How to triangulate a cell phone

Written by ehow contributor
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Cell phone triangulation collects data and traces the approximate location of the cell phone in question. Because cell phone triangulation requires tracking the strength of the signal from cell phone towers receiving a signal, normal citizens will be unable to perform this function without paying a company for their technology. Once the information is gathered the coordinates will pinpoint you to the position within 25-100 meters of said cell phone. Read on to learn more about how to triangulate a cell phone.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Turn on the cell phone. A live cell phone is in continual relay with surrounding cell phone towers to ensure the strongest signal, meaning the phone must be on to send a signal.

  2. 2

    Note the location of the signal tower receiving the strongest signal. Draw its coverage radius. You now have one point with a circle and know that the phone is located somewhere within that ring.

  3. 3

    Add a second tower's radius and location receiving a signal from your cell phone. The overlapping between these two spheres narrows the choices your phone is located to two points.

  4. 4

    Place the signal strength of a third tower receiving a signal from your cell phone with the other two. At the point where these three orbits intersect you have the location of the cell phone.

Tips and warnings

  • Though this technology has saved lives, privacy issues have kept this topic in the United States court system. There is GPS technology, however, available to keep the costs of cell phone tracking down, such as AccuTracking. Mologogo is a free service you can sign your GPS-enabled cell phones up for in order to keep track of them. Cell phone companies have started offering services to keep track of your phones, like Verizon's Chaperone.
  • An excellent definition of triangulation with an accompanying illustration can be found at the SearchNetworking website.

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