GEOPRIV and the W3C Geolocation API

Hi everyone,

First of all, even though I've made a few comments on this list already, 
I'd like to introduce myself.  My name is Richard Barnes, and I work on 
Internet standards for BBN Technologies.  The bulk of my focus recently 
has been on the IETF ECRIT and GEOPRIV working groups, and I'm the 
Secretary of the GEOPRIV working group.

I'll put my motives up front: I want the W3C Geolocation API to be 
compatible with location specifications that GEOPRIV has developed and 
is working on.  We've developed several ways for a host to get 
information its location from the network, and it would be really 
natural for a host to be able to provide this information to web 
applications by giving it to a browser to be exposed through the 
Geolocation API.  We've also thought a lot about things like civic 
addresses and privacy rules, and how to make them work across the entire 

To help demonstrate what this integration might look like, I've extended 
Doug's geolocation extension for Firefox so that it can use location it 
gets via the IETF HELD protocol:
Because it gets a full GEOPRIV location object from the HELD server, 
this extension can provide not only geodetic (lat/long) location, but 
civic location and usage rules -- if only the API supported it!  (That 
is, the extension parses all this information into javascript, but can't 
pass it to pages through the API.  It dump()s it instead.)

Speaking of support for civic & rules: I'm puzzled by this group's 
seeming reluctance to add fields in an API for these sorts of things. 
The extra syntax not heavy-weight (see the extension above).  Moreover, 
simply having fields in an API doesn't require there to be any data 
there, or require applications to use it.  Even if there were fields in 
the Position interface for civic information and rules, a location 
provider wouldn't have to populate them, and an application wouldn't 
have to read them.  But the capability would be there for people that 
want to support it.

I admit that GEOPRIV location objects have a lot of expressive power, 
and not all of that is relevant to web applications.  However, if we're 
willing to step a little bit beyond our pre-conceptions about lat/long 
location and yes/no privacy, then we can get a lot of benefit out of 
GEOPRIV at very little cost.

Please feel free to get in touch with me at this address or at 
<>.  I'm going to try to keep up with this 
group, and see if we can't get our stuff to work together.


Received on Tuesday, 11 November 2008 00:26:07 UTC