Location-enabling technology is making its way into just about every mobile technology these days, and we can now add SMS to that list. The folks at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) announced recently a new SMS standard they’ve developed known as “GeoSMS” that has the potential to change the way SMS messages are consumed.
As the name implies, the technology is dead simple. The standard simply geotags SMS messages by including GPS coordinates and can transmit a mobile phone’s current position, or a remote location selected from a map. It works by placing location identifiers in the SMS message itself, so for example: “I’m at the pub geo:-37.801631,144.980294,” instead of the traditional “I’m at the pub.”
What’s interesting is that researchers said “Where are you?” is the single most commonly sent SMS in the world, making the need for geotagged messages that much more relevant. Combined with the GeoSMS standard, the RMIT researchers have launched an Android app called “I Am Here,” which works to identify received GeoSMS messages. For example, when someone with the Android app installed on their device receives a geotagged SMS, the app shows the location on a map or displays a compass needle and distance counter that can be followed to the destination. GeoSMS has been developed as an open standard that researchers hope handset manufacturers will begin to build into their phones in future, negating the need for additional applications.
It’s an interesting concept that definitely has potential, though many levels of the mobile ecosystem will have to be on board to make it a viable long-term solution. What do you think…will it become the widely-deployed standard the RMIT researchers are hoping for? I think it just might, as long as the right cards fall in place.