W3C

Geolocation API Specification

Editor's Draft (@@@for W3C Proposed Recommendation@@@) @@ May 2012

This Version:
http://www.w3.org/TR/2012/PR-geolocation-API-201205@@/
Latest Published Version:
http://www.w3.org/TR/geolocation-API/
Latest Editor's Draft:
http://dev.w3.org/geo/api/spec-source.html
Previous version:
http://www.w3.org/TR/2010/CR-geolocation-API-20100907/
Editor:
Andrei Popescu, Google, Inc

Abstract

This specification defines an API that provides scripted access to geographical location information associated with the hosting device.

Status of This Document

This section describes the status of this document at the time of its publication. Other documents may supersede this document. A list of current W3C publications and the latest revision of this technical report can be found in the W3C technical reports index at http://www.w3.org/TR/.

This is the @@ May 2012 W3C Proposed Recommendation of "Geolocation API Specification". W3C publishes a technical report as a Proposed Recommendation to indicate that the document is a mature technical report that has received wide review for technical soundness and implementability and to request final endorsement from the W3C Advisory Committee. Proposed Recommendation status is described in section 7.1.1 of the Process Document.

The W3C Membership and other interested parties are invited to review the document and send comments to the Working Group's public mailing list public-geolocation@w3.org (subscribe, archives) until @@ June 2012, 23:59 EDT. See W3C mailing list and archive usage guidelines. Advisory Committee Representatives should consult their WBS questionnaires .

The W3C Geolocation Working Group believes that this specification addresses its requirements and all Last Call and Candidate Recommendation issues. There are no substantial changes from the 7 September 2010 Candidate Recommendation .

The entrance criteria to enter the Proposed Recommendation stage was to have (1) a minimum of two independent and interoperable user agents that implement each feature of the Geolocation API and pass the User Agent Tests and (2) a minimum of two Websites that pass the Website Tests . During the Candidate Recommendation period, the group generated the Implementation Report which includes the information on known implementations. The group has confirmed there were at least five User Agent implementations, and all the features of the Geolocation API specification were implemented by two or more User Agents. Also there were at least two Websites that pass the Website Tests. See the Implementation Report for the details of the results.

This document has been produced by the W3C Geolocation Working Group, following the procedures set out for the W3C Process, with the intention of advancing it along the W3C Recommendation track.

This document was produced by a group operating under the 5 February 2004 W3C Patent Policy. W3C maintains a public list of any patent disclosures made in connection with the deliverables of the group; that page also includes instructions for disclosing a patent. An individual who has actual knowledge of a patent which the individual believes contains Essential Claim(s) must disclose the information in accordance with section 6 of the W3C Patent Policy.

Publication as a Proposed Recommendation does not imply endorsement by the W3C Membership. This is a draft document and may be updated, replaced or obsoleted by other documents at any time. It is inappropriate to cite this document as other than work in progress.

Table of Contents

1 Conformance requirements

All diagrams, examples, and notes in this specification are non-normative, as are all sections explicitly marked non-normative. Everything else in this specification is normative.

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in the normative parts of this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC2119. For readability, these words do not appear in all uppercase letters in this specification. [RFC2119]

Requirements phrased in the imperative as part of algorithms (such as "strip any leading space characters" or "return false and abort these steps") are to be interpreted with the meaning of the key word ("must", "should", "may", etc) used in introducing the algorithm.

Conformance requirements phrased as algorithms or specific steps may be implemented in any manner, so long as the end result is equivalent. (In particular, the algorithms defined in this specification are intended to be easy to follow, and not intended to be performant.)

User agents may impose implementation-specific limits on otherwise unconstrained inputs, e.g. to prevent denial of service attacks, to guard against running out of memory, or to work around platform-specific limitations.

The IDL blocks in this specification are conforming IDL fragments as defined by the WebIDL specification. [WEBIDL]

2 Introduction

This section is non-normative.

The Geolocation API defines a high-level interface to location information associated only with the device hosting the implementation, such as latitude and longitude. The API itself is agnostic of the underlying location information sources. Common sources of location information include Global Positioning System (GPS) and location inferred from network signals such as IP address, RFID, WiFi and Bluetooth MAC addresses, and GSM/CDMA cell IDs, as well as user input. No guarantee is given that the API returns the device's actual location.

