I’ve been using Google Latitude in the US to plot my movements, wondering how powerful this technology is and can be in the future – for example, the potential for the system to auto-generate way-points on Google Maps, with links to Facebook / Picasa photos and YouTube videos all uploaded from the mobile.
The accuracy and speed of GPS (roaming on AT&T) in the US is significantly better and faster respectively than on Dialog in Sri Lanka.
Without being connected to the GSM network and on WiFi (on an unknown but extremely fast service provider in my hotel), my Bold places me on the Hudson in Up-State New York but around 1Km from my actual location.
Around 2 minutes after connecting to 3G on AT&T, the location is spot on.
From around a 1km radius to around 10m or less.
The iPhone with assisted GPS may be faster at pinpointing location, but the Bold does the job well enough. Where the two phones differ is in the plethora of social networking GPS applications available for the iPhone versus the paucity of such programmes for the Bold. Though both devices can tag geo-location to photos taken on them, the iPhone wins hands down in the quality of applications that leverage its (more advanced) GPS functionality.
Whereas the eye candy and functionality of Brightkite.com on the iPhone is the Rolls Royce today of location aware social networking apps on a high end mobile, Google Latitude’s appeal lies in its simplicity, tie in with Google Maps (and in the future, the multimedia platforms and other location data on Google data centres) and the ability to run it on a broader range of devices. Plus, it’s taken the wind out of the sails from technologies like InSTEDD’s GeoChat, which still has an edge over Latitude with a superior feature set, but one that with just one sweep can be adopted by Google.
Intend to use these emergent technologies in the near future for some work in Sri Lanka, where street level information is non-existent, but GPS tagged mobile phone notes from across Sri Lanka may prompt micro-blogging citizen journalism with pithy insights not captured by mainstream media.