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Pinpointing the Mobile User with Location-Based Services

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Where are you? Very soon, if you have a working wireless device in hand, your service provider will be able to find you in an emergency - and you can use LBS to locate the nearest Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts within a six-block radius of your hotel.
Bryan Morgan is a veteran software developer and writer. As the founder of the Wireless Developer Network (http://www.wirelessdevnet.com/) and a writer for WirelessWeek.com and Wireless Internet magazine, he has reported on wireless technologies since 1999.

Introduction

I've written more than 20 articles now for InformIT, covering a wide variety of mobile and wireless technologies in the process. Hopefully, if you've read through many of these pieces, you've learned that the so-called "wireless Internet" is composed of an extremely diverse mix of hardware, software, and communications technologies. I've long believed that wireless data will not be embraced by the mass market until a number of technologies are widely available, inexpensive, and unobtrusive. Chief among the items on my "watch list" is the concept of location-based services. Location-based services (LBS) are value-added data services that take the mobile device's position into account as a crucial piece of information. In this article, I'd like to briefly discuss the opportunities provided by LBS as well as the variety of LBS tools and technologies that are currently available.

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