Further update on geolocation

Avid and regular readers of this blog – I know you’re out there somewhere – will have picked-up that I’m rather interested in geolocation, tracking and using tools and widgets to broadcast location. I can’t imagine why anyone would be interested in “Where I am?” apart from my colleagues in Cardiff who’re always asking whether I still need an office, so it’s really just a throwback to my former life as a geographer. One that brings ever more warm recollections.

So that’s the rather feeble justification over. What have I done now! Two things. Firstly I’ve implemented Navizon on my laptop and enabled it to update Fire Eagle using WiFi or cell information [now defunct]. I misinformed a colleague the other day on this one. It is possible and does work! You can also configure it for your Blackberry (alternatively you can use BBTrackr [now defunct] to do the same thing). I’ve not chosen to do either of these – you’ll see why later. I like Fire Eagle, it’s a repository which stores my location and then allows applications to draw that information and display it on maps – normally Google Maps. Currently I’m using blogloc [now defunct] to do that and the outcome is displayed in the sidebar alongside.

Note [19 May]: there’s a new Google Latitude Sync app [now defunct] that seems even better at updating Fire Eagle than any of the others so far tested.

The other development I’ve just implemented is a new extension to Google Latitude [now integrated into Google maps] which enables the information captured from cell-phone location to be displayed in live-form on a Google Map. The first use of this was to share geolocation information with your Gmail Chat “buddies” and for the select few who I have in my contact list this was a nice feature and caused us some mirth as we compared our movements across the city. The extension is to allow code to be implanted in a web-page, or for a widget to be aded to your blogger pages. So now (if you had access to my blogger account), you could see where I am. [Unfortunately, this feature is currently not working in WordPress, this blog – still investigating why that is 🙁 ]

As a postscript, I’m working on another blog which will be dedicated to this subject and my travels, and when public I will put a link in the sidebar to that site.

Am I sad, or is this important

Yesterday I spent probably 30mins thinking about the best way of putting really useful text into the displayed message of my availability for corporate IM. No point being funny! You then have to change it regularly, or it loses its impact. Must have information content – “I am in the office” is hardly breath-taking news. Should be useful and give direction of what the best way of communicating with me might be.

We now have presence awareness related to our corporate eMail system and this applies to our Contact (Buddy) Lists as well, so I can see what all my colleagues are up to, and they me! So Presence Awareness Messages such as … “I am busy so please eMail me” are informative and give an indication of how best I would like someone to contact me. “I’m away from my desk at the moment, why don’t you tweet me” – (apart from confusing 95% of my colleagues) would also be appropriate advice -if only I could persuade them to use Tweet as a message sent that way can be relayed on to my mobile via SMS without me having to give out that number. Finally “I’m available to chat” is the virtual “open door policy” that is much advocated for managers – I can still quickly respond, “just a moment”, or “give us a call”, or “meet me in the tea room in 2”.