[whatwg] Geolocation in the browser

Steve Runyon s.runyon at gmail.com
Sat Feb 24 05:05:54 PST 2007

Thinking aloud here....

What if the navigator object offered multiple geolocation-related values,
and the user could select which one to provide either globally or on a
per-site basis?

For example:
.latLong = latitude and longitude within the mininum available error radius
.latLongApprox = latitude and longitude within a user-defined error radius
.postalCode = the current postal code
.municipality = the current town/city (useful?  compare Cairo, Egypt and
Cairo, Georgia, US)
.state = state/canton/etc.
.country = country

If postalCode, municipality or state is provided, country is always also
provided to enable the server to look up the corresponding geographic area.

On 2/23/07, Gervase Markham <gerv at mozilla.org> wrote:
> Kornel Lesinski wrote:
> > For some applications location given in format other than lat/long may
> > be more useful and less privacy-sensitive.
> The privacy-sensitivity problem can be easily dealt with by reducing the
> accuracy of the lat/long given.
> > For example name of the city might be good enough if you order a cab
> > from a nationwide company.
> > Postcode would be easiest way to integrate location API with existing
> > services (especially via userjs/greasemonkey, where using
> > location->postcode database may be difficult).
> The problem with suggestions like this is that they require geocoding on
> the server side. Geocoding services are not always readily available;
> there's no free, unencumbered implementation I know of. And you need a
> different database for every country.
> I guess I don't object to the browser returning this information
> additionally if it knows it - but lat/long should be the baseline,
> always-present info.
> > My proposal is:
> >
> > use navigator.getGeolocation instead of window.getLocation to avoid
> > conflicts with existing functions (window object is a global namespace
> > in JS) and to avoid confusion with window.location object.
> I think this is a good idea.
> > navigator.getGeolocation() would return location with best precision
> > allowed by default (without asking user every time). If user set in
> > preferences that every page can get location with 10km precision, that
> > would be returned.
> I think it's better to ask every time and remember the precision
> allowed. I would certainly much prefer to know who knows where I am.
> Gerv
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