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m.logistics Magazine | Mar/April 2009 | Web support for 'active' local positioning

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Web support for 'active' local positioning

Opera, the browser software specialist, reckons it has taken location-based services to a new level through an arrangement it has struck with Skyhook Wireless, a specialist in hybrid positioning systems.

Basically, any mobile device using the Opera browser and equipped with a Wi-Fi wireless adapter should be able to work out its own location, merely by measuring the signal strengths of transmissions from nearby Wi-Fi hotspots.

On an opt-in basis, users can allow the location to be passed to specified participating Web sites, which can then provide them with local information based on their whereabouts. The example quoted by Opera is where the user wants to know the location of nearby coffee shops.

The end result would be that you would call up a supplier's Web site on your mobile browser, and on clicking the right buttons, you would automatically be shown coffee shops or other resources near your current location.


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Opera differentiates this from existing location-based services, in which users download an application to their device, which then operates locally.

Opera's approach is made possible by the use of an emerging standard, the World Wide Web Consortium's W3C Geolocation Application Programming Interface. This gives Web browsers the ability to handle location information in a rationalised way, using either Wi-Fi or other location technologies such as GPS.

Mozilla has also been experimenting with support for the new standard in its Firefox browser.

 

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