Where Am I Text (WAItext)

This facility is free for use by emergency services in contact with someone requiring assistance

  1. Go to this page on your SMS or email capable device (http://taylormade.com.au/page.php?id=waimake)
  2. In the shaded section below: Enter an email address to send results to in place of [email] and the [name] of the person you are sending to below (you can change the text to suit but the url must be retained)
    Note you can enter several email addresses, separated by semi colons ; But best to send to a distribution list for brevity of the message
  3. Select and Copy the white on shaded text and SMS it to the phone of the person you are assisting. You could also email it to them.

    Note you do not have to copy from this page, if you type your own message that is fine, as long as you include the link (http://taylormade.com.au/waitext.html?e=[emails]) with email addresses. You could set this up as a stored message or email on phone or computer.

If the SMS (or email) recipient clicks the link, an email will be automatically sent to the email address(es) you put in place of [email]. This email will contain the latitude longitude, grid reference, altitude and accuracy of the measurement of the GPS and internet capable phone you send the message to. This location information will be time stamped and stored in a database as well, and this will happen even if you do not enter a valid email address and can be retrieved by reference to waitext@taylormade.com.au. Please use this mail link for feedback and suggestions.

What is this service for?

Two hikers are lost, they were in early season snow on a hike near a ski resort. They are in the dark they could see the resort lights but they are now in steep terrain and in thick bush, they are in phone communication. The phone battery is dying and so is their torch battery and they do not know how to use or do not have navigation apps on their phone. Hypothermia is beginning to set in, their judgement and ability to communicate and to move is being increasingly compromised. Search parties are called in and replacement parties being organised from some distance away to relieve the first responders. A forward headquarters is set up. It takes many hours to locate the hikers, they and the searchers are all cold and tired but fortunately the operation ends well. If this texting application were used or those in need of assistance could specify their position then the search would have changed to a retrieval, taken less time, presented fewer risks and utilised fewer resources as was the case in another incident.

It is unfortunately common that people get lost, injured or need to take shelter in remote locations and this can be life threatening if prolonged or in adverse conditions. Often the police find out about this by a phone call from a person in the party, and that is usually on a GPS and internet connected phone, but nearly always the person cannot report their location accurately. In semi remote areas, phone reception is sufficient for communication especially from high places and many people now have GPS and internet capable devices including mobile phones, satellite phones, tablets and computers which can receive SMS and / or emails. One might think that triangulating phone signals might be sufficient, but in semi remote areas this is not accurate as one tower is often all there is. Emergency apps, personal locator beacons etc. are wonderful and useful but must be arranged before the incident. It is also not uncommon for these devices to give incorrect readings, so the more means of position detection available, the better. A map compass and knowledge probably still being the best. Given that the party is lost, it indicates that they cannot use devices they have to resolve the situation and hence the call for assistance.

Even if the person needing assistance has a GPS location on their phone it is likely they will not be able to accurately communicate the information and the information may not be in a useful form, especially if it is given verbally, there is acoustic interference; for example, due to wind; and the receiver must note down that information also in poor conditions and have to relay it to a search headquarters.

Emergency services need Latitude and Longitude for helicopter operations but a grid reference for land operations. Moreover people under stress searchers and those in need of assistance alike perform less well in all cognitive tasks such as reading and speaking or following instructions than if they are not in a stressful or environmentally challenging situation.

An SMS containing the special link above can be sent from search headquarters or by a searcher in the field to the party requiring assistance. When the SMS is received and the link clicked, an email will be sent to the address specified, it could be received by the headquarters and or officer. The person the SMS is sent to will also see these results and, if reception is sufficient, a google map will be displayed of the phone location. So all recipients of the email as well as the person who clicked the link will have location information and a map showing that location.

This service can help save lives, save time and effort, assist in targeting resources, reassuring people in distress, locating teams and team members. It requires connectivity and a smart device but it also only requires one click by the receiver of the SMS for them to relay their location.