[whatwg] Geolocation in the browser

Ryan Sarver rsarver at skyhookwireless.com
Wed Feb 21 17:48:58 PST 2007


I hear you ... the idea is really two fold -- the first part is to standardize how web applications access the location information, regardless of how it is determined. The second is to offer a standard way of different location acquiring technologies -- GPS, Wifi positioning, geocoding an user-entered address, etc -- to deliver location to the browser. In this case I am proposing using the NMEA standard as it is well documented and would allow for compatibility with existing GPS devices.

I agree, there are very few GPS-enabled laptops - in fact the only one I know if us a UMPC - but there are a lot of Bluetooth capable laptops and Bluetooth antennas to provide the location. There are also solutions like ours at Skyhook that are software-only and would allow people to immediately begin to provide their location to the browser via a simple download.

This would all obviously be configurable in the UA...

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Accettura [mailto:robert at accettura.com] 
Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2007 8:29 PM
To: Ryan Sarver
Cc: Steve Runyon; whatwg at lists.whatwg.org
Subject: Re: [whatwg] Geolocation in the browser

Ryan Sarver wrote:
> Steve, good points…
> It’s also important to remember that this functionality would be an 
> opt-in system – unlike your cell phone :) The prototype that we are 
> working on would allow the browser to point to a COM port where it 
> could find a GPS device or any NMEA-compatible device or software. It 
> would then read the NMEA stream over the COM port and use that to 
> deliver the user’s location to the website via the DOM.
> Our software positions you based on WiFi triangulation and can emulate 
> a GPS device by streaming NMEA over  a virtual COM port so that the 
> user wouldn’t need to have a dedicated GPS antennae.
I'd think a more practical approach would be to allow for a user-entered location, and let GPS override should the user have a GPS capable device.  There are many good reasons to to have geolocation (statistical, custom content, etc.), but few GPS capable devices.  I think more content providers would consider this to be a usable source of data if the UA had fallbacks (GPS, OS, preference in UA). 

Robert Accettura
robert at accettura.com

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