I came across an article in wired about navizon yesterday. Its a software based GPS system, that locates a wifi or phone device by interpreting nearby phone masts or wifi networks. Its designed to be used either in conjunction with a GPS, providing backup in urban canyons where the GPS signal is unreliable, or it can be used completely standalone if you have no GPS. It will emulate a standard GPS signal so its transparent to any application you use.

Obviously collecting a database of phone signals and wifi networks would be a big task, but the cool thing about navizon, is that every user is able to collect the data, if you use the system in conjunction with a GPS, then its able to record the local networks and upload this to the server to benefit other users. It looks like there already a few users around here as the database for my local area is pretty well populated already.

It also adds a portal for users along with Geo-tagging, buddy tracking and also the ability to publish your location to the web. If you follow this link you can find the last known position of my Phone!

See where I am by clicking here

I've installed it on my GPS free Windows smart-phone (imate-SP5) it seems to work pretty well, once i followed the additional instructions to modify the registry, found here it installed and works fine. The location is not too accurate here, but pretty good considering what its trying to do.

Navizon is another good example of a business being built on the participation of its users. They have just launched an API that allows developers to use the location engine in their own Applications. It doesn't seem to be publicly available yet though and there is no API for the portal components, such as buddy lists and tracker locations, which is a shame as this would really open up the site to some interesting new applications, even so as it is its pretty cool.

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