Posts Tagged ‘gps’

Location based services for mobiles

Friday, January 8th, 2010

Location based services have been around for a number of years in the research community. They were always fun to build and excellent research vehicles but needed something to change before hitting the streets. Well, now we’re beginning to carry GPS enabled devices these services have hit the mainstream. I regularly use Yelp and Around Me on the iPhone to find local restaurants, gas stations, and coffee shops. The integration with the maps application is a fantastic coupling. Now Google have released their search services with the “Near me now” service (iPhone and Andriod in US only).

Location data for these applications is usually derived from GPS readings but it is not limited to that. You can use wifi spotting, video capture, parse user calendars or discover location by inference (I am near Alice and Alice knows where she is so I can find where I am). But in practice are these other inputs really required? Or are they all part of a larger model of the real world?

Location based services are a manifestation of pervasive computing in the real world. Next will come more complex context aware services with social aspects and recommendations. I’ve oft heard the question “who will pay for the infrastructure for pervasive computing?”. I think the answer is still “we will” but now you can add “and already are”.

Geotracking, photos and google earth

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

I’m planning a round the world tour and have been looking into options for geotagging photos and posting our path online. After a bit of research I think a good option is to go with the geotagging feature of Picasa. It is a fairly straightforward process which involves selecting the photos in Picasa, zooming round the globe in google earth and clicking on where they were taken. I considered carrying a gps (Leo Laporte on the “mac break weekly” podcast was big-upping Garmin Nuvis recently)  on me at all times and recording tracks but the battery life of the gps was going to seriously limit how much I could record. We’re looking at a max of 8 hours of tracking — that is no use in the Amazon basin where there are no plugs.

For fun I might build tracks on google earth and post them too. I can use my gps to locate points of interest (will need to pay $20 for GE plus if I want to use GPS directly with it) or just zoom round. To prepare for offline access I’ve upped my disk cache in GE preferences and will cache images before we head out. You can do this by setting a collection of way points and then playing a movie that flies over them. As GE goes along our trail the images will get cached and I can replay them in an offline state [details].