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t3knomanser's Fustian Deposits

Geolocated Web

How Random Babbling Becomes Corporate Policy

run the fuck away

Mad science gone horribly, horribly wrong(or right).

Geolocated Web

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run the fuck away
I've been doing some simple Google searches, but I'm looking for information on geolocating web sites. Not websites that can do geolocation, but actually attaching location information to websites, either via a <meta> tag or some sort of xml file (like site.com/geolocation.xml) that contains geographic information.

Here's the idea, as roughly inspired by this blog post. A site places a geolocation.xml file in its root directory or a subdirectory. XML data embedded in a page (probably better). This file will contain lat/longs, probably defining an area (center/radius, corners of a polygon, whatever).

A webcrawler would troll for these files, index websites by them. Client apps would reside on devices like phones, GPS devices, and the like. They'd check the device's location, and would tie that location to "nearby" websites.

There are issues. Spam management. Actually handling the indexing, overhead, optimizing. Client app design, getting buy-in on the geoloc files. Details, at this point. The sketch of the idea is there, and it's clearly a reachable goal. It may not be reachable on my own, but it's reachable.
  • I fail to see any practical, or even toy use there is for that idea.

    If I'm reading this right, it would tell you how far you are from a webserver? In real time? Then you could use geolocation to find the godaddy servers? Or someone's house? Doesn't seem very secure to me.

    I would never put geolocation information on my website if that were the idea.
    • Not the server- who cares about the server? The site itself.

      If a company has a website, the geoloc data would be tied to their storefronts. A historical building could tie its website to the geographic location. Blood drive trucks could broadcast their locations (past, present, and future) by updating the geoloc file on the Red Cross webserver.
      • Still seems a little too Big-Brothery. Kinda like On-Star.

        The problem with all this technology is that while there are tons of great, legitimate uses for it, that there are so many scary uses.

        For example, I put this remote geoloc hardware on someone's cars, and now I know that they're not at home. Hell, now I know that they're in Martha's Vineyard, so I have all weekend to break in and steal their stuff. That's the problem with once you make this mobile, and you've made it accessible to the masses.

        If it was some kind of proprietary museum listening device, which was broadcasting a signal to tell you the history of a building, I suppose that's cool, but where's the market? I annoy my friends because I like to stop and read the plaques at various locations, but most people just don't - And I wouldn't want to spend $30, $300, $3000 on a proprietary device. I'd rather just read the plaque for free.

        You could charge the site for the service, but why would they do that when there is no cost, other than the initial purchase of the plaque, and most of these places don't have that kind of thing in their operating budget.

        Good websites for large companies already put their locations with google map or mapquest links.

        This seems like the sort of idea that's neat, (as long as it's not made mobile), but not fiscally prudent. There's just no way to make money on this venture.

        Now, the same effect could be done, and you might make money on it, by simply having a website, mostly geared for mobile devices, and you just entered in your location, it x-refs a db that has locations, and tells you what's nearby. It could also give you directions, simply by hacking google maps. You could charge a subscription fee, people could use their existing technology, you could build it rapidly, using existing technology, and you could make it free to list your historical location, and charge a fee to make it appear higher in the list.

        It would also tell you what you were standing in front of - which I think is what the guy in the original blog was trying to do in the first place.

        You might find support for this idea from these guys.
        • Apparently, I'm explaining this really wrong.
          Now, the same effect could be done, and you might make money on it, by simply having a website, mostly geared for mobile devices, and you just entered in your location, it x-refs a db that has locations, and tells you what's nearby.
          This is exactly what I'm talking about. Web sites expose structured information about the physical area they represent. Search engines than index websites based on that geolocation information. Mobile devices can then query the search engine to get a report of websites that are tied to a location near them. If you're near PPG Place, you get a link to the PPG Place website.

          So, I run PPG Place. Someplace on that website, I expose a geoloc.xml file that exposes the lat/long of the area where PPG Place is located. Probably a center point and a radius. A search engine, like Google (call it Neargle), swings through via their webcrawler and indexes the site based on that geocoding information. An end user whips out their iPhone, fires up their Neargle app. It sends their location to Neargle's servers and Neargle returns websites of locations near them.

          Basically, it's decentralizing what is already done by Google Maps and Yelp! and similar services and giving webmasters a way to link their website to a physical space.

          Edited at 2008-10-14 04:14 pm (UTC)
          • OK, I do see what you're saying now. And it would be neat, however, I still don't see how you could make money on it if it were decentralized.

            If the goal is to build a nifty new technology, and you don't care about making anything on it, then by all means, run with it. But if you have hopes of it making you money (even enough to patent/copyright the idea when IBM or some other mega-normous company copycats/steals it), I still don't see that happening.

            Perhaps you could pitch the idea to google...

            Have you ever thought that maybe you should be working in academia, where you can do things like all these ideas you have totally on grant money? Seriously, I really think you should consider grad school, and skip the master's bit. A doctorate might do you well.
            • The same way Google makes money off of the web, even though it's decentralized.

              Someone needs to index the geoloc data. That's the point of money-making. Apps to access that index. The geoloc data format is just the framework for money making.

              And yeah, I really do want to get back into school. I live within spitting distance of one of the best tech schools in the country, and I really need to get on that (CMU).
  • The spam problem is already solved, to some extent. SSL Certificates validate addresses as part of the verification process. The problem is they only let you link to a single site. Perhaps a cheaper product based on a slightly less rigorous validation process from the same companies is in order.
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