Unwired Labs' Trusted GPS

TrustedGPS: When GPS isn’t good enough

The recent news about an Uber driver spoofing GPS to inflate fares has once-again raised questions about the reliability of GPS as a geolocation mechanism.

An increasing number of businesses rely on GPS for localization & navigation. The open nature of GPS has made it’s way into almost every business application. Some businesses use it to tailor user experiences, while others have completely built their business models around it.

Consumer GPS, like the one used by your customers, come from satellites orbiting the earth. This service, while free, has a couple of major issues, making it vulnerable to spoofing and jamming.

You can see how we fooled Google Maps into thinking we were in California. (Video below or on youtube)

Why GPS isn’t good enough

It is not encrypted
  • Encrypted GPS systems are used in military applications. These encrypted systems make GPS a little more secure (although, not entirely). Applying some form of encryption would help – but this isn’t going to happen. Open de-encrypted GPS is the prime reason why it is so widely used by businesses.
The signals aren’t strong enough:
  • Every satellite based navigation system share a fundamental weakness as they rely on signals from satellites transmitting from an altitude of around 12 thousand miles, the signals are very weak, making them vulnerable to accidental or deliberate interference.
It’s too easy to spoof
  • Simple apps available on the Google AppStore give people the ability to trick any app into thinking that they’re in a location they actually aren’t. Software spoofing is as simple as clicking a button. There is no need to root the device or learn programming.
  • If you want to completely jam the GPS signal to an external device. You can just buy a GPS jammer for as low as $12.99.

What can we do about it?

A smart way to address the problem is to combine existing technologies to build a secure tracking solution. There already exists a secure infrastructure – Firms & governments have spent decades developing cellular coverage around the world.

Layering GPS results with Cell+WiFi based geolocation give firms a much needed asset recovery apparatus that results in mitigation of risks. This technology is built from the ground up to be simple, modular and reliable.

To learn more about TrustedGPS – and get access to over 115 million cell towers/ 1.5 billion WiFi access points around the world – write to us at contact@unwiredlabs.com

BBOXX replaces GPS with Unwired LocationAPI

At Unwired, a few things make our day that much brighter. At the top of the list? News about our customers doing impactful things to make the world a better place! BBOXX, a SMART Solar company, and one of our early customers, has been in the spot-light for all the good reasons! They recently hit a fantastic milestone of electrifying over 100,000 households, in more than 35 countries, and improving the lives of more than 500,000 people. Continue reading

GPS isn’t good enough for your pet tracker

One in ten pets are lost to never return at some point in their lifetime. Back in the day, pug-shots and posters were the only option for identifying and getting our furry friends back. But the times have changed and so has pet safety. There are so many pet-tracking options available in the market that use the latest geolocation technologies, letting pet-parents keep an eye on their cats/dogs…or any pettable animals. Continue reading

OpenCelliD by Unwired Labs

OpenCelliD logo

There have been a few exciting changes at OpenCelliD, the largest Open Database of Cell Towers, over the past week and I’m here to update you about it. Markus Semm, the man who built and brought OpenCelliD to where it is today, has transferred its maintainership responsibilities to Unwired Labs.

In the past few years, OpenCelliD was funded by Markus’ personal funds and he’s taken care of all the development and infrastructure efforts and have single-handedly cleaned up the datasets and made it a reliable source. He believed it was time for it to grow further under a new custodian.

Who are we?

Unwired Labs is a leading geolocation company that specialises in Cell-tower & WiFi based positioning. We’ve been around for 4 years, but in this short while, we’ve rapidly built our partnership networks for data, helped thousands of developers/ startups create better products.

How is it going to help?

We believe in open-source and realize that it is a major contributor to geolocation services. We aim to improve OCIDs datasets, modernize its infrastructure and take it towards becoming a major open-source dataset for Cell, WiFi, IoT Wide area Networks. Unwired is entirely focused on geolocation, so it gives us incentive to share our resources and support the community.

What does this mean for you?

Better data that provides your apps and devices better locations! Also, you won’t have to worry about having to adapt to anything new. All the changes will happen at our end. Your contributions and tokens will stay intact and you will be able to download the database and request removal of your data – just like it was before. We will make sure the transition is smooth. Most importantly it stays open!

We’re really proud and excited to have been handed over this responsibility and are very excited to work with the community!


Gopi Aravind
CEO, Unwired

Unwired Launches Free Offline Location Library for Android

Unwired Labs, a leading provider of location technologies, announces the release of its Offline Location Library for Android devices. The library enables Android developers to create a faster, more consistent user experience by retrieving location context in milliseconds, even when GPS and internet connectivity are unavailable.

“Many mobile apps rely on location to provide a personalized user experience. Apps using our location library can increase user satisfaction and engagement by avoiding excessively long application launch times or serving users irrelevant content.” said Gopi Aravind, CEO of Unwired Labs.

This free library is designed to be a drop in replacement to Google Play’s Geolocation services. Android developers can view more details and download the library at https://github.com/unwiredlabs/location-library-docs

About Unwired Labs: Unwired Labs is a fast growing startup based in Hyderabad, India. They provide positioning solutions to enable connected devices to locate themselves globally without the need for GPS. Their clients range from Fortune 500 companies to startups in many verticals including the telecommunications, wireless, IoT/M2M, consumer electronics, fleet tracking and automotive industries.


Going from “accurate” to “Really accurate”

Traditionally, Cell Tower based locations were fraught with issues of reliability; responses miles away from an actual location, in water bodies and in cases, no response at all.

