Now, in addition to sharing your location with your contacts via your phone's maps app and your iGoogle page, you can embed your Latitude location into any page, enabling ANY CRAZY PERSON to stalk you with near-realtime accuracy. The neat thing is it defaults to automatic zooming, using your positional accuracy to determine how detailed the map is. With GPS turned off, using cell towers for location info, it zooms out to a city view with a blue "somewhere in here" circle. Turn it on and it zooms down to street level. Very awesome.
It looks like this:
The map atop my blog has long been non-functional due to the hassle involved in keeping it updated, but IT LIVES ONCE MORE, thanks to the fact that my phone is always updating positions with Latitude. Thanks, Google!
If you're interested in using Latitude in this way, head on over to http://www.google.com/latitude/apps to get your embed code. Assuming, anyway, that your phone is compatible.
Here's a handy list:
* All Android phones.
* Most Java-enabled (J2ME) mobile phones.
* Palm devices with Palm OS 5 and above.
* All color BlackBerry devices.
* Windows Mobile devices with Windows Mobile 5.0 and above.
* All 3G Symbian devices.
* Not iPhones. Pbbt. (I'm guessing the 3.0 update will have Latitude support. Still -- suck it, iPhone.)
Following last weekend's spelunking adventure with Dan, the caving fever which once held me within its grasp once again has me. We had planned on just going through the public Ice Caves in Trout Lake, but while in the parking lot there we got the unexpected bonus of learning the location of Cheese Cave, which is far less public.
This weekend I decided I would finally find Ole's Cave, a cave that has eluded me on several occasions. I bought an Atlas and Gazetteer and a GPS receiver. The atlas shows maps that are marked with both lat/long coordinates and "Township and Range" coordinates -- this system was used In The Olden Days by our fore-fathers to mark boundaries of homesteads, breaking things down to 1 mile squares on the more accurate end, 6 mile squares on the other. I have an old book that shows the locations of all the known caves in Washington State (as of 1963) and the locations within are written in T&R. I marked out the corners of the square that contained Ole's Cave on my GPS, planning to just wander about within those boundaries until I found it. In this case the cave was known to be in one of 2 adjacent squares, so my area to cover was actualy a 2 mile by 1 mile rectangle.
A quick note about GPS technology: It is simply amazing. At all times you can know your postion and heading and also the exact distance from your intended target. Unless of course you have the misfortune of being somewhere near a tree or large shrub which prevents the receiver from communicating properly with the satellites. Here in the Pacific Northwest, that pretty much describes everywhere except the parking lot at Denny's -- a place you avoid at all costs. Ninety-nine percent of the time (a good 5 hours) spent wandering the 2 square mile zone was basically blind wandering. "Lost Satellite Lock," proclaimed my expensive new toy. I specifically chose this model (Garmin eTrex Legend) because of the literature which said, "can maintain satellite lock in even the densest of forest cover." Liars.
Eventually the entrance to Ole's Cave was located and fortunately was in a relatively large area that had only tiny little trees, allowing me to keep a lock long enough to mark my location as a waypoint for future explorations. Yay for that.