the evenings out here - Thoughts, rants and musings about absolutely everything except photography. Or cats.

Wetware-based navigation

in Mobile , Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I was pointed at a recent post by Nicolas Nova this morning (thanks Kars) which advocates a low-tech - or no-tech - approach to location based services (games, in this case). This is something I've been pushing for a while. About 9 months ago, I started off a brief concept presentation with this:
Here & Now is an adaptable service which provides time & place sensitive information to mobile phone users in response to an SMS. It is a “fake location based service”, because it relies on the user telling the service where they are. In effect, we are actually bringing “human intelligence” into the system. Most LBS services proposed so far seem to be motivated more by a desire to use technology – engineer-led solutions – than a significant cost benefit to end users.
Most of the time, people know where they are. They don't need GPS when they're standing in the middle of Marbella looking for a good bar. Sure, guidance can be helpful, but really, how many people wander around a city centre using GPS navigation ? The hard parts of mobile LBS are relevance of search results and the user interface. GPS is a nice to have which simply enhances the input. So why the hang up on technology ? System design should embrace all components of the system, and in mobile location based services, a major component is the one holding the phone.