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Android ELS Data

Discussion in 'Android Development' started by Koerner Gray, Oct 16, 2017.

  1. Koerner Gray

    Koerner Gray Lurker
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    Google has announced, in June-July 2016, that they've implemented their own version of Advanced Mobile Location (AML) which they're calling ELS and that it is backwards-compatible to the Gingerbread OS (see links at bottom, I can't hyperlink because I'm new). It is certainly a part of the Nougat OS, but I don't know what changes were specifically made and when. Knowing these changes would help me figure out how AML/ELS works, and how I could get the data to 911 call centers. (Basically when you dial an emergency number, the phone automatically calculates its location and sends that to an endpoint via data sms or https post (or both?)).

    I am interested in trying to understand how ELS messages work on Android phones, as I am working with the 911 call center (PSAP) at my university to help them receive this added location information, which is usually more accurate than the information they get already. The AML is a public open source specification, and I imagine that ELS just sends a message more or less according to the AML protocol, so I imagine it would be possible to find out how the OS is sending out this ELS data. How can I figure out how to access this functionality of Android phones? I've tried contacting google directly but haven't had much success so far. Am I reasonable in assuming that it has to be written into the source code, and figuring out where might make it possible to receive it?
     

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  2. LV426

    LV426 I say we take off and nuke this place from orbit
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    I think this service is transparent to users, and happens automatically in the background. As such there's no public API to use it, so figuring out how it's working could be difficult.
    I've been searching the web, but discovered very little about the technical details. You could try dredging through the Android framework code, but unless you have some idea where the specific code is located, it might be difficult to find. And this could even be implemented as a native library, which has no source available.
     
  3. Koerner Gray

    Koerner Gray Lurker
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    You're right that it happens automatically, which I think is why they chose Data SMS messages (these don't appear in the handset user's outbox). There are no specs publicly available, though the AML specs are public and my guess is Google just copied the AML format. Would it be possible to create an app that recorded/logged all Data SMS and all HTTPS information transmitted by the handset? If it were possible to log ALL the outgoing data, in theory I could just install that app, call 911, and check for any SMS/HTTPS activity that looks like it corresponds with AML/ELS messages. Can you see any obstacles to that approach? (Of course, it's possible that no messages are currently being sent by ELS, and it's just a latent capability that must yet be activated).
     

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