I'm here with my company at DEMO and this morning - after a few days of last minute rush - we launched our suite of Location Based Services, including my baby called "WaveBlog." Yay! What a push. And whew! Now I can talk about what I'm doing!
This is what I've been working on for the past several months. It's a combination of a custom J2ME based mapping client, weblog service and location alerting system. It's being sold to carriers, not to the general public, but you can play with the public weblog site above. This is the piece I developed. It still needs a lot of hardening and ever more features need to be added to keep up with the TypePads of the world, but in general it's your standard weblog service, but with the integration of location information and maps.
The location information is the hard part, and the piece of the puzzle my company fills in. First, you can use the J2ME app to locate a position on a map with crosshairs for a one-click post to your weblog, or in the coming months we're going to be announcing deals with American and international carriers who will provide the location information on the back end which will geo-tag email and web posts automagically. I've also added a geo-encoding form to the site as well, so at the worst case you can just enter the address information and it'll look up the location info for you.
In addition to the maps on the weblog, the RSS feed also incorporates per-post geolocation using the W3C geo proposed namespace and tags. The idea is to provide that data for others to use and to start aggregating other geotagged feeds so that using a handset - via J2ME or WAP2 - you can see which weblogs have been updated in real time near you or in another specific location ("location-based mobile aggregation"). Our pitch has to do with club-goers and other trendy what-if scenarios that carriers love, but in general it's just the next step in mobile weblogging. Going from "photo blogs" to *real* moblogging, by enabling producing and consuming of information organized not only by time, but also by location. When you combine this with the rich media that modern handsets can produce, people become "personal broadcasters" where every mobile user (everyone?) becomes a roving reporter on the scene around them.
Now this is just the weblogging piece. The company existed long before I got there - they've got this really intense Alert system (the third product in the suite) which is not just a product, but a platform. Carriers buy our server and can then enable any of their third party developers to add location based alerts to their products (we'll be using the Alert system ourselves in the "WaveBlog"). For example, Buddy Alert allows you and your friends to sign up for alerts if you come within a certain distance of each other: "Alert: Ana is within 1 kilometer of you. Call her?" or things like Child Tracker: "Alert: Alex just decided to leave town with your car. Call him?" (This example will obviously not be for a few years, but the tech exists today.)
And that's the launch. Whew! We're pretty exhausted already and it's only day one. Luckily we got to present (not me, my CEO) early on Day One, so now we can just hang out in the Pavillion and answer questions. I got a great visit from Dave Sifry and Doc Searls this morning (who brought along an AP reporter with them. THANKS GUYS!). Doc is going to come back and pick my brain on the Linux systems we're using. I haven't mentioned that yet, but I'm the only developer who uses Windows. Everyone else uses Linux on their desktops, which is very cool, and WaveBlog (of course) runs on Linux (Debian, actually). Wonder why I like my job so much?
Okay, back to the conference...