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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Begging for GPS

Author: Mark Dixon
Saturday, May 31, 2008
5:58 am

Way back in 2005, when I discussed the Identity Map in this blog, I described “location” as a key Identity attribute. At any point in time, each individual in the world possesses a location attribute (perhaps expressed in longitude, latitude and elevation).

Thanks to the Global Positioning System (GPS), we can detect and leverage our current location to great advantage. For example, “Maggie,” which I affectionately call the Magellean GPS navigation device my wife gave me for Christmas, helps me navigate new and strange cities with ease.

But, alas, a couple of great web 2.0 products, Twitxr and Britekite, are examples of applications that just beg to be GPS enabled.

I use Twitxr frequently as an easy way to post grainy photos from my Treo camera to the web. With just a few keystrokes, my photo shows up on Twitxr, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Plaxo and this blog (see right sidebar). Each photo is tagged with the address I specify in the subject line of the email I use to submit the picture. The Twitxr web application uses Google Maps to show where the photo was taken. For example, my latest Twitxr post is a photo of my computer screen as I create this post. If you click here, and then click on address I specified, you can see the photo and a map of Mesa, Arizona, ostensibly the location where the photo was taken.

Like Twitxr, Britekite allows me to submit photos with an address tag. Additionally, users can “check in” at a location of choice without submitting a photo, so friends can know where you are at any point in time. By the way, if you visit me, you can see I am nearly friendless on Brightkite. If you send me your email address on Twitter (@mgd), I’ll send you one of the five Brightkite beta invitations I have.

As handy as these applications are, my big thumbs limit their effectiveness. Typing in specific addresses on a tiny keyboard is inconvenient and tedious. I usually cop out and simply type in the airport code or city/state where I am located. Wouldn’t GPS be great here? If every photo I took was automatically tagged with the precise geo coordinates, I could easily opt to send that information along with each photo I submit to Twitxr or Britekite. Or, I could easily “check in” without the tedious entry of a specific address.

I have already made up my mind that the next mobile phone I purchase must be GPS enabled. Hopefully, Twitxr or Britekite or similar applications that take their place will be able to take advantage of this great feature.

Now, if only Nikon would build GPS into my SLR!

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2 Responses to “Begging for GPS”

    Hi Mark. We are currently working on GPS enabled versions of Brightkite. They will be available to the public very soon.

    – Brady

    Comment by Brady on June 2, 2008 at 4:13 pm


    Great news! Now I just need to get a phone with GPS so I can use it!


    Comment by Mark Dixon on June 2, 2008 at 4:32 pm

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