Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

The FireEagle has landed – personal location information for your applications

Category: Announcements, Conferences, Toolkit, Yahoo!

<p>Yahoo’s Tom Coates today finally released FireEagle at ETech 2008. Seeing Tom in the office for quite a while getting everything ready makes me very happy to announce that it is out and invite you to come along and sign up for the beta to start testing and – even more importantly – developing applications for it. This is FireEagle:

Fire Eagle is an open location services platform offering web, mobile, and desktop developers a simple way to build new location-based applications while also ensuring that consumers have complete control over their data, including how, when and where their location is made available. Want to easily make your site responsive to a user’s location? Or, maybe you’ve found a way to capture someone’s location and you want to find cool apps to plug it into? By doing the heavy lifting and connecting you to a community of geo-developers, Fire Eagle makes it easier to build location-aware services.

Once you got in you’ll be able to download development kits in several languages including PHP, Python, Ruby and of course JavaScript. All the API calls are REST and the API authentication is handled via OAuth. The output format is either XML or JSON. The code is licensed with BSD and you can even contribute to the FireEagle source at a code repository.

The available API calls are:

user
Returns the location of a specific user in a location hierarchy format.
recent
Returns a list of users of the application who have updated their location within the given amount of time.
within
Takes a Place ID or a WoE ID and returns a list of users using your application who are within the bounding box of that location.
update
Sets a user’s current location using using a Place ID hash or a set of location parameters. If the user provides a location unconfirmed with lookup method then Fire Eagle makes a best guess as to the user’s location and updates.
lookup
Disambiguates potential values for update. Results from lookup can be passed to update to ensure that Fire Eagle will understand how to parse the location parameter.

You can learn more by watching the video of Tom explaining FireEagle at ETech.

The uses for a service like this are endless. From sensible search applications that show you places of interest nearby your current location up to real-life games of high-tech hide and seek everything is possible.

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Posted by Chris Heilmann at 6:33 pm
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GpsGate.com have had a service that sounds very similar for while now. It also allows you to share your position to selected friends/groups and access the information in an easy to use format from any web-site using plain javascript calls.
See for example:
http://gpsgate.com/index.php?id=135
http://gpsgate.com/index.php?id=66
Perhaps someone with a Fire Eagle beta-account has more information on the differences?
// Fredrik

Comment by Fredrik — March 6, 2008

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