Where's Your Phone At?
By Eric Lin, Mon Aug 25 19:15:00 GMT 2003

Location based services are already quite popular in Asia and on the rise in Europe. The U.S. is just starting to jump into the game with E911 deadlines looming close, and ATT recently launching its Friend Finder service. MIT Technology Review takes a look at the state of location sensing technology and applications and how they could be used in the States.


First picked up by Smart Mobs, MIT Technology Review has published a very thorough explanation of systems used for mobile location based services. It explains how each system works, and how location based services are currently being used around the world, all in very straightforward language. The author goes over the strengths and weakness of the two primary cellular systems (assisted GPS and cellular triangulation), as well as new systems that allow a finer degree of precision under more localized circumstances, inside a large building for example.

Interoperability (or lack thereof) between the systems is raised as one possible negative. However broadcast of location information and the privacy issues that arise out of it are a bigger spectre in the article. The article includes an interview with a researcher in LBS at Sun Microsystems to discuss these concerns.