Introduction, and: Re: an idea: GPS blog?

Richard Bennett richard.bennett at
Tue Jan 23 12:22:31 CET 2007

On Tuesday 23 January 2007 10:51, Oleg L. Sverdlov wrote:
> Videoblogging has its niche, but how about a small application that
> remembers where you've been during a day , and how long; and then
> visualizes everything in form of nice coloured curves, and publishes to
> your blog?
I've been thinking the same thing, if you are talking about colored curves 
over a map that is.

Maybe I can take this opportunity to introduce myself:
I'm Richard Bennett, I'm an independent software developer living in Belgium, 
but doing a lot of my work in the US through my partnership company, .

Some years ago I made an application for tracking snow plows by GPS. This was 
in the days before prevalent wifi, and worked by sending the GPS coordinates 
back to the server in small dumps, by SMS or by GPRS (or the US equivalent). 
Something similar should be perfectly possible for travelers using the Neo... 
send in an SMS every hour with the coordinates, and prompt the user if they 
would like to add a descriptive text about the area they are in. 
Alternatively it could just store the coordinates for a longer time and send 
one SMS for a whole days travel.
Before getting too excited I thought I'd better wait and see how well the GPS 
works though, because if you have to hold the phone up in the air and wait 
for 2 minutes for it to sync it won't be very user-friendly...

Here are some screenshots of the app we made:

I also wrote a few papers on tracking GPS using SVG too:
(The SVG examples won't work unless you have Adobe's SVG plugin version 3)

So yes... I've been thinking of doing this, but need to see if the GPS 
performs fast enough to keep it user-friendly.

Other work I'm doing for the US Census Bureau is displaying statistics on a 
lightweight web-mapping client, see: (try 'anoka' for a test lookup)
I have the interface working on my Nokia E61 on the Opera and the Nokia 
browser, but the lack of a mouse makes selecting arbitrary areas difficult.
The Neo with GPS and a touch-screen might be ideal for data input... The 
mapping data could be loaded from a micro-SD card, or cached from a 
bluetooth/USB network, and surveyors could annotate the data in the field, 
either in realtime, or store and sync. It would also be an option to load the 
mapping data locally, and the data overlays over GPRS. This is just a bit of 
R&D, I don't know if it will work out or not, but it's fun to play around 

We're using the Mapserver as the back-end (, so 
if there are any people interested in working on mapping and Openmoko, we can 
setup a wiki page or something to help focus our efforts, or at least link to 
the various projects.



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