Google Latitude now supported

Google Latitude is one of the increasing number of “location based social networks”. Google’s service is currently very simple, you can update your location via a mobile or on the web, you can then share your location with specific friends either at a city level or at full accuracy. They recently added a “Public Location Badge” that you can add to your blog to show your location to everybody that visits (we launched a similar service earlier today). Along with this they’ve also added a JSON feed that developers can use to pull your location into third party services, which is great news for us.

To use Google Latitude with mapme.at you’ll need to start by signing up for Latitude and enabling the Public Location Badge. On the page for the badge you should see a link entitled “Public JSON Feed”. Copy that address and then head over to your Location Sources page on mapme.at, scroll down the page until you find the Google Latitude section, enter the address in the box and you’re all set! Within a few minutes we’ll start requesting your location from Latitude.

Unfortunately, for mapme.at to be able to pull your exact location from Google Latitude and build up an accurate history, you will have to enable full public access to your location on Google Latitude (note that you can still hide your location in the standard ways on mapme.at). Obviously this is not ideal but until Google enable an authentication system or some better way of sharing your Latitude location, it’s all that we can offer to you.

One of the really good things about Google Latitude is that their mobile software already runs on so many phones. Already running on most Symbian S60 devices, Windows Mobile 5.0, colour BlackBerry devices and more, it’s quite likely that you’ll be able to run the software on your phone. The obvious omission of course is the iPhone but we already support InstaMapper’s GPS Tracker application and Thom Shannon’s novel email-base location tracking method for iPhone users so that shouldn’t be much of an issue.

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20 Responses to Google Latitude now supported

  1. Chris Schulz says:

    Hi,

    Im based in Australia ad it seems that your web app does not account for my timezone (+10)

    Cheers.

    c.

  2. john says:

    Hi

    I assume you mean on the history page? We’re aware of this problem and are hoping to fix it soon. It’s probably worth me mentioning that we’re very careful to store locations at UTC so that we always have a single reference point. What we’re not doing (and you’ve noticed) is converting that to local timezones when we display it to users but, as I say, we hope to sort that out soon.

    John

  3. Fabien says:

    Did you plan to make android native app ?

  4. john says:

    @Fabien – I’m afraid we don’t currently have any plans to make a native android app but I wouldn’t rule it out for the future.

  5. Fabien says:

    Ok. I just find that instamapper exist on android.
    So just one Idea :
    - Why not contact InstaMapper people and have an option to update instamapper and/or mapme.at ?

  6. john says:

    That’s a good point, Instamapper will be a good option on Android phones. So far we’ve been happy enough with our existing integration for Instamapper but we might look into closer integration in the future.

  7. Vince says:

    Is there a forum or some other medium for discussion about the product, or some way to file bugs?

    I like your product, but there are couple issues plaguing me:
    1. The more annoying problem is that whenever I look at my history it zooms out to where its showing me half the US, yet my movements are restricted to maybe a 10 mile radius. Anytime I do anything in the history tab it does this and then I have to painstakingly zoom back in which leads me to my other issue…
    2. Slowness. Map tiles load quite slowly for me (I’ve tried it from different locations so I’ve ruled out my ISP) and sometimes don’t load at all.

    I’m looking forward to future updates in general but if you could resolve those issues, then I would be a very happy camper!

  8. john says:

    @Vince The best place to file bugs is on our Get Satisfaction page, I thought we had that linked up but it looks like we dont, the link is:

    http://www.getsatisfaction.com/mkecomputinglimited/products/mkecomputinglimited_map_meat

    We knew about the first of your problems, we hadn’t fixed it on live yet because we have some exciting changes to that page almost ready to go and we were going to fix it with those changes. We hadn’t realised how much of a problem it would be to our users though so we’ve now fixed that. Take a look and let us know if there’s any more problems.

    As for the tile loading, I’m not sure there’s too much we can do about that but we’ll discuss it with our service providers to see if we can get an improvement.

  9. Vince says:

    Wow. That’s great. You’ve just made the site 100 times more usable for me. I’m eager to see what other changes you have planned.

    You know, tile loading seems to be doing a bit better today… maybe CloudMade was having an off day… its not like I extensively tested it. Its still slower than what I’m used to with Google Maps, but not a deal breaker. The fact that I don’t have to zoom a bunch anymore also helps tremendously.

