The mobility provided by the proliferation of wireless devices presents a new class of opportunities and problems for application developers. Mobile applications must be much smarter than desktop applications. As a mobile user, you want personalized applications that instantly know where you are, what things are around you, and how you get to them. Application developers face many challenges in building these applications, including how to pinpoint a user's location and then retrieve relevant spatial data from a digital map database sometimes as large as 20 gigabytes with the sub-second response times necessary for a mobile user.

A mobile location service platform requires knowledge of three highly complex technologies: mobile telephony, geographic information systems, and enterprise (or perhaps, more precisely, Internet) application development. The idea for this book came from my experience working with a number of companies developing mobile location service platforms and from the observation that organizations developing mobile location service solutions typically had significant experience in only one or two of the necessary technology areas. Good mobile location service solutions must:

  • Seamlessly interface with the mobile operator's network and consider bandwidth, security, and mobile device form factor constraints.

  • Provide scalable and high-speed spatial data retrieval.

  • Leverage the paradigms of the most successful Web architectures to promote user adoption and provide for massive scalability.

The primary goal of this book is to provide a high-level overview of how all the pieces of a mobile location service application fit together. A second goal of the book is to provide a basic overview of how each underlying technology component in a mobile location service architecture works and a framework for evaluating commercial mobile location service platforms.