Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby RichardK » Fri Feb 22, 2019 9:43 am

Since the Nguyen/Orbeso phone was a smartphone, I assume that the lat/long's reported came from the phone's internal GPS. That would be the source of any error not the phone system. Without a GPS, the phone has to ping three towers that measure distance by turn around time to triangulate a non-ambiguous location.
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Ric Capucho » Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:59 am

Hiya Richard,

And hope all’s well with you.

If the GPS in the smartphone has returned a lat/long then it would have either returned nothing (out of sight of at least three GPS satellites) or it would have been right within 2-3 meters on the ground or about 6-7 meters vertically. There’s quite a thing with people disabling location services for privacy reasons, and I have my own ideas why a young guy who has the mindset to take a hand cannon into a national park might do such a thing. I’m not suggesting he did it specifically for this trip, just saying there’s a mindset out there that would disable location services on principle.

My assumption is that location services were switched off, and the pings were picked up by Serin. Doesn’t mean I’m right, but can’t see anything else that might make any more sense.

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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Perry » Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:49 pm

I think you guys would be surprised how many people do not use smartphones. It's less noticeable because those people aren't pulling their phones out to show people photos and videos. I have never owned a smartphone, and I do just fine without the emojis and instant access to social media. For driving directions, I can look things up on a desktop and print it or draw a sketch, or just remember where places are. If I want a private conversation I can pull out the battery (e.g. discussing an idea that might be patentable). Apps are not tracking me at every moment. I get unlimited talk and text for $25/month and a small phone that easily fits in my pocket. Whenever it breaks after a few years, I open up my piggy bank (metaphorically speaking) and fork out another $20 to $30 to buy a new phone.
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Ric Capucho » Fri Feb 22, 2019 2:38 pm

Hi Perry,

Orbeso once posted a nice photo of his new smartphone on social media, and I think that’s why you (and I) are so certain he was with AT&T; that was the carrier icon shown on the top right hand corner, right? I seem to remember it was a Samsung Galaxy; certainly not an iPhone as I’d have remembered that.

With any smartphone system it takes some effort to suppress the GPS location of the phone that’s automatically included in the ping data packet. Orbeso’s phone may have been out of range of most cell towers in the area, and maybe only periodically in range of Serin or whatever, but I refuse to believe it was beyond line of sight of at least three GPS satellites. And if the phone had somehow miscalculated the GPS coordinates, then I’d advise everyone to exit their airliner at the earliest opportunity. That doesn’t happen, unless purposely misdirected by military intervention, as Russia did to eastern Ukraine a few months ago.

Having looked at Orbeso’s interests on social media I can well believe that he’d “off grid” his phone as a matter of privacy principle, and in fact a close friend of mine does exactly the same. So unlike other aspects of the Orbeso/Nguyen case, I don’t find it particularly suspicious.

Meanwhile I can well imagine that Bill carried a non-smart 2G cellphone back in 2010, and I seem to remember Tom suspecting the same some years ago.

Ric

p.s. Well done getting along with your non-smartphone and long may it continue. I break out in a rash whenever I’m more that 5 meters away from my iPhone. Lol.
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Perry » Sat Feb 23, 2019 1:01 am

That is funny. Okay, I understand now.

Here's some irony: I'll probably use our tablet the next time I go search for Ewasko or if I search for Miller. I don't like tablets for privacy reasons and because I think small touchscreens are silly and lack the accuracy and speed of a keyboard and mouse with large monitor. But for searching in Joshua Tree, a tablet does seem very useful and efficient for covering new terrain and minimizing re-searching of what's already been searched. The Gaia app that Sh44 uses on his phone can display previously searched tracks, current location and direction, and previously-planned points and sketched lines of paths to search (I made them on Caltopo). Unfortunately Gaia is subscription based which can really add up over months of use and non-use. Is there a good mapping app that can be purchased once and used forever?
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby zippetydude » Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:20 am

Hi Perry. I purchased Gaia a few years ago for a little over $20. It has no monthly cost and I have transferred it from an iphone to a Galaxy and back to a different iphone. Still no monthly dues. If you could find someone who has an old, grandfathered in version and who simply doesn't use it, you could get the service without the mounting cost. BTW, I think the version I bought gets updated just like any other, so it isn't outdated as far as I can tell. Works great for me. Just a thought.

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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Ed » Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:37 am

I'm with Perry. Well, I was until last week, when I bought my first smartphone. I hate it for making and receiving calls, it is so much clumsier than my old clamshell. I am now trying to learn the non-phone features. Can't say it is going well, the behavior of the device does not seem to follow the instructions I have, no matter the source. Actually, it is downright humiliating, since I have moderate to advanced technical skills, and children and grannies who find arithmetic challenging wield these things like pros. When I am a little more familiar with it, I will install Avenza and Gaia, and try out the GPS-map functions walking around the neighborhood.

One reason I decided to come out of the Dark Ages and buy a smartphone was my 911 call from the Skyline Trail in December 2017, when another hiker collapsed. Without thinking, I used my clamshell phone. I suspect that if I had borrowed his smartphone, the location fix would have been quicker and more accurate.
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby zippetydude » Sat Feb 23, 2019 1:58 pm

Ed: I found the best way to figure out any function was to immediately ask a kid. They feel smart for knowing, and you won't have to spend 20 frustrating minutes trying to figure it out online. I have Audible, and even when I called the company and tried to get it not to automatically play when I get in my car, I could get no help. I told my daughter, and she swiped the bottom part of the screen upward (which revealed a few settings buttons), tapped the on/off button for bluetooth, and swiped it closed. 3 seconds. After I spent close to an hour trying to fix the problem. Find a kid. :)

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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Ed » Sat Feb 23, 2019 4:29 pm

Zip,

Glad to see you are getting a return on investment. In my circles, the tech-savvy granny may be a more likely tutor. I also have two new cars that I doubt I will ever fully master the controls on.
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Myth » Sat Feb 23, 2019 4:47 pm

I've carried a Garmin eTrex 20 with me for years now. 5oz, worth its weight. I paid once for the base south-west topo maps and now I always know where I am. I can easily replace the batteries with a couple more AA's if I need to, and I get a handy track to examine afterwards. I carry my smartphone with me in airplane mode, mostly for the quick camera shots when I don't want to fire up the DSLR. But for backcountry work, give me a solid pay-once-use-for-a-lifetime GPS receiver with pay-once-use-for-a-lifetime topo maps so I can track where I've gone, and give me that plus my built-in horse sense for knowing where I am.

I'm super old-school. :P I even carry a compass and, for areas I don't know, a topo. Does my mind good to work a bit while I walk.

For pear-shaped situations I carry a PLB. I hope to never use it and I act as if I don't have it.
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