You can do a lot on your mobile phones these days. Quite a few mobiles now have GPS to determine your location but even if you haven’t got GPS then your location can be determined . My device is a Vodafone v1615 which is a rebadged HTC TyTN II (aka Kaiser). It runs Windows Mobile 6 PPC version and has GPS and Wifi built in. So as you can imagne I have been experimenting with some of the free software that is location aware.
These location aware phones can determine your location either through the GPS on your phone, via Mobile phone mast triangulation or from your wifi IP address. Google Gears has made establishing our location easier whether we have GPS or not. A number of sites are now Google Gears enabled.
Yahoo has also added a new dimension by recently launching FireEagle which allows your location to be shared with other applications. This way you only need run one location aware application on your phone and as along as it can share it’s location with FireEagle your other location aware applications can read your location.
We can use sites like Google maps, Microsoft LiveSearch and Yahoo Go! on our mobiles to find what services and retail outlets are available in our area. Of the three I prefer Google Maps for all the extras you get such as being able to enter the name of a point of interest and not only do you get its location (full address and contact details) but reviews, photos & videos, user content, links to its web page and its entry in wikipedia. The one thing missing from Google maps is traffic news in the UK (its available in the US). The one I use for traffic is Map 24 which is another download but it does give good traffic plus the usual what’s in the area.
I have been looking for a simple ‘show my location’ piece of software, nothing complicated just my location. Loki would be a great example of a simple clean effective tool to show your location but at the moment it only uses WiFi to determine your location no sign of it using Google Gears. Loki links to FireEagle but doesn’t allow you to read your location from FireEagle it only allows your Loki location to be sent to FireEagle.
SeeMyWhere looks to be more like it as it can use GPS or Xtify to determine your location. However it is only available on Blackberry at the moment. It doesn’t share its location through FireEagle and I am reluctant to load yet another add-in (Xtify) to determine my location when I’m already running GoogleGears.
So I am currently using Rummble which is much more than just a location revealer. It of course uses Google Gears and can share and read locations through FireEagle. It has a status update , you can announce a future trip (see Dopplr below) and you can write a travel blog. It’s main purpose seems to be to Rummble (share your rating of) a place you have visited. And you can see Rummbles about places in your vicinity.
Like a lot of other Social Networking software Rummble can interlink with other Social Networking software. I have mine set to update my status and location on Twitter which in turn updates my Facebook status – see my earlier blog joining up my web spaces. It can be set to show your Rummbles on a map in Facebook which I haven’t set yet.
It also allows you to share your photos or to pull in your Flickr photos. That reminds me that if your phone has a camera as well as GPS you can geo tag your photos and display them on a map on Flickr and Picassa or add them to Google Earth. See my earlier blog on discovering the joys of geotagging
Rummble like Dopplr allows us to announce future trips that will trigger people we know or are linked to in the vicinity of our trip. Rummble adds the ability to write a travel blog about your exploits not that I have entered one yet!
Location aware applications allow you to share your location with your friends but you can also go public, though not necessarily revealing your exact location. This would be a great way of discovering people you have lost touch with although I have not found anybody that way yet. I have been approached by people I do not know on Rummble.
I have just been introduced to a similar service to Rummble called Loopt which I shall have to investigate further but I’m already feeling overwhelmed with location aware applications. It would be good to find a source which analysed which location aware applications had the largest networks.