Android Context based computing Thoughts

Went for a walk, came back with a map


Early this week to test a new Android application and to walk of the Google Christmas Lunch, I went for an early afternoon walk near the office.

The application I was testing was My Maps Editor and Android application to create and edit Google My Maps, and it pretty much worked first time as expected allowing be to create a simple map of my walk.

At the end of 2008 it’s quite difficult to get really excited by this as we have come to expect so much from mainstream geospatial technology.

But just think what I have achieved from my walk, not only have I created a multimedia rich database with potentially metre accuracy geospatial features, I have also created a distribution channel to publish the database within minutes to hundreds of millions of users.

All from a mobile device that costs a few hundred pounds.


So this type of technology may never be used to create base map data, but for many organisations who need to be able to do simple data capture outside of the office there is huge potential here.

Maybe over christmas I will complete my recycling map for Richmond 🙂

Written and submitted from the Google Office, London.

Context based computing LBS Thoughts

Context based computing

I’ve been thinking over the last few weeks that at last LBS (Location Based Services) is becoming a real market, what with the release of iPhone 2.0 and the imminent release of the first Android phone with its location platform. It has taken much longer then any of us would have expected, but applications using location are finally becoming mainstream.

At the same time however I have also been thinking that the term itself may no longer be appropriate. Actually location is just one signal that application and service developers can use to understand context, ie what is happening at any point in time to an individual and therefore what information is most relevant to them.

I quite like the term “context based computing” to describe this, as it encapsulates what we understand as LBS today but also extends into the future use of other types of sensors and devices to provide services relevant to specific activities we carry out in our daily lives.


A great example of the type of service I mean is the soon to be released fitbit, which was a runner up in this weeks Techcrunch 50 event. Fitbit is a small device which measures your activity during the day and night and reports back to your computer whenever you are in wireless network range of it, building up a profile of the calories you burn, how much time you sleep and the quality of your sleep.


Very neat !

Written and submitted from the Google Office, London.