    How did you decide to go with CloudMade vs Google Maps? Licensing?

    Good to know about the Get Satisfaction link. And bravo on the near-instant response time.

  10. john says:

    Vince, glad to have helped. It was such a simple change and it was well identified so it seemed a good idea to get it out there.

    There are a number of reasons we went with CloudMade, we’re big supporters of the OpenStreetMap project and felt that CloudMade was the best way to make use of it.

    I think you’ll like the changes that are coming on the history page, we’re trying to iron out some last bugs before pushing them out but it should be out soon. Keep an eye on the blog for more information.

  11. Fabien says:

    Ok, I try to use it via instamapper. So some feature request :
    like on aprs.fi (location for amateur radio), it will be fine to have live update for the sharing map. timeline is a good idea but It will be very fine to have live update for my familly and my friend because thy all don’t remember to update the page.
    An ather cool feature for a future android software (perhaps by me, I will start android developpement …) is to log gpx with 1 seconds intervall and add openstreetmap upload support.

  12. john says:

    Fabien, yes live updating is definitely a feature we want to support. We’ve just put live an update which should give some basic updating, please try it out and let us know if you spot any problems, at the moment it should update every minute if the timeline isn’t moved. We might need to tweak this somewhat but wanted to get a version out now and see how it’s received.

    Mobile Trails Explorer, a J2ME app, is able to update mapme.at on a per-second basis and works really well. We would actually love to put some integration between OSM and mapme.at directly into the site, another item for the “To do” list I think!

    By the way, aprs.fi looks interesting, are you involved with the development of the site? It would be good to have them integrating with mapme.at.

  13. Fabien says:

    Ok, thanks for your reply.
    I am not involved in aprs.fi. I know this beacause my father use aprs and it looks fine where they come to house to see in live where they are.
    I try update with latitude but very few point and no point if you move too fast (in a car). So instamapper gpsTracker for android is the best for me.
    On android is java too for developping apps so maby it is not a lot of work to port Mobile Trails explorer to android. I’m just starting with android devel environement so I can’t help you know but perhaps in the future.

  14. Fabien says:

    Sorry to disturb you but why do you use cloudmade tiles instead of OSM directly. They are more uptodate. And for me on my laptop, color scheme is very difficult to see residential road (almost same colour as the background).

  15. john says:

    Fabien, one of the reasons we went with CloudMade was that we could customise the map style to suit our needs, we’ll have a look at the issue you’ve mentioned. Good luck with your Android development!

  16. Fabien says:

    John, since 1 week, I start with android SDK. Yesterday I bought 3 books and start reading.
    Android SDK is quite simple so I think I will start an android app for mapme in 1 or 2 weeks and hope to have a first version in July.
    I will contact you later by e-mail to have somme details with your API.

  17. Mike says:

    Hi John, is it able to view my track history in Google map or just view the location history by “longitude, latitude” instead of points on the map? The Cloudmade map only can zoom to city level in my country (Macau, China). Many thanks for your reply.

  18. john says:

    Hi Mike

    Currently there is no way to view your trace on a Google map directly within the site. If you use the API though you can get it in Atom format with GeoRSS embedded which the Google Maps website can parse and show. You can also get JSON output which you might want to use as a more basic format to generate something from yourself. An example API call would be:

    http://mapme.at/api/where.atom?username=royaliris&mode=since&since=1%20day%20ago

    If you change the .atom part to .json you get the JSON output, you can change the “since” parameter and add an “until” parameter if you want, it should understand most English ways of describing time. You can use the API while logged into the site to get your location at full accuracy but if using it with a separate app or website you may need to use the OAuth API to get the full accuracy.

    Hope this helps

  19. Mike says:

    Thanks for your prompt reply John

    Should I convert the log into GeoRSS format before importing to Google Map? I tried importing the Atom log to Google map via URL but no route or points happened to appear in the map that I created….

    Sorry for troubling mate.

  20. john says:

    It depends if you’re sharing your location to the public, if you’re not then Google won’t be able to display your trace. If you want to do this on a one-off basis then you should be ok to download the .atom file in your browser while logged in, place the .atom file on another web server somewhere and then Google should be able to see it, unfortunately there’s not a lot more that you can do right now.

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