OGC's GeoSMS a brand-new outdated standard

Some months ago, diving into OGC's technical stuff, I found a document about a possible OGC standard. We were working on an indoor location project, and studying possible location formats, so the name "Open GeoSMS Specification" got my attention.

I read the full specification (quite short indeed), and left it away, thinking it would hardly see the light as an OGC specification.

I was mistaken. Last week, I received a message from OGC, calling for comments about this future specification.

First of all, I'll describe very briefly what it's about. It defines a format for exchanging location messages through the use of SMS text messages. The format is quite simple:

GeoSMS/Version Num;Latitude;Longitude;Format Type;Data Section
e.g. GeoSMS/2;2504.8015,N;12133.9766,E;B;

It has 5 variations, aimed at different uses of the Data Section:

  • Standard (B): Basic format, like the example above.
  • AGPS (A): For AGPS support when no GPS signal is available.
  • Extended (E): For special private purposes.
  • Point of Interest (P): For Points Of Interest interchange.
  • Query (Q): To query the location of a mobile node.

In my opinion it's a standard I would have liked to use 12 years ago, when SMS was almost the only way of communicating mobile equipment at an affordable telecommunication cost.

Nowadays with so many communications protocols available in the mobile realm, it seems pretty outdated. For most uses it will be much cheaper to use HTTP transport layers, rather than GSM-tight ones. It's also much more versatile not to be restricted to 160 characters, what gives you the ability to encapsulate extra information (location precision, location system, timestamps, authentication, sensor measurements, etc.). An HTTP transport would also allow different protocols on top of it.

So, I find it old-fashioned for most purposes.

Nevertheless the use case stated in the specification is about an offline usage, where the users don't have data communication. Maybe I'll give the specification a try and test it with gvSIG Mini, which has a strong offline usage.



Hi mmontesinos, I'm slayer

Hi mmontesinos,

I'm slayer from Open GeoSMS team :-)

The spec that you mentioned is quite old-school indeed. Our latest spec (the official OGC standard) embedded an HTTP URL with x and y as first parameter in SMS for the smart phone era.

The latest Open GeoSMS format is like:

We need some water here!
by slayer

With the postfix "&GeoSMS" and x, y as first parameter, application can parse this URL and no need to be binded by specific application or system. Further, people with smart phone can access maps or other kind of internet resource via URL.

We also release free SDK for Android to compose Open GeoSMS quickly. http://code.google.com/p/ogs-sdk/

Any comment from you is welcome, please feel free to let us know your thoughts on this open idea. Thanks!

Have a good day!

Imagen de mmontesinos

Hi slayer, you're right. I

Hi slayer,

you're right. I finded the old specification a bit outdated, but I realized later that the OGC's seek for comment was about the "new" specification.

I like much more this one. We even provided feedback to OGC and our comments were added to the specification. They were about adding accuracy to the position, as there are many positioning systems, and every one has its own accuracy.

Thanks for the comment!


Hi Miguel, Thanks for your

Hi Miguel,

Thanks for your feedbacks on Open GeoSMS!

If you got any thought or comment on Open GeoSMS and its application scenario, please feel free to visit our facebook page and leave message for us (http://www.facebook.com/opengeosms). We are more than happy to have discussion on it, further collaboration possibility will be awesome too :-)

The latest talk about Open GeoSMS is in ICCM 2011 (Ignite Talk) for disaster management (http://crisismappers.net/), if you are interesting in this topic, let's chat too.

Have a good day!

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