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Skyhook says: Who needs GPS? | | CNET

Skyhook says: Who needs GPS? | | CNET

Loki service logoSkyhook has developed a small application, a Firefox plug-in (hmm why?), that could make GPS devices redundant in metropolitan areas.

How does it work? Well Skyhook is maintaining a database that maps the identifiers (SSIDs) of access points to their physical location, basically “wardriving” around town with WiFi detectors .

So what’s the point? There are more WiFi devices out there, hey I have four, one desktop, two laptops and one iPAQ.

Unfortunately Skyhook’s small application Loki currently is Windows only (they do promise a Mac and Linux version), and the database is limited to major metropolitan areas in the US, by they do seem to be working on worldwide support

A service like Loki needs high quality and frequently updated information, it’s a daunting task, and I guess that it could be misused in some way.

Skyhook’s application addresses several issues with GPS. GPS, and the new European Galelio network, needs line of sight to several satellites to get a lock of the position, that often takes several minutes, and GPS doesn’t work indoors.

For the majority of location based applications, I do agree, we don’t need GPS. WiFi has tremendous penetration, and it keeps getting better. Sitting in my garden, I can actually see three networks.

All companies interested in providing location based services need to do now, is to set up an access point, or a simple device that only broadcasts WiFi access-point network identifiers (SSIDs).

The telcos has tried to provide location based services for ages, they have failed miserably, at least in Denmark. The Loki solution could deliver on the promise of location based services.

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