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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Saturday, May 18, 2024

Identity Map – Locations

Author: Mark Dixon
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
8:15 am

"a position or site occupied or available for occupancy or marked by
some distinguishing feature

find location as an Identity attribute to be a fascinating subject. I first
wrote about location as an Identity attribute in one of my first blog

We just got a Christmas card from my wife’s sister and her husband featuring a
photo of themselves standing on the Great Wall of China.

At the point in time
when that photo was taken, it is fair to say that the locations attributes of
Diane’s and Gaylen’s respective Identities were different that when they were
back home in Salt Lake City. Each individual in the world possesses a location
attribute (perhaps expressed in longitude, latitude and elevation) at any point
in time.

Physical location is usually described relative to a fixed position. My home
address is usually expressed relative to the nation in which I live, but can
be expressed relative to the earth if I add nation to my address.

If you would like to conduct an addressing experiment, please send postcard
to me, addressed only to "Mark, 85204-4623 USA." If the zip code system
works, the postcard should come directly to my house. All the other addressing
information is theoretically superfluous.

When I fly on an airplane, my address (seat number) is relative to that particular
airplane. When I attend a baseball game, my address (seat number) is relative
to the stadium where the game is played.

Logical locations (e.g. email address, website addresses, cell phone number)
are not attached to physical locations. While I exist physically in Arizona
(at the point in time while I’m writing this blog), a logical representation
of my Identity can exist elsewhere. The physical location is not necessarily
important. I was on a conference call today with six other people. The logical
address (conference bridge) was relevant; the physical location of the participants
was not.

Location based services, such as 911
service for cell phones, are based on the premise that the location of a person
at any point in time is important. Of course, 911 service for home telephone
service is much easier to implement, because home telephone users are tethered
to a specific location by a piece of wire. However, when technology can link
a logical address (telephone number) to a physical location (longitude/latitude),
all sorts of interesting applications emerge.

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