Calling Google Earth

Matt Croydon is is taking KML in some very interesting directions.

Matt’s been developing Python code for his Nokia Series 60 phone so that it can save information as KML files. By itself, that’s no big deal, but what he plans to do with it is: First, he wants to collect GPS data via a Bluetooth GPS device (or potentially from a GPS enabled phone itself), then he’ll convert it to KML; and then he’ll email it anywhere he wants as an attachment using SMTP, so that email recipients can see where you are on Google Earth.

Phone companies should love this potential new use of bandwidth, but there are some immediately useful applications. People who are lost could just send an email asking for directions. People sending photos could geotag them on the fly. You could send yourself waymarks from a hike, or reminders of the location of an interesting new bar. If other phones are also location-aware, sharing KML files between them could make it easier for their owners to meet (or evade), as the phone could calculate direction and distance.

And if instead of SMTP, a more permanent socket were opened, so that the KML file can be sent periodically to a server via FTP, say, you’d have a homebrewed GPS tracker spitting out KML ready for live viewing in Google Earth.

And you know what that means, right? It means that we can finally play Tron for real: 2 people with GPS-tracking phones, 2 handlers in front of a Google Earth, and Manhattan below 14th as the playing field.