The API is designed to enable both "one-shot" position requests and repeated position updates, as well as the ability to explicitly query the cached positions. Location information is represented by latitude and longitude coordinates. The Geolocation API in this specification builds upon earlier work in the industry, including [AZALOC], [GEARSLOC], and [LOCATIONAWARE].

The following code extracts illustrate how to obtain basic location information:

Example of a "one-shot" position request.

    function showMap(position) {
      // Show a map centered at (position.coords.latitude, position.coords.longitude).
    }

    // One-shot position request.
    navigator.geolocation.getCurrentPosition(showMap);
    

Example of requesting repeated position updates.

    function scrollMap(position) {
      // Scrolls the map so that it is centered at (position.coords.latitude, position.coords.longitude).
    }

    // Request repeated updates.
    var watchId = navigator.geolocation.watchPosition(scrollMap);

    function buttonClickHandler() {
      // Cancel the updates when the user clicks a button.
      navigator.geolocation.clearWatch(watchId);
    }
    

Example of requesting repeated position updates and handling errors.

    function scrollMap(position) {
      // Scrolls the map so that it is centered at (position.coords.latitude, position.coords.longitude).
    }

    function handleError(error) {
      // Update a div element with error.message.
    }

    // Request repeated updates.
    var watchId = navigator.geolocation.watchPosition(scrollMap, handleError);

    function buttonClickHandler() {
      // Cancel the updates when the user clicks a button.
      navigator.geolocation.clearWatch(watchId);
    }
    

Example of requesting a potentially cached position.

    // Request a position. We accept positions whose age is not
    // greater than 10 minutes. If the user agent does not have a
    // fresh enough cached position object, it will automatically
    // acquire a new one.
    navigator.geolocation.getCurrentPosition(successCallback,
                                             errorCallback,
                                             {maximumAge:600000});

    function successCallback(position) {
      // By using the 'maximumAge' option above, the position
      // object is guaranteed to be at most 10 minutes old.
    }

    function errorCallback(error) {
      // Update a div element with error.message.
    }

    

Forcing the user agent to return a fresh cached position.

    // Request a position. We only accept cached positions whose age is not
    // greater than 10 minutes. If the user agent does not have a fresh
    // enough cached position object, it will immediately invoke the error
    // callback.
    navigator.geolocation.getCurrentPosition(successCallback,
                                             errorCallback,
                                             {maximumAge:600000, timeout:0});

    function successCallback(position) {
      // By using the 'maximumAge' option above, the position
      // object is guaranteed to be at most 10 minutes old.
      // By using a 'timeout' of 0 milliseconds, if there is
      // no suitable cached position available, the user agent 
      // will asynchronously invoke the error callback with code
      // TIMEOUT and will not initiate a new position
      // acquisition process.
    }

    function errorCallback(error) {
      switch(error.code) {
        case error.TIMEOUT:
          // Quick fallback when no suitable cached position exists.
          doFallback();
          // Acquire a new position object.
          navigator.geolocation.getCurrentPosition(successCallback, errorCallback);
          break;
        case ... // treat the other error cases.
      };
    }

    function doFallback() {
      // No fresh enough cached position available.
      // Fallback to a default position.
    }
    

Forcing the user agent to return any available cached position.

    // Request a position. We only accept cached positions, no matter what 
    // their age is. If the user agent does not have a cached position at
    // all, it will immediately invoke the error callback.
    navigator.geolocation.getCurrentPosition(successCallback,
                                             errorCallback,
                                             {maximumAge:Infinity, timeout:0});

    function successCallback(position) {
      // By setting the 'maximumAge' to Infinity, the position
      // object is guaranteed to be a cached one.
      // By using a 'timeout' of 0 milliseconds, if there is
      // no cached position available at all, the user agent 
      // will immediately invoke the error callback with code
      // TIMEOUT and will not initiate a new position
      // acquisition process.
      if (position.timestamp < freshness_threshold && 
          position.coords.accuracy < accuracy_threshold) {
        // The position is relatively fresh and accurate.
      } else {
        // The position is quite old and/or inaccurate.
      }
    }

    function errorCallback(error) {
      switch(error.code) {
        case error.TIMEOUT:
          // Quick fallback when no cached position exists at all.
          doFallback();
          // Acquire a new position object.
          navigator.geolocation.getCurrentPosition(successCallback, errorCallback);
          break;
        case ... // treat the other error cases.
      };
    }

    function doFallback() {
      // No cached position available at all.
      // Fallback to a default position.
    }
    

3 Scope

This section is non-normative.

