Android iphone Thoughts

Augmented Reality mashup* Event

Nearest Tube AR for real
Nearest Tube AR for real

Hot topic of the moment if you have been tracking application development on the iPhone and Android platforms is Augmented Reality (AR), the ability to display annotated views of the world using a smartphones video camera and GPS.

The excellent team behind the Mashup* events are holding an event later this month and I would recommend it highly if you are in London.

It’s early days still for AR and progress will be limited in the short term by both a lack of data and poor quality digital compass functionality but the potential is huge.

There has been a discussion of the need for AR standards to develop AR applications on the geowanking email list, and there are as usual many existing standards which could be adopted, but it may still be too early for a standardisation process as the real issues of interoperability are not clearly understood yet.

AR is clearly one of the technologies that is moving geospatial data and its representation away from traditional cartography and all its limitations, and it will become something we all take for granted within a few years.

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network

Android iphone LBS

Contextual Computing and The Informed Traveller


I’m speaking next week at the Location and Timing Forum who are holding a special meeting on the informed traveller, in other words providing contextual services to travellers.

Next week the meeting is at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, so I won’t really be needing much in the way of contextual services to get me there ..

But in all seriousness I have become to rely at least on the mobile mapping services on both my Android and iPhone to get me to meetings, where once I might have printed off a map from a web mapping service, or in the more distant past used a street atlas, I now just use my phone.

This is of course the most obvious and simple application, the real innovation will come when in addition to location the other context clues about the individual traveller such as time and history are also used in applications.

Written and submitted from the Google Office, London.

Data Policy iphone LBS Thoughts

#Geomob just keeps growing

On Friday evening, I went along to the latest meeting of Geomob the developer community event created by Christopher Osborne focused on developments in what used to be called Location Based Services, but which now more sensibly people recognise as mobile applications of GEO technologies.

The key difference from the old days (2 years ago !!) of LBS, is that now the barrier to entry is much lower allowing the hacker community to really start to play and innovate without having to have huge resources behind them.

However despite technologies and services like Fire Eagle, Google Maps, OpenStreetMap/Cluodmade, there are still problems getting access to some types of information that would make mobile applications even more compelling, and yes I am talking about that old chestnut, access to public sector data sets.

The relevance of this to the community was demonstrated by the appreciation of the audience for the presentation given by Richard Allan of the Power of Information Task Force, who highlighted the well known issues with OS licensing practises.

2009-03-27 19.46.57.jpg

For me these problems are demonstrated perfectly by the example of the new iPhone application National Rail.

This is a wonderful application, that is really useful providing real time train timetable information, and making use of location technology to automatically identify the closest station to you, and give you the timetable for trains to take you home.. very useful on a Friday night believe me..


The only problem is the cost, £4.99 which is expensive for an iPhone application where most commercial application cost less than a pound.

Why should the application cost anything? after-all surely the role of the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) is too make it easy for people to use the trains, not to sell software.

I have a similar application on my iPhone produced by British Airways that allows me to look up their timetable.. it is free.

ATOC may argue that there are development costs, etc in releasing an application like this, well the solution to that is straight forward, make he timetable information available free for the Geomob developers to download, sit back and watch what happens !

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