The creator of the service, Michael Robson recently launched the service, called Mapmates, after 14 months in the planning. The service helps friends, family members and workmates find one another on a map using the GPS navigation systems in their mobile phones.
Once two users have accepted one another as "mates", they can view each other's most recently updated location on the Mapmates website or through an application on their phone. Similar mobile phone tracking services have been launched recently in the US and Europe, sparking concerns that parents, partners and employers could misuse the technology.
The most controversial of the services, Social Network Integrated Friend Finder, or SNIFF, offers an application for Facebook to allow users to track others through the social networking website.
Robson said he came up with the idea after hearing about the increasing speed of mobile internet access in Australia, and watching his twin 19-year-old sons visit websites and SMS several friends to formulate weekend plans.
"One of my sons came home at 5pm and started visiting Facebook and MySpace trying to find out where the latest party was. Then he started texting friends on his mobile. An hour later he had the information and was out of the house. About half an hour later, my other son got home and did the same thing. I thought there had to be an easier way to do this," News.com.au quoted him, as saying.
After teaming up with some computer programmers, Robson was able to bring his idea to life. Mapmates is a Java application suitable for any GPS-enabled mobile phone with Internet access. Users must download and install the program on their phone, and register their details with Mapmates to use the service.
Once set up, the Mapmates program sends your location co-ordinates to its web servers, and your location can be accessed by registered users you have allowed to see your details. Likewise, you can see their locations. You can find your friends either by looking online, with their location pinpointed on Google Maps, or through a map image sent to your mobile phone.