Moblogging, GPS, and Mobile Phones

Chatting on IRC at Joi Ito’s IRC channel Monday night was far too much fun, and I met some terrific people there. Check it out sometime if you can. I was also fascinated with what Joi mentioned to me about moblogging and GPS at the Tokyo Bits site. Take note of the “location” links under a couple of the photos and you’ll find the longitude and latitude coordinates and a map of where the photos were taken.

GPS Details for Tokyo Tidbits explains the code behind how Tokyo Tidbits does it magic with the photos, GPS, and accompanying maps.

The possible uses for such information are exciting to me. For daily use in addition to moblogging, for example, you could send your sweetie a photo of the cute little pub you’re sitting in, and your GPS information could in turn provide a map of where to meet you. The implications of GPS tracking are huge, and security and privacy are huge, too, so we need to work with these technologies in ways that also ensure privacy and security. Below are a few related articles and weblog posts.

  • Blogging, Keitais, GPS, Maps, and Neighborhoods
    Christopher Kobayashi’s weblog post has some links about GPS, locations-based blogging, including the headmap’s Blogosphere 2 and others.
  • Palm-top GPS Tourist Guides
    Smart Mobs links to Nature’s PDAs with GPS help guide tourists; and rent a mobile phone in Tokyo with GPS to guide you around Tokyo and elsewhere while you travel utilizing GPS satellites accurate within a few meters.
  • Modentity
    Doc Searls writes about GPS, presence, relationships, possible scenarios and uses, moblogging implications when combined with GPS, the importance of being able to turn it on and off. Fascinating brainstorming.
  • wireless:moblog:reporting:video:audio:gps:?
    Alan Graham writes about important and helpful ways to utilize GPS tracking with reporters, photographers, audio, video reporting; trucking firms and GPS tracking; homeland security, FBI, emergency use; the importance of presence, not just tracking.

Protocols, Code, Specs

Mobile Phones and GPS

My new mobile phone’s mMode Find It service via AT&T Wireless utilizes GPS tracking for services such as finding nearby restaurants, hotels, bookstores, and other businesses, and its Find Friends feature helps friends see each others' locations, which can also help you find nearby restaurants, bars, pubs, and bookstores to meet. This location-based information is only given with consent by each individual, and I can make myself visible or invisible at any time, too. This feature only works, of course, with others who have the mMode feature and are within the AT&T coverage area when you’re trying to locate each other.

I’ve been testing the Find It services a bit with my local area, and so far I’m impressed with its accuracy in locating nearby restaurants and providing address and phone numbers and directions. I granted permission to track my cell phone’s location to provide me with the information, but I could have also input an address or zip code instead, too. After I test it further, including the Find Friends feature I’ll write more about my experiences with it. As I understand it right now, it tracks to the nearest cell phone tower or at least within a couple of blocks of where someone is actually located, so I’m not sure if I’ll be satisfied with that or not. I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, Tim Hanrahan of the Wall Street Journal recently tested the Find Friends feature with a colleague in Manhattan and wrote about it for his story Location-based services pump up cell phones, but remain clunky. He and his colleague used different phones from mine, which is a Nokia 6200, and I’ve found the new-to-me mMode features quite easy to use.

Here are a couple more reviews on mMode and the Find Friends services:

06:55 pm, pdt 3 June, 2003 Comments, Trackbacks (2) ·';}?>

Categories: Moblogs, Technology, Weblogs, Wireless


Comments, Trackbacks: 2 so far. Add yours!

  1. Will you be kind enough to give me some information on the technology behind GPS inbuilt mobile phones?, basically the location finding of the phone by a user. thank you

    09:14 pm, pst 3 April, 2004Comment by shalini

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  2. I don’t know a whole lot about the GPS technology. Sorry! I’m sure a search at one of the search engines, such as Google (google.com), will send you to plenty of sites that go into detail about it.

    10:42 pm, pst 3 April, 2004Comment by Shirley Kaiser

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