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This wasn't always part of their advice - RonO's Ramblings

Dec. 24th, 2008 07:56 am This wasn't always part of their advice

In the bottom of an article in today's online ABQ Journal (a.k.a. The Albuquerque Journal) about snow play in the Sandia Mountains, ends with a ranger advising people cross-country skiing or snow shoeing from the Sandia Crest: "Also, bring a map and know how to use it, have a charged cell phone and take plenty of water." Back when I was living in Albuquerque, and involved with winter mountain sports a bit (mostly cross-country skiing), the emphasized part wasn't part of the recommendations for spending time in the woods.

Times have changed. And, I'll have to admit I've had a small part in it -- having worked in and around Cellular Telephony my entire career.

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Date:December 24th, 2008 11:33 pm (UTC)
Weird. US Forestry Service and the National Park Service hates cell phones. They keep getting calls from people in trouble in the outdoors who went places they shouldn't have because they thought they could just call for help if they go in trouble.

The problem is that too many of these calls have the following exchange.

"Where are you?"

"In VeryLargeNationalPark!"

"Where in VLNP?"

"I don't know."

Date:December 25th, 2008 05:10 am (UTC)
Perhaps they now trust that most phones have working location services so that they can remotely query the location.

I know that several years ago the FCC had mandated that all phones be able to report their location within some specified distance (measured in feet IIRC).

So now that a significant number of phones meet that specification the NFS rangers, at least for the Cibola National Forest Sandia Ranger District, are willing to ask for a location query from the 911 operators to locate someone in trouble.