GPSWeb Extension for Mozilla Firebird Opens Possibilities for Location-Specific Web Services

Wednesday December 24th, 2003

Davide wrote in to tell us about GPSWeb 0.1.2, an add-on for Mozilla Firebird that adds a User-Location header to every HTTP request containing the user's current position as determined by the Global Positioning System. Sites can then use this data to provide location-specific services, such as supplying directions to the nearest restaurant. The extension requires the user to have some GPS hardware connected to their computer (Davide tested GPSWeb with the Garmin E-Trex) and the GPSd Java daemon, which parses the data supplied by the GPS unit, to be running.

#14 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What?

by mlefevre

Thursday December 25th, 2003 7:14 PM

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There's still no way IP can be as accurate. ISPs that allocate dialup IPs dynamically don't allocate or route IPs for small geographic areas. I'm more familiar with UK ISPs than US ISPs, but for most of the larger ones, the best you can do is an area of 60 to 100 miles. If the ISP doesn't have telecoms arrangements to get calls connected to the internet somewhere near the caller, then the IP address will tell you pretty much nothing useful - it only indicates where the internet connection is, which isn't necessarily close to the caller.

And that's without even bringing proxies and suchlike into the equation - there's no guarantee you can even get the IP of the user. Best case, it's still an order of magnitude worse than GPS. Worse case, you might not even guess the right country or even continent.