trek route from Kukke subramanya to the top of the Kumaraparvata. (The times shown on the bubbles are incorrect)

Shortcut Route from Electronic City to Sarjapur Road/Outer Ring Road , Bangalore
Takes an almost straight line path from Hosa Road junction to Sarjapur Road Junction.
Method of travel : Bus
Total time: 25 minutes in peak hour

Numbers enabled through Gizmo backdoor

Following is a list of numbers enabled via Gizmo backdoor dialling. You will be able to call them free using Gizmo.

214-235-4101 to 4993 (No information)
770-357-XXXX (Currently used by ringbranch)
773-751-1000 to 773-751-4999 (Currently used by Jaxtr)
206-856-2398 (WA )
253-856-2398 (WA)
(469) 450-3729 (real TX phone number)
469-826-7076 (real TX number)

Feel free to let me know any other supported numbers.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Access numbers

USA 714-333-0397
UK 08449332754
UK 07031967238
UK 08444848677
UK 08700687353
UK 08715041691
Switzerland 61-5117717
Russia 3452-591002
Germany 1803-5350033033
France 1-79-99-79-99
China 21-31001856
Canada 613-686-1602
Brazil 11-3511-5700
Australia 3-8807-2174

Call free to India

Make a free call to India by following these steps:
1. Register for free at sab se . Get your member ID and password. Provide these to your Indian contact and ask them to call into the conference.
2. Call any of these access numbers.
3. On the prompt dial *011-CONRAD. (This code will keep changing. So check this page before you make a call) This code is not required if you call through the UK numbers.
4. When prompted again, dial your member ID and password to enter into conference. You can have multiple people from India dial into the conference.

Do not abuse the system, or we might all lose it !!

Alternative methods for step 2:
Instead of calling the access numbers, you can even use your SIP phone/ATA to make a call to *
METHOD 2. You can call from Google Talk by following these steps:
(a) Send a friend request to You will get an accept
(b) Now open a chat window for and type "CALL *"
(c) Accept the incoming call.
(d) You will hear one ring and after some time, you will be connected to the conference call.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Converting your smartphone into a GPS navigation system

This entry essentially explains how to convert your bluetooth enabled smartphone into a GPS navigation system. This can also be used for those phones which have inbuilt GPS. If you do not have GPS, this will tell you how to store maps in your phone and view them.

Basic Requirements:
1. Smartphone - any one of the following
(a) Nokia symbian 60 series or above eg. 6630, all N-series and E-series of mobile phones
(b) Any mobile running Windows Mobile 5 or 6.

Getting the right hardware:

If you already have a bluetooth GPS or an inbuilt GPS in your phone, skip to the next section. If you need a GPS navigation system, the simplest and cheapest way I think would be to buy a smartphone and a bluetooth GPS and get it for half the price of a phone with inbuilt GPS. For instance, the cheapest option that I know of is Nokia N72 (INR 8000/-) + Navibe GB735 (INR 1800/-), while most of the GPS enabled phones currently in the market are above INR 20,000/- . There are Nokia smartpones cheaper than N72, but I they are much less worth for the 1000 rupee less that you pay.

Getting the right software:

(a) If you are using Nokia phone, get the SmartcomGPS software. You can get it from here mobilesmania forum. You will need to register for free at the site and dig a little bit to find the version for your phone. There is also a older but less featured MapViewGPS. Any of the above software will suffice.
(b)If you are running Windows Mobile phone, get the OziExplorerCE software, which is also available at the mobilesmania forum

Getting the maps
(a) If you are using Nokia phone, convert any of map image(JPG/PNG/BMP etc) that you have to ogf2 format using this software.
(b) If you are using Windows Mobile, use the Img2ozf application which come along witht he application to convert your files into the ozf2 format
(c) If you are using GPS, you need to calibrate the maps before you first use it. (i.e generating the .map file)

For your convenience, I have given links to some of JPG/PNG maps here. Below are the OGF2 and MAP files for some of these maps. You can store these files directly in the "e:\data\smartcomgps\maps" folder of your phone and get it working right away with or without GPS.
Kolkata OGF2 file
Kolkata MAP file (calibration file for the kolkata map)
If you have any problem or if you wants maps of other places, please leave a comment and I will try to make one.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Convert your smartphone into a WiFi hotspot

If you have a Wifi enabbled smartphone, this piece of freeware Walkinghotspot will allow you to make it a WiFi hotspot. WiFi clients including your laptop can connect to your phone through WiFi, and access GPRS/3G for accessing internet. I use this feature for browsing the internet from my laptop through the wireless connection.
This avoids you the hassles of connecting bluetooth and installing the drivers in your laptop. Currently it supports only Windows Mobile and Symbian series devices. Works like a charm on my Nokia N80.

Once you register at their website, they will send you a link (For symbian 3rd edition devices this might suffice) which you can access to download the executable.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Converting audio files to mp3 using mencoder

Install the Mplayer binaries for your operating system from
Command line option:
mencoder -ovc frameno -oac mp3lame -lameopts cbr:br=128 -of rawaudio -o <output_file.mp3> -audiofile <input_file> <dummy_video_file>
Make sure that the play time of the video file is more than the play time of the audio you are trying to convert. In case it is not, you can give multiple video files in the place of one.