On the other hand, I have found little in the way in frameworks for this, because this is complex, at least if you want it to be useful, and there are many integrations points and the technologies to be integrated are often very different, from end user interaction via maps and by just moving around with a GPS, to back-end services and databases.
Some of you might have read my blog post on a call to action for advancement of the GIS capabilities with MySQL. This (LBS) is exactly why I think this is important. As for any scientific use of GIS, this is of less interest in my mind.
And the reason I think it is important for MySQL is simple: LBS really should integrate with Web 2.0 based services of some kind, that really should be the centerpoint for this. Then linking up to other services and devices, such as Mobile phones, GPSes and WiFi locators and other such things, well that is another issue.
But besides MySQL supporting better GIS we really need an open framework here. I could of no one better to do this than the Open Source community. The framework would, as I see it, have attributes like this:
- Ability to link of with devices are services on both the Client and Server side.
- An ability for the individual user to opt-in and opt-out of any services.
- A flexible Web interface that is accessible and usable to all.
- A means of interacting with the service through an API even on the client side, i.e. if someone wanted to create a completely different looking web interface, they could.
- A means of services to interact of the service level of this.
As can be seen, I do not want to limit myself to only on-line LBS applications, that are closely linked with a GPS usually, but any type of exact or approximate location can be mapped to other objects. And running this in a MySQL GIS enhanced database seems reasonable. And then we add google maps. And CMS frameworks such as Joomla and Drupal could also make good use of this (This can be done today, to an extent, using, say Google Maps, I use it myself on my PapaBlues website, where Google Maps is used to display locations of festivals and places, places that have their geocode-information in MySQL, and I can do even more with this. But I would want this to be even more flexible. And I'm not going to write a GPS integration layer for PapaBlues, so that any GPS could be used to find the closest blues festival, or to download a POI (Point Of Interest) list of bluesclubs to that GPS. But that is exactly what the framework should do. So I admit there is an amount of self-interest here).