It seems like whenever I say something like 'I wish/what if somebody did this', I later find that it is actually being done, especially for mobile technologies. I guess this is because the people in the industry are even more creative than me, and have obviously had the same thoughts!
For example, in some earlier entries I mused on how we should combine the vastly differing ways of positioning into a holistic process that, overall, facilitates the accuracy and ease of LBS apps. Then, very quickly afterwards, I got an email from Jim Parsons of AlwaysOnGPS - here's the blurb from the website:
"AlwaysOnGPS enables standard GPS users with WiFi enabled PocketPC/PDA devices to determine their precise location (GPS coordinates) in situations WHERE and WHEN GPS SIGNALS ARE NOT AVAILABLE!
Using the power of our advanced (patent pending) WiFi Positioning System, GPS users with WiFi enabled devices can still access extremely accurate GPS Data while located or situated:
- within office buildings, warehouses, campus interiors, clubs, restaurants, museums, galleries, conference facilities, newly discovered venues, between tall buildings, within "urban canyons", inside multi-level car parking decks and even underground!"
That sounds pretty good to me! Not sure if it would work in New Zealand though - maybe it says on the website but I haven't seen anything talking about geographical restrictions, so... Yeah.
The problem with a lot of LBS or mapping apps is that it's all well and good if you live in the US or Europe, but otherwise, you can run into a few problems. Technical problems aside, for social networking apps especially it would be really difficult to get that local critical mass. How would you get around that? Form an alliance with a brand well-recognised within this country. This is where big firms like Vodafone, Nokia, Microsoft or Google would really have the upper hand in leveraging their international brand and high level of resources.