This specification is limited to providing a scripting API for retrieving geographic position information associated with a hosting device. The geographic position information is provided in terms of World Geodetic System coordinates [WGS84].

The scope of this specification does not include providing a markup language of any kind.

The scope of this specification does not include defining new URI schemes for building URIs that identify geographic locations.

4 Security and privacy considerations

The API defined in this specification is used to retrieve the geographic location of a hosting device. In almost all cases, this information also discloses the location of the user of the device, thereby potentially compromising the user's privacy. A conforming implementation of this specification must provide a mechanism that protects the user's privacy and this mechanism should ensure that no location information is made available through this API without the user's express permission.

4.1 Privacy considerations for implementers of the Geolocation API

User agents must not send location information to Web sites without the express permission of the user. User agents must acquire permission through a user interface, unless they have prearranged trust relationships with users, as described below. The user interface must include the host component of the document's URI [URI]. Those permissions that are acquired through the user interface and that are preserved beyond the current browsing session (i.e. beyond the time when the browsing context [BROWSINGCONTEXT] is navigated to another URL) must be revocable and user agents must respect revoked permissions.

Some user agents will have prearranged trust relationships that do not require such user interfaces. For example, while a Web browser will present a user interface when a Web site performs a geolocation request, a VOIP telephone may not present any user interface when using location information to perform an E911 function.

4.2 Privacy considerations for recipients of location information

Recipients must only request location information when necessary. Recipients must only use the location information for the task for which it was provided to them. Recipients must dispose of location information once that task is completed, unless expressly permitted to retain it by the user. Recipients must also take measures to protect this information against unauthorized access. If location information is stored, users should be allowed to update and delete this information.

The recipient of location information must not retransmit the location information without the user’s express permission. Care should be taken when retransmitting and use of encryption is encouraged.

Recipients must clearly and conspicuously disclose the fact that they are collecting location data, the purpose for the collection, how long the data is retained, how the data is secured, how the data is shared if it is shared, how users may access, update and delete the data, and any other choices that users have with respect to the data. This disclosure must include an explanation of any exceptions to the guidelines listed above.

4.3 Additional implementation considerations

This section is non-normative.

Further to the requirements listed in the previous section, implementers of the Geolocation API are also advised to consider the following aspects that may negatively affect the privacy of their users: in certain cases, users may inadvertently grant permission to the user agent to disclose their location to Web sites. In other cases, the content hosted at a certain URL changes in such a way that the previously granted location permissions no longer apply as far as the user is concerned. Or the users might simply change their minds.

Predicting or preventing these situations is inherently difficult. Mitigation and in-depth defensive measures are an implementation responsibility and not prescribed by this specification. However, in designing these measures, implementers are advised to enable user awareness of location sharing, and to provide easy access to interfaces that enable revocation of permissions.

5 API Description

5.1 Geolocation interface

The Geolocation object is used by scripts to programmatically determine the location information associated with the hosting device. The location information is acquired by applying a user-agent specific algorithm, creating a Position object, and populating that object with appropriate data accordingly.

Objects implementing the Navigator interface (e.g. the window.navigator object) must also implement the NavigatorGeolocation interface [NAVIGATOR]. An instance of NavigatorGeolocation would be then obtained by using binding-specific casting methods on an instance of Navigator.