Unwired Labs has done pioneering work to address each of these issues. Our R&D team is happy to announce a major update to internal algorithms. A lot of effort has gone into enabling our algorithms to auto-adapt based on the type of geography requested, correct for unclean data-sets (in case of crowd-sourced data) by intense cleansing of both contributor and customer data.


In terms of numbers,  this update increases the median accuracy of Cell Tower locations – when the request has multiple neighbours – by up-to 37%. With just a single cell, it increases accuracy by 16%. As a happy side-effect, the enhanced data-cleansing algorithms alone have improved WiFi accuracy by over 32%.

There’s a lot of on-going work on these algorithms, which are available in private BETA. If you’d like to get on an early BETA list, reach out to us!

IWIT Digital and Unwired Labs Partner to Develop Wearable Devices for Children


IWIT Digital and Unwired Labs have entered into a partnership to create location-enabled wearable devices for children. The first of these devices, an intelligent watch with two-way communication capabilities, garnered much attention at the recently held HKTDC Hong Kong Electronics Fair.

Leveraging IWIT Digital’s decade of experience manufacturing children’s products and Unwired Labs’ geolocation expertise in locating devices without GPS, the new wearables are designed for children’s safety. “We are excited about working with IWIT on this new range of products,” said Gopi Aravind, CEO of Unwired Labs. “Our platform will be able to locate millions of these wearables globally and provide parents with a peace of mind.”

iWIT watch specs

“There is a huge opportunity opening up in the wearables space for us,” said David Liang, CEO of IWIT Digital. “And we are glad to have Unwired Labs backing us as we create end-to-end hardware and software solutions.”

The first products will launch in early 2016. For more information,visit http://www.iwitkalala.com and http://www.unwiredlabs.com

About IWIT Digital: Headquartered in Shenzhen, China, IWIT Digital is an innovative company focused on developing educational and safety products for children. They have over a decade of design, tooling and manufacturing expertise and are backed by leading investors such as Tencent Holdings Limited.

NEW: Activity Dashboard for API users

Our product strategy has always been shaped by the needs of our users. And one feature a lot of you have been asking for is a dashboard to keep tab on their API account. So… (drum roll) .. I’m happy to announce that we just released an Activity Dashboard for all users!

Before I show you some screenshots, I’ll explain why we pushed off this “essential” feature for this long. We follow a MVP – Minimum Viable Product – philosophy here at Unwired for everything we build; we ship the part of the product that adds most value for our users first. All else comes later. Our focus has been on building a world-class Location API that reliably and affordably locates devices anywhere. Now that we’ve covered that (there’s still miles to go before we sleep!), we’re working on the useful glitter. 🙂

Without further ado, here are some snaps:

API Sandbox API Reports


Support desk

Login to your dashboard here.

We’ll be adding many more user-facing features in the coming weeks. Also, any ideas on improving this dashboard are always welcome!

NEW: WiFi Positioning Service

This morning we began rolling out the much awaited WiFi Positioning service to all our customers & developers. The service is built on a large, growing database of over 550 million access-points world over. Best of all, it’s available at no additional charge!


What this means for you – if you have products / devices that can detect nearby WiFi access-points – is much better accuracies (usually between 5 and than 30 meters) globally!

Head to the API Docs to start locating with WiFi!

NEW: API Sandbox

We’ve also redesigned the API sandbox so you can have a go at WiFi location

Unwired Labs API Sandbox

Start locating with the sandbox here!

GPS trackers that work #everywhere, from Aspenta

A number of awesome products launched at CES 2015. The one we were looking forward to the most was Aspenta’s Vectu Locators; and we weren’t disappointed. They work everywhere, help save money on global deployments and look fabulous. Oh, and they use the Unwired Labs LocationAPI. 🙂

Aspenta Tracker powered by LocationAPIAspenta Tracker powered by LocationAPI

We quizzed Ribal Zwein, their Product Development Director about the new product launch, and how he liked working with our API. 

Can you tell our community more about your products?

Our main Product Lines are Vectu Locators and UbGate. Vectu Locators are a versatile, multi-purpose set of trackers that can be used anywhere in the world at a low flat rate as they come with built-in global roaming. They support switching between multiple use-cases such as a SOS Tracker, a Live Vehicle Tracker, an Alarm Tracker or even a personal Locate-on-Demand Device.


Aspenta is a US-based telecom operator primarily focussed on developing products and solutions for the M2M and IOT space.

What was the problem you faced for which you needed to use a Cell ID based Location API?

The major challenge when developing a Tracker is the ability to provide a location at anytime of the day, in any place or in any weather condition. Relying solely on GPS signal is not an option. Assisted GPS incurs a high cost of data while roaming, so the best alternative was to enhance our positioning system (UbLocate) by implementing Cellular Based triangulation, and this is where LocationAPI proved to be a great technology.

Can you tell us how you use the Unwired Labs’ LocationAPI to solve this problem? 

With the enhanced UbLocate, our end-customers could pin-point the location of their loved ones, possessions or vehicles even if they are indoors or underground. Our Trackers send Neighboring Cell information to an interface implemented with LocationAPI servers allowing UbLocate to render an approximate location.

“Unwired Labs provided an excellent solution, easy to use and implement at the most affordable price; not to mention their unlimited support during our evaluation phase and during implementation.”

Ribal Zwein Ribal Zwein,
Product Development Director, Aspenta

Thank you for the kind words, Ribal!