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Wednesday, January 16, 2008


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Wes Biggs

There has been a lot of progress on the W3C Geolocation standard lately (javascript API). I'm working on an application called Locatable (currently in beta and available for jailbroken phones) that enables this API and other location-based services on the iPhone/iPod Touch via the built-in Safari browser. I'd be interested in your comments and suggestions. See http://lbs.tralfamadore.com/ for details.


wes: i like the javascript API work, but they are very focused on just getting access to GPS data, and that's all. it took them quite a while to even figure out that (a) coordinates must have well-defined reference systems to make any sense, and that (b) elevation can come in a variety of flavors, even in an GPS-oriented environment. i don't know whether the latter part is already take care of in the latest draft. some GIS people would certainly be helpful in that group.

and i am worried that the group is just rushing something out and setting a precedence for "location on the web" with no real understanding of the architectural issues and the fact that they are setting a pretty important precedent. for example, so far there is not even a use case or requirements document, and even though the focus clearly is "access to GPS measurements", they still claim to be about geolocation.

i do know that nowadays it is all about this "community-driven" style of getting things done, but i still think that location is important enough to actually warrant some top-down design thoughts, and not just bottom-up developments with very specific and limited goals. i think some leadership exercised by the W3C would be good here, but that does not seem to be the majority opinion.

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