Finland’s senile dog problem

My Sudsy Dame and I both have mobile phones, and on a couple of occasions we’ve been forced to call one another in order to track each other down. Once, when we’d agreed to meet at London’s Elephant and Castle (that’s a large intersection, not the pub) we had to phone one another after both waiting 20 minutes without finding each other. On another occasion Sudsy Dame called for help to get out of London’s notorious Barbican complex.

Benefon Esc! GPS Mobile PhoneIt wasn’t long before I could see the benefit of combining a mobile phone with a global positioning system (GPS), and after a little research I discovered that they already exist.

Today’s Guardian reports on a new application of this idea - Finns can now home in on their hounds thanks to location-based services (see Guardian Unlimited | Online | Dog and bones):

Dogs wear a small mobile device and the hunters carry a Benefon mobile phone with built-in GPS and software from Pointer Solutions. If the dog goes missing, its exact position, bounced off a satellite, will be displayed on a map on the mobile’s screen. The hunter can also listen to the dog, which could be up to 100 kilometres away.

If keeping track of your spouse in this way sounds a little too manipulative and invasive, think again:

Tracking services such as this are among the more successful location-based services, according to Jeremy Green, head of wireless research at London-based consultancy Ovum. KTF of South Korea offers child-tracking and OAP-tracking
[Old Age Person]. Of its 5,000 customers, 20% have senile dementia.

So that’s what’s wrong with Finnish dogs - they’re all senile! I wondered what was wrong with a little old-fashioned obedience training.

Sudsy Dame has yet to develop senile dementia (I think), but the GPS phones could come in handy for the growing sport of Geocaching, of which we are both becoming fans and which I may write more about later.