Look no GPS !

This is just so cool, and having used it over the past few months around the world, it actually is improving with time as other users improve our cell database. Another great example of the power of cloud-sourcing and another shot in the arm for the prospects of LBS – as a platform not an application.

This is really just the first step..

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.

14 comments

  1. David Patrick

    Whilst pretty cool – it is nothing new. O2 and Streetmap.co.uk have been offering this for a while (at least 12-15 months)

    I have it on my Motorola Krazr phone. All I do is call up the service called “Where am I” and it locates me, and displays my location on the Streetmap data.

    I suspect the advantage here may well be speed from Google as well as the area of coverage, but I am not so sure it is something new.

  2. Duncan Garratt

    I tested this technology over four years ago! This is nothing new and has a number of legal hurdles to overcome here in the UK for organisations wishing to enter the market. The biggest problem was position accuracy, which rarely exceeded better than 200 metres. It certainly is not a competitor for GPS. Radio direction finding has been around for decades and I am at a loss to understand what all the hype is about.

  3. Pingback: Paul Maunders | Web log » Blog Archive » Google launches “My Location” - the missing piece of the mobile maps pie
  4. Phil Bridges

    Well Kudos to google for taking a geeky bit of Geo-technology that hardly anybody knew about and re-packaging it so that all and sundry can benefit from it. What’s the betting the mainstream media will quickly pick this story up and run with it big time? (Must check out the Grauniad out tomorrow and BBC Click on Sunday.)

    I am always impressed how well google maps and the google mail app works on my rather uninspiring Nokia 6300 (which isn’t a smartphone).. can’t wait to try this puppy out with the old girl.

  5. Pingback: googlemaps for mobile cell location database « thinkwhere
  6. tim waters

    I think the main difference here with previous work is that without consciously participating, users of the same app that do have GPS map the cell towers, improve the data thus benefiting those who do not have GPS, but still want to locate themselves on the map.

    It also circumvents purchasing worldwide datasets of cell tower locations.

  7. Paul Maunders

    I think this is a fantastic innovation, so well done Google.

    I tried it out tonight on my N95 here in Farnborough (UK) and it was able to locate me to within 1700 metres (certainly enough to find local services like pizza delivery!).

    With GPS enabled, it took just a few seconds to find 5 satellites (much faster than the built in Nokia Maps app) and it was able to locate me within 60 metres.

    The interface is visually pleasing as well with the constantly updating satellite information.

  8. Daniel

    David, I think that some of us understand that it’s ‘nothing new’ in the context of locative technologies. That was the very basis for our repeatedly having to combat the discussions that seemed to specifically hit the advent of the iPhone for lacking GPS capability.

    Perhaps the ‘journalists’ will be a little more wise to listen to people who actually understand these technologies vs. portraying reality in a way that is highly inaccurate.

  9. georg

    hi all, i have only read about such services, now i am able to try it on my phone with lots of success. my location was approximately correct though i would have still famished due to the buffer of a mile. well, i claim that i type almost any road name faster than i would walk down one mile especially with some pain in the stomach.

    anyway, perhaps someone knows whether this service is pro-actively (establishing a GSM connection on its own) retrieving data or it just uses the last information sent to the phone? I could not figure that out until now….

    well, next thing might be fine-tuning the location by using WLAN hot spots if available…

  10. Crouchingbadger

    I’m disappointed and excited all at the same time. Disappointed that I mucked about with client-based cellid LBS a few years ago and then didn’t do much about it, and excited that now Google is maintaining the a cell location database there will be a stack of things you can do with it.

    I’m wondering if Jaiku is sharing that cell DB. And hows about a Fire Eagle style sandpit plskthx?

    Ed, does your database age out the entries? I noticed LAC codes change a fair bit, which means you can be match to a wrong location.

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