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How can I get a google map to display my current position automatically?
May 10, 2009 12:56 PM   Subscribe

How can I get a google map to display my current position automatically?

I have a google map on my webpage that displays the city I currently live in. I would like for this map to be automatically updated with my current position. How can I achieve this?

I was thinking about a cell phone updating my server with my most current coordinates. It's fine if this only happens every eight hours, it's great if it's always up to date (like flightaware.com trackings), it has to be automatic. I do not have an iphone, so a specific iphone app won't do it for me.

It doesn't have to be free - I'm willing to spend a few bucks to make this happen. What I don't know is just how much of a budget I need and what to ask my programmer for. I'm looking for a this is how I would solve this brief* kind of answer from you.

additional specifications:
- no flash
- must work in germany (I would love for it to work worldwide as I travel frequently)
- bonus if it could automatically archive my positions (so that you could click on a link and see a google map with all the places I've been to in the last 1,6,12 months)
- must work in all relevant browsers, even IE.

*I have someone in mind who I want to hire to code this for me but while I'm willing to pay him a nominal fee he's way busy with "really paying gigs." if you happen to feel that this is something you'd like to take on, feel free to let me know. (this is not the point of my post but just an addendum. I would have made a jobs post otherwise.)
posted by krautland to Technology (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
The concept you're looking for is "location aware". This is already a feature of smartphones, which can identify your location by which cell tower you're connected to, or in the case of the iphone, which wifi hotspots are nearby OR by GPS, if your phone is so equipped.

Have you given Google Latitude a good look?
posted by JuiceBoxHero at 1:13 PM on May 10, 2009


Spot
posted by HuronBob at 1:18 PM on May 10, 2009


For what it's worth, I was seriously disappointed in the Spot mentioned by HuronBob.
posted by inigo2 at 1:36 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


when you say "automatic," what do you mean? should this happen with absolutely no activity from you, or do you just mean that you don't want to manually type in your location?

what about a system where you authenticate a particular resource that devines your position?
posted by klanawa at 1:50 PM on May 10, 2009


Surely this is exactly what Google Latitude does already? Just need more people bugging them to give a recent destination history...
posted by turkeyphant at 2:20 PM on May 10, 2009


This seems like a step in the right direction if your GPS and your phone are bluetooth paired - I found it on maps-gps-info.com which was an incredible resource generally for this sort of stuff.
posted by Orb2069 at 2:20 PM on May 10, 2009


Spot
sorry, I don't understand that just yet. it might work as it seems to work in europe but does it work with google maps? how does it post to the web? what kind of infos does it transmit? how large is this thing? more than a keyring?

For what it's worth, I was seriously disappointed in the Spot mentioned by HuronBob.
okay, please tell me why.

when you say "automatic," what do you mean? should this happen with absolutely no activity from you
no interaction is the best option - otherwise I'd just end up updating it once every day or even less, which isn't as cool. I want it to work kind of like a beacon that you just switch on and it does its job until I switch it off again.

what about a system where you authenticate a particular resource that devines your position?
sounds interesting but I don't know anything about this... could you explain this further, please?

if your GPS and your phone are bluetooth paired
yeah, my cell phone company will give me a blackberry for next to nothing if I sign up, sadly no iphone though. so I could pick a bluetooth/gprs enabled phone.

Google Latitude / maps-gps-info.com
wow, that sounds like a great starting place. glad to see there is a framework already in existence.
posted by krautland at 3:20 PM on May 10, 2009


What phone do you have? Instamapper works with iphones but also Blackberrys and a couple of other phone types. It allows map embedding.
posted by chrispy at 3:42 PM on May 10, 2009


if i was going to build something like this for myself, i'd probably hack something.

you can get a usb gps dongle for $30, and write some script to have your position sent to the server every so often.

if you don't want a dongle, you can, say, have your browser's home page set to a script on your website that checks your ip address against something like maxmind to see, in general, where you are. then you could set that script to redirect to your real default page. it'd just update your position everytime you start your browser... you'd have to have a way to prevent others hitting that script though, which is where authentication comes in.
posted by klanawa at 5:54 PM on May 10, 2009


MaxMind, that is.
posted by klanawa at 5:58 PM on May 10, 2009


What phone do you have?
I'm about to sign a contract with vodafone/germany and they're offering a wide variety of cheap phones with it. I'm eyeballing a blackberry pearl with gprs but am open to suggestions. sadly they do not offer the iphone.

http://www.instamapper.com
no boost in germany but this sounds interesting.
posted by krautland at 12:46 AM on May 11, 2009


I use instamapper on a Blackberry 8310 (built in GPS) and it works very well. You don't need to go via Boost - I use it on my UK phone (T-Mobile) and it has worked fine with me internationally.
posted by chrispy at 5:04 AM on May 12, 2009


okay, please tell me why.

I found it damn near impossible for that thing to get a signal, and report back it's location like it's supposed to. Both in the city (DC), and in the suburbs (Canada, just over the border from Buffalo).
posted by inigo2 at 6:51 AM on May 12, 2009


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