 [NoInterfaceObject]
 interface NavigatorGeolocation {
   readonly attribute Geolocation geolocation;
 };

 Navigator implements NavigatorGeolocation;
  


 [NoInterfaceObject]
 interface Geolocation { 
   void getCurrentPosition(PositionCallback successCallback,
                           optional PositionErrorCallback errorCallback,
                           optional PositionOptions options);

   long watchPosition(PositionCallback successCallback,
                      optional PositionErrorCallback errorCallback,
                      optional PositionOptions options);

   void clearWatch(long watchId);
 };

 callback PositionCallback = void (Position position);

 callback PositionErrorCallback = void (PositionError positionError);
 

The getCurrentPosition() method takes one, two or three arguments. When called, it must immediately return and then asynchronously attempt to obtain the current location of the device. If the attempt is successful, the successCallback must be invoked (i.e. the handleEvent operation must be called on the callback object) with a new Position object, reflecting the current location of the device. If the attempt fails, the errorCallback must be invoked with a new PositionError object, reflecting the reason for the failure.

The implementation of the getCurrentPosition method should execute the following set of steps:

  1. Run the following pre-processing steps:
    1. If a PositionOptions parameter was present, and its maximumAge attribute was defined to a non-negative value, assign this value to an internal maximumAge variable. If maximumAge was defined to a negative value or was not specified, set the internal maximumAge variable to 0.
    2. If a PositionOptions parameter was present, and its timeout attribute was defined to a non-negative value, assign this value to an internal timeout variable. If timeout was defined to a negative value, set the internal timeout variable to 0. If timeout was not specified, set the internal timeout variable to Infinity.
    3. If a PositionOptions parameter was present, and its enableHighAccuracy attribute was defined, assign this value to an internal enableHighAccuracy variable. Otherwise, set the internal enableHighAccuracy variable to false.
  2. If a cached Position object, whose age is no greater than the value of the maximumAge variable, is available, invoke the successCallback with the cached Position object as a parameter and exit this set of steps.
  3. If the value of the timeout variable is 0, invoke the errorCallback (if present) with a new PositionError object whose code attribute is set to TIMEOUT and exit this set of steps.
  4. Start a location acquisition operation (e.g. by invoking a platform-specific API), possibly taking into account the value of the enableHighAccuracy variable (see the definition of enableHighAccuracy for details).
  5. Start a timer that will fire after the number of milliseconds denoted by the value of the timeout variable. When the timer fires, cancel any ongoing location acquisition operations associated with this instance of the steps, invoke the errorCallback (if present) with a new PositionError object whose code attribute is set to TIMEOUT, and exit this set of steps.
  6. If the operation completes successfully before the timeout expires, cancel the pending timer, invoke the successCallback with a new Position object that reflects the result of the acquisition operation and exit this set of steps.
  7. If the operation fails before the timeout expires, cancel the pending timer and invoke the errorCallback (if present) with a new PositionError object whose code is set to POSITION_UNAVAILABLE.

The watchPosition() method takes one, two or three arguments. When called, it must immediately return a long value that uniquely identifies a watch operation and then asynchronously start the watch operation. This operation must first attempt to obtain the current location of the device. If the attempt is successful, the successCallback must be invoked (i.e. the handleEvent operation must be called on the callback object) with a new Position object, reflecting the current location of the device. If the attempt fails, the errorCallback must be invoked with a new PositionError object, reflecting the reason for the failure. The watch operation then must continue to monitor the position of the device and invoke the appropriate callback every time this position changes. The watch operation must continue until the clearWatch method is called with the corresponding identifier.

The implementation of the watch process should execute the following set of steps:

  1. Run the following pre-processing steps:
    1. If a PositionOptions parameter was present, and its maximumAge attribute was defined to a non-negative value, assign this value to an internal maximumAge variable. If maximumAge was defined to a negative value or was not specified, set the internal maximumAge variable to 0.
    2. If a PositionOptions parameter was present, and its timeout attribute was defined to a non-negative value, assign this value to an internal timeout variable. If timeout was defined to a negative value, set the internal timeout variable to 0. If timeout was not specified, set the internal timeout variable to Infinity.
    3. If a PositionOptions parameter was present, and its enableHighAccuracy attribute was defined, assign this value to an internal enableHighAccuracy variable. Otherwise, set the internal enableHighAccuracy variable to false.
  2. If a cached Position object, whose age is no greater than the value of the maximumAge variable, is available, invoke the successCallback with the cached Position object as a parameter.
  3. Register to receive system events that indicate that the position of the device may have changed (e.g. by listening or polling for changes in WiFi or cellular signals).
  