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
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Nowadays with so many communications protocols available in the mobile realm, it seems pretty outdated.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.