Location and Mapping

Ever since mobile phones started incorporating devices that made them aware of their geographic locations, developers have foreseen a new era of location-based applications. Location awareness improves many applications and makes possible totally new applications. If your application is looking up restaurants, it's clearly better if you can restrict your search to the area around you. It's even better if you can see a map of the restaurants' locations, and perhaps be able to look up driving or walking directions. If you're looking for a temporary job, as in the MJAndroid application highlighted in this book, it's clearly an advantage to be able to see where the opportunities are.

And navigation is really just the first generation of Location-Based Services (LBS). Developers foresee the day you'll be able to opt-in to receive advertisements from nearby retailers as you walk down a street, and your music player will suggest songs based on your current location. The world of LBS is just beginning to take off, and as we'll see, Google's Android offers powerful features that make the development of these applications very easy.

In economic terms, location-based applications are a major factor in mobile telephony, constituting half the revenue from mobile applications, and growing fast. Because they are based on the ability of the mobile network to locate devices and the relationship of mobility and location, location-based applications are as fundamental to mobile telephony as communication.

Location is usually combined with search: Where are my contacts? Where are services or products I'm looking for? Where are people with common interests?

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