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RIM introduces new geolocation feature - no GPS required!

RIM introduces new geolocation feature - No GPS required
By Bla1ze on 19 Jul 2010 02:25 pm EDT

Back during the BlackBerry Developers Conference last year, Research In Motion showed off a new, at the time yet to be released geolocation feature. The feature itself allowed developers to be able to quickly get your current location information simply based off the cell towers in which you were attached too. The idea behind this of course, is that many applications can now access your location data without ever having to initialize your device GPS which, if used often enough can severely drain your battery. As we were advised:

Today, RIM introduced a new geolocation feature of the Locate Service. The Geolocation service uses cell towers to gather quick location information and deliver it to applications on BlackBerry smartphones. Because it uses cell tower information, no GPS is required – meaning developers can have their applications call on location information in areas where there is no GPS coverage.

The location data provided by the Geolocation service is quick and general, so not as specific as GPS information, but perfect for applications that need to point to close by areas of interest or other geographical points/information without going into too many details. And once a user is back in GPS coverage, the application can call for more detailed information, if needed.

The Geolocation service joins existing capabilities in the Locate Service for the BlackBerry Application Platform, which include:

  • Reverse geocoding capabilities enable applications to convert a user’s latitude and longitude to an address
  • Integration with BlackBerry Maps Service offers a variety of app features, ranging from navigation directions to POI recommendations. BlackBerry Maps Service compliments Locate Service by providing map displays that can be invoked or embedded to indicate a user’s location

This is certainly great news for developers and BlackBerry users. These days, more and more applications seem to be relying on your GPS location data. To have a non intrusive, non power consuming way to access that data is huge. It does come with a few caveats however, you must have a device running OS 5.0+ and carriers need to support these capabilities. That said, most carriers allow this access already and well, if you're running a device with less then 5.0 you should really look into upgrading anyways.

Reader comments

RIM introduces new geolocation feature - no GPS required!


That's quite funny - we all waited ages that this is going to be released - Just few weeks I released with LittleBrother BETA an CellTowerBased tracking solution (in order to save battery life) - and now RIM is finally revealing details about the solution that was presented at DevCon09... Just coincidence?

Good news for all OS 4.5, 4.6 and 4.7 users - LittleBrother works for you as well ;-)

Anyone know if Verizon is on board or will developers still need to get a PDE from Verizon to obtain a fix?

nice of RIM to move in the right direction
RIM really needs to understand that making developers lives easy is how you get more people on to your device

Why doesn't this use WiFi for geolocation? The iPhone uses SkyHook's database of nearby wifi MAC addresses and can narrow you down to almost an exact address. Cell tower location will still be fairly inaccurate!

Im thinking this might have something to do with the traffic app that was leaked from beta zone a weeks ago ... that will be cool then ...

ohhhh i am getting really excited about blackberry again .

bring on all the new stuff asap

I don't know about ya'll but I noticed this feature like 2 weeks ago for real. This feature is definitely over a week old so I wonder why they are saying somethin about it now

Does this mean my old POS 8330 on verizon will be able to use some of these great apps? I thought google maps was already using cell triangulation ages was able to tell me what area I was in...within 5000 meters :( I wish vzw would open the gps along with this "new" capability but alas the 8330 is a relic now.

Pretty confused by this news, I've been able to do this on my curve 8520 since I got it about 4 months ago.

I'm confused too...

How is this different from what Google Maps and a few other apps already do?

Will this be more accurate than the cell-tower locations we have now? Or is this something that will allow smaller developers to access the same location information that the large app developers are already doing??

Either way I'm all for RIM doing "anything" that helps developers!

I've been useing GEO location on my blackberry for years. I just happen too use it inside of google maps, hell even my old motorola V3 had Geo Location useing CELL towers, it's been a common thing in all mobile handsets that are able to read Cell Broadcast. i first started ueing it on a UK version of the Motorola Microtac and a hard copy A2Z map with the cel tower locations printed on it, this could position me within 10 meters of my location and this was before mobiles had GPS recievers built in. I would sugest you lot try useing Google maps before saying this is a new thing.