New Opportunities and Challenges for Application Developers

The infrastructures being deployed by mobile operators and the automotive industry provide a platform that enables an entirely new category of applications. Focused on mobility-based computing, they have capabilities that today's stationary-based application development model doesn't even consider. Just as the most innovative applications for the Internet were not developed by Internet backbone providers, it is likely that the most successful "killer apps" will be developed by third-party software developers.

However, these new opportunities are not without challenges. Mobile location services require the combination of a number of independently complex technologies. Quality map data coverage, high-speed wireless data services, systems integration, and business models are just a few of the challenges that must be faced in building an application. This book seeks to provide you with an introduction to the concepts behind mobile location services and the technologies that enable them.

Chapter 2 develops a technical framework for a mobile location services solution. It provides a brief discussion of wireless networks, which is a useful background for understanding how to build applications that work in a mobile environment. We then discuss the systems architecture of the mobile operator that your mobile location services application will be deployed in.

Discussion of the mobile location server begins in Chapter 3. We discuss the cornerstone of any mobile location services infrastructure: the application server. Application servers are the glue that connects everything together and keeps it operating fluidly. We discuss why an application server is essential, as well as design techniques to make sure your mobile location services application will be able to scale.

Chapter 4 introduces spatial analysis, and the critical search and retrieval capabilities it provides your application. We briefly discuss digital maps and how they are developed. We then discuss geographic data types and the concepts behind coordinate systems and projecting locations on three-dimensional earth into a two-dimensional system that can be used in mobile location services. With an understanding of these basic map concepts, we discuss the core spatial functions you will need to location-enable your application: geocoding, reverse geocoding, routing, map imaging, points of interest searching, and real-time map attribute editing.

Central to the success of a mobile location services application is knowing where the user is. Chapter 5 introduces mobile positioning, with an overview and discussion of the various handset, network, and hybrid technologies, including cell of origin, angle of arrival, time difference of arrival, enhanced observed time difference, and the global positioning system (GPS). We also discuss dead reckoning and map matching, special techniques developed to improve the accuracy of positioning techniques for in-vehicle use.

Chapter 6 discusses authentication and security in the context of wireless applications. We analyze the security technologies implemented in the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), and what application risks you should be aware of.

In Chapter 7 we discuss personalization and profiling for your mobile location services application. We discuss emerging industry standards such as the Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P) and Microsoft's .NET technology, and the privacy issues raised by the potential misuse of personal information.

Chapter 8 introduces the integration of sophisticated billing systems. Having the right business model is critical to the success of your mobile location services application. We discuss the challenges presented by roaming and billing systems that are designed for prepaid voice.

A discussion of mobile commerce (m-commerce) in Chapter 9 wraps up our focus on the mobile location server. We discuss what mobile commerce is, and technologies to facilitate your m-commerce processing, such as the Mobile Electronic Transactions Standard (MeT).

Chapter 10 extends our mobile location service infrastructure to include the client. We will discuss where to use various client platforms, including Palm OS, Microsoft Windows CE, and Symbian OS. We then look at some actual client devices from Pioneer and Blaupunkt. Finally, we will analyze a number of client protocols and languages, including Extensible Markup Language (XML), Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), WAP, VoiceXML (VXML), Java 2 MicroEdition (J2ME), and Qualcomm's Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless (BREW). Finally, because mobile location services are highly regional by nature, we discuss some general guidelines for making internationalization and localization of your application as easy as possible.

With a framework that now includes both mobile location services client and server, we look at some specific mobile location services applications in Chapter 11. We discuss navigation and real-time traffic, emergency assistance services, concierge and travel services, location-based advertising and marketing, and location-based billing.

Chapter 12 addresses advanced topics in digital map databases. We discuss the challenges map database quality and coverage can present to your application. Sophisticated techniques for combining map databases are analyzed, from edge matching to true database merging.