The government is mulling the possibility to use an SMS/GPS Pilgrim Location Tracking System application to locate haj pilgrims who lost their way while in the Holy Land, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki said.

He said the application based on Android operating system was developed by a group of researchers through the Hajj Research Cluster grant worth RM9 million.

The application would not only facilitate Tabung Haji (TH) staff in tracking missing pilgrims every year, but would also be able to provide haj pilgrims with updates and information on their surroundings, he said.

“I have seen the application, it only requires you to have a tablet or a smartphone to use the SMS (short messaging service) and GPS (global positioning system).

“I will definitely discuss this matter in detail with the TH management later,” Asyraf Wajdi told reporters after opening the 2016 Regional Haj Conference here Wednesday.

Over 100 participants from several countries including Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Brunei, Thailand, Singapore and Cambodia are attending the two-day conference which began today.

The deputy minister said through the grant, the research team had also developed several other applications, including the umrah guide mobile application or M-Umrah, Madinah Virtual Tour, Makkah Location Tracker and Makkah GPS Location Tracker System.

Meanwhile, head of the research team who is also USM Computer Science lecturer, Prof Muhammad Rafie Mohd Arshad, said the SMS/GPS Tracker System to locate missing haj pilgrims was first developed in 2012 and the application had been tested several times in Makkah.

“The system can also be used to monitor buses travelling to certain locations. We can also check their status so that we will be aware of any delays or breakdowns,” he said.