[FoRK] Has anyone of you ever experimented with a GPS receiver?

Sandor Spruit sandor at cs.uu.nl
Mon Jun 21 03:41:14 PDT 2004

Eugen Leitl wrote:
> On Mon, Jun 21, 2004 at 11:16:56AM +0200, Sandor Spruit wrote:
>>OK. I've been Googling around a bit, and have identified a number of 
>>potential hurdles.

[answers snipped - thanks I'll look into it]

Easiest platform would be Java on Windows, possibly with some native DLL 
to access the GPS receiver.

> What exactly are you trying to do?

The larger context is that all of our assignments for students yield a 
_small_ set of documents, applets or whatever. That's basically all that 
is do-able in courses that span 10 weeks, because you have to introduce 
the theory and technology first. The assignments are useful but boring.

The point is that this way, students will never _really_ get to see the 
whole relevance of XML etc. These technologies are network technologies 
with a network effect. The more XML-encoded stuff you have, the clearer 
the advantage becomes visible. The more variation you have in terms of 
devices, number of documents, human languages, location, timezones, 
people (personalization), the better.

So, I'm getting to my point now :) Suppose I have laptops with wireless 
connections and GPS receivers. The laptop have browsers with a little 
extra, perhaps a http proxy, that transmits their location with each 
HTTP-request to our server (extra X-GPS-location header).

I can bootstrap Guided Tours Around Utrecht (or campus) with multimedia 
content on our lab's server. Each generation or group of students could 
upload more content. Nice photos or videos, XML-texts, sound files. They 
could walk around city, upload and download files. The content you get 
varies based on location, time, person, language etc. You could have a 
similar set-up with PDA's, mobile phones etc.

I'm quite sure working with this set-up would help to clarify a lot of 
the advantages of XML and Internet technologies, to our students. Most 
of this comes as a shocking surprise when the step into the real world
(internship or thesis) and see the full complexity of a tangled web of 
technologies in action. Panic! :)


P.S. And it would be a lot of fun to create it, of course <grin>

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