GIS LBS Thoughts

The challenge to deliver Location based services

Last week I spent a couple of days with Reuters, as part of their excellent Innovation Programme looking at the potential for new products and services in the next 5-10 years. It is vital for information businesses such as Reuters to do this, as it is for any knowledge business, as the barriers to entry in the web 2.0 world are low for future potential competitors.

Within the geospatial industry many of us are excited by the prospect of ambient geospatial information and the ability of future devices to really deliver services using the location of the user to provide the much needed context.

The interest of Reuters in this is just one example of the increased awareness of the importance of “where” in delivering future consumer focused services, as with many things maybe it will take at least three or four attempts for “location based services” to reach the mainstream.

There are still many challenges to deliver LBS operationally, data availability, privacy concerns, standards, etc and of course the business model – however maybe awareness and the interest to innovate in this space is no longer a problem

If you don’t believe me just type iPhone and GPS into Google and see what you get !

Written and submitted from Starbucks, Fleet Street, using the BTOpenzone 802.11 network.

2 replies on “The challenge to deliver Location based services”

Hi Ed

There has been a lot of discussion around creating location aware content, but less about how it can be used. One area we are pushing very strongly is the use of geotagged images for navigation. With the growth in geotagged imagery it seems logical to use this imagery not just for showing the location of a picture on a map, but also as a destination that can be navigated to.

The image can essentially act as a ‘token’ (just like a vcard in Outlook) holding location information that can be distributed over the Internet (fixed or mobile) with the receiving device or application extracting the location information as a destination that can then be navigated to. An added bonus is that the image provides visual confirmation of the location.

But why use an image when you could just send co-ordinates? Primarily because the EXIF graphics standard already defines a set of standard GPS fields therefore as long as the receiving application can extract the co-ordinates we then have a de-facto common standard for exchanging destination information between devices.

What’s great with this approach is that it creates a market for both ‘professional’ content such as our POSIPIX Street and PoI images ( and also user generated content.

Tim Woolford

[…] Ed Parsons posted a short report of the couple of days he spent at Reuters, as part of their excellent Innovation Programme. He mentions the increasing interest for Reuters to deliver location and consumer focused information but as with many things maybe it will take at least three or four attempts for location based services to reach the mainstream. The challenges to deliver appropriate LBS (e.g. data availability, privacy concerns, standards). However, Reuter’s interest show the intention to innovate in the long term in this space. […]

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