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SMS Locator: how it works

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SMS Locator: how it works: It happens more and more often to learn news from TV, newspapers or the Internet about missing or troubled travelers during an excursion or vacation, perhaps due to unfavorable climatic situations, underestimated natural adversities, road accidents or other unknowns of the case. The primary reaction that tends to be opposed to these eventualities is, in most cases, a sort of rhetorical question: “Why should this happen to me?”. Today more than ever, in reality, it is necessary to take precautions, taking the appropriate measures before embarking on any trip: first of all, it is advisable to find out about the most effective methods to manage these emergency situations, and you are already doing it.

Recently, for example, you have heard about the recovery of some tourists who were lost or who had found themselves in danger, thanks to a tool that, until now, no mention had reached you: SMS locator . After venturing into inaccessible areas, the rescuers managed to locate them by calling one of the missing persons to an emergency number: the switchboard was immediately activated, sending an SMS containing a link to the hiker’s device. invitation to open the link you have just received. Once the link was opened, the basic information for geolocation was automatically transmitted to the rescuers, i.e. the exact position in which the missing were found, allowing them to be quickly retrieved.

Prudence, as we know, is never too much: before reaching such extreme situations, it is highly recommended to check the safety of the paths, the ordinances issued by the local authorities regarding the areas most at risk, to be advised and accompanied to certain places only. by expert local guides and equip yourself with every good necessary to protect the health of yourself and your travel companions. However, similar moments can happen to anyone, so learning how to manage this technology, before finding yourself in case of need, can be of vital importance. In order to be able to exploit it if necessary, it is first of all necessary to remember the existence of very specific limits and requirements: among these, the indispensable presence of telephone coverage and a data network. Said this,how does SMS Locator work , right? Then let me give you all the relevant information on the latter, also recommending some valid alternatives. I wish you a good read and I wish you a big good luck for everything!


How SMS Locator works in Italy

The SMS Locator service is a localization tool used throughout Italy by the national rescue services, recently especially by the National Alpine and Speleological Rescue Corps (CNSAS) , or a public utility service that supports the National Civil Protection Service as an operational structure. .

At this point, it is necessary to make a necessary premise: the intervention of the men and means of the CNSAS (as well as the Alpine Rescue of the Guardia di Finanza , the SAR Rescue Teams of the Army Alpine Troop Command or the SAF Specialists of the National Fire Brigade ) frequently provides for the balance of a ticket , which can be quite high if it were to include, for example, the intervention of a helicopter. So be aware that the intervention of these means often also involves this type of economic implications.

It should be specified that the spread of SMS Locator in our country took place for a particular reason. There is a technology already included in most of the smartphones in circulation (called Emergency Location Service for Android mobile phones and Advanced Mobile Location for iOS / iPadOS devices ) which, at the time of the response of the Single Emergency Number 112 (NUE), sends automatically the GPS coordinates of your position to the rescue: at the moment, however, in Italy this technology is still being implemented, according to the most recent directives of the European Community.

For this reason, SMS Locator currently provides for the need through its ” two-step verification “, starting with the call for help and ending with the sending of your latitude , longitude and height to the control unit thanks to the location message: simply pressing on the button of a link guarantees, in fact, to start the recovery phase as effectively and quickly as possible.

All clear? Very well, now follow me carefully because I will show you in detail the steps to understand how to manage this type of emergency service.

Single Emergency Number 112

Single Emergency Number 112

The Unique Emergency Number 112 ( oneonetwo ) is the telephone number valid in all Member States of the European Union to call the emergency services, also known by the acronym NUE 112 , which can be contacted from all telephones. landline and mobile .

If you need to call from a country with an emergency number other than 112, the call will be automatically redirected to the local switchboard; this is a considerable advantage for any traveler, who is in fact exempted from having to know by heart the numbers of each country he passes through. The abuse of the number 112, as well as of any other number for emergencies in the rest of the world, is punishable by law: this is always good to underline.

As you may already know, the spread of cellular networks is active above all in urban areas, where instead mountainous or uninhabited areas may present a weak or completely absent signal. However, when you call 112, in the presence of a signal the call will rely on the first available operator in the area, regardless of the coverage of your telephone operator: clearly, this does not exempt you from being careful to venture into areas completely uncovered by the mobile network.

Keep in mind that the factors for which it is usually not possible to make a call ( insufficient residual credit , unknown PIN or unlock pattern , SIM card not inserted ) in this situation do not constitute an impediment, at least in most cases: it is however advisable to know the exact procedure for making an emergency call with a smartphone with a screen lock activated , depending on the type of device you are using.

Android Emergency Call

If you have an Android mobile phone , for example, you have to proceed as follows: press the power button to reactivate the screen; if necessary, swipe up with one finger to get to the lock screen, then press on the Emergency call item located at the bottom. Then enter the number 112 and, finally, press the green phone-shaped button at the end of the display.

In case someone else needs to help you and have to make the phone call, know that you can customize the lock screen with information that could help the rescuers (for example your blood type, any allergies or contraindications to drug therapies): I suggest you read the guidelines issued by Google.

If you are using an iPhone , press the Power button to wake up the display. From the code entry screen, press on the wording Emergency call and then enter the number 112 , then touch the green button in the shape of a phone . The most recent iPhone models also include the ability to configure an emergency SOS call mode , which allows you to add contacts to be automatically notified via SMS at the end of an emergency call, call for help using the side button and customize your own folder . clinic using the Health app . You can learn more about the topic in theofficial dedicated page on the Apple website.

Once the call is initiated, it is necessary to follow the instructions given by the operator, answering precisely the questions that are asked. Usually a First Level Control Panel will answer you first , which is used to filter requests for information, jokes or accidental calls; only in a second step your call will be forwarded to the Second Level Central , which takes care of effectively managing the real requests for help.

SMS Locator

SMS Locator

SMS Locator basically constitutes a second step that the user must perform manually, by virtue of the regulations in force on the protection of privacy , to authorize the display of his / her position. The requirement of this technology, as mentioned in the previous chapter, is to necessarily rely on a telephone network and a data network : if the signal is strong, rescuers will be able to locate you with an accuracy of even less than 100 meters , while if the distance between the telephone repeaters becomes very large, it can even reach a radius of 100 kilometers or more.

During the call, the switchboard sorts the call to the most suitable rescue service (for example, mountain rescue), which will in turn send you an SMS specifying that they are looking for you, as well as a link and an invitation. at its opening. Once you have opened the message and pressed the aforementioned link, if the connection allows it, your device will activate the sending of the GPS coordinates ( latitude , longitude and altitude ), in order to allow those in charge to identify your position and then proceed with the recovery .

App dedicated to the First Aid

App dedicated to the First Aid

The privacy protection system on which SMS Locator is based, however, can represent a limit, in case you are seriously injured or unable to use your smartphone. For this reason, there are apps recognized by the authorities that can, for example, trace the entire route taken (therefore not starting the geolocation only during an emergency) or even automatically send the satellite coordinates at the beginning of the call. Now we will examine them together, so you can find the one that suits you best: installing them before embarking on a trip could certainly guarantee you greater safety.

112 Where Are U (Android / iOS / iPadOS)

112 Where Are U

Where Are U is an app that allows you to call the Single Emergency Number 112, automatically attaching your position and other useful information to facilitate rescuers. It is available for free on both Android and iOS / iPadOS .

To download Where Are U on your Android device , open the Play Store (the ▶ ︎ colored symbol), search for Where Are U in the latter and press first on the application icon , in the search results, and then on the Install button . If you are reading this tutorial directly from your smartphone, you can open the Where Are U tab on the Play Store using the link I gave you earlier.

If, on the other hand, you use an iPhone or iPad , open the App Store (the blue icon with the “A” in the center, located on the home screen), tap the Search tab (bottom right), search Where Are U and press first on the application icon , in the search results, and then on the Get / Install button : verify, if required, your identity via Face ID , Touch ID or Apple ID password . If you are reading this tutorial directly from your device, you can open the Where Are U tab on the App Store using the link I gave you earlier.

112 Where Are U Tutorial

Once the installation is complete, launch the app. First, press the Register button on its main screen, then tap Allow (if necessary), to authorize the app to access your location, the USB storage and the Phone, then enter your mobile number , put the check mark next to the wording I accept the terms of use, Privacy Policy and click on the Next button below . You will be prompted to confirm the telephone number entered: if it is correct, tap on Confirm , otherwise on Correct . At this point you will be asked to enter your data ( Name ,Surname , Gender , Date of Birth , Country , Photo optional ) and to confirm them by clicking on the check mark located at the top right.

You will have access to a screen that will allow you to enter your ICE (In Case of Emergency) numbers, i.e. the contacts you wish to make visible to the 112 operator together with your position in case of need: you can do this by pressing the + icon located at the top right , choosing between Import from contacts or Enter manually . When you have finished, press on the arrow located at the top right, to access the main screen: here you will see your position in real time (whose details and coordinates can be viewed by pressing on the header at the top), indicated on a map for everything screen, and three buttons.

By pressing the central icon you will call the emergency number, then you will be asked to manually select the service you need, and then send your position automatically. If you cannot speak , touch the icon on the left and then select the type of emergency to be communicated to the 112 operator. By tapping the icon on the right , however, in addition to activating the emergency call, you will communicate your willingness to open a chat with the operations center. You can change your preferences, ICE numbers and make a DEMO call from the Settings by pressing the gear iconlocated at the top right.

FlagMii (Android / iOS / iPadOS)


FlagMii is a free app that allows you to call 112 and the connected services with a single button, automatically sending the GPS data to the operating centers in order to locate the user. It intelligently detects the geographical position , interacting with the software of the rescuers and interfacing with the emergency numbers all over the world; it also has the possibility of receiving notices issued by public bodies in real time , in order to inform and protect citizens. The download is available on both Android and iOS / iPadOS .

Once installation is complete, start the app. Then scroll through the presentation screens until you get to the last one on the right, then put the two ticks on the items I am over 14 and I accept the terms and conditions , then press the button below Continue . Enter your phone number in the empty field, then press Next , finally check that you have entered it correctly by tapping Ok (or Cancel if you want to change it). At this point, FlagMii will send a verification SMS with a 4-digit activation code; as soon as it arrives, enter it in the appropriate field and then click on Ok .

FlagMii Numbers and Channels

Now that you have access to the main menu of the app, press the ☰ button, at the top left, to see the sections of which it is composed: Emergency , which shows the four main numbers here in Italy ( 118 Emergency health, 112 Emergency, 113 Police and 115 Fire Brigade); Notifications , customizable by tapping the button at the top right; Information channels , divided by municipality; Useful numbers , divided by type of emergency (for example regional toll-free numbers) and finally Location, which returns the current position with relative coordinates and precision in meters. You can press the Share button located at the top right, to share the aforementioned position with other apps.

GeoResQ (Android / iOS / iPadOS)


GeoResQ is an app that provides a paid service of geolocation and forwarding of assistance requests, dedicated to those who often travel in the mountains and in the open air. It is managed by the National Alpine and Speleological Rescue Corps (CNSAS) and promoted by the Italian Alpine Club (CAI) ; allows you to identify your position in real time, tracing and archiving the entire route of your excursions, as well as the possibility of forwarding requests for help in cases of emergency. The service is offered by subscription with annual renewal (also automatic) equal to € 20 + VAT ( € 24.40 ), while it is free for CAI members . It can be downloaded on both Android andiOS / iPadOS .

When installation is complete, start the app and, after pressing Allow (to allow access to the device location), click Continue , to accept the user agreement. Then enter your email address in the Activation field and press the arrow located at the bottom right. Once this is done, click Yes if the email address is correct or No, change if you want to change it.

Then continue by entering your mobile number and confirming with the arrow located at the bottom right, press on Yes if correct or on No, change if you want to change it, then choose your password , confirming with the green check located at the bottom and then click Continue . Enter your personal data ( Name , Surname , Tax Code ) and confirm again by pressing the green check mark located at the bottom right.

GeoResQ Follow Me and GPS

If you are not registered with the CAI, the app will ask you if you intend to continue anyway, by clicking on Continue , or if you want to check your data, by clicking on Check Data . You will then have to confirm your new account by clicking on the link sent by SMS . Once done, a login screen will open in your browser where you will need to authenticate for the first time by entering your email or mobile number, your password and then press the red button Login to the portal .

You will have activated your account and you will be able to return to the new app screen: on the home page you will see your current position , altitude and your coordinate settings .

If you press the ☰ button, at the top left, you will have access to the main settings (respectively divided into Test Alarm , Follow Me , Data Transmission Frequency ) and to the advanced settings ( GPS Altitude Correction , Recording Data and App Reactivation ). More information about its functionality can be checked directly on the official website of the application.

Probably, after reading this tutorial of mine, you will have realized better how the SMS Locator service works, the management of emergency calls and the related first aid apps: if you are interested in learning more about the topic, I would like to point out the possibility of being able to share your location with other apps as well. If you want to know more, I therefore suggest you read my tutorials regarding the apps to find out where a person is, how to send the position on Whatsapp, how to send your position with Google Maps and how to put the position on Facebook.

If, on the other hand, you are convinced that having a mobile phone in your pocket on vacation is not enough, no problem! Know that there are valid satellite devices on the market with various price ranges, capable of transmitting your position, SMS and email: try reading my buying guide on the best GPS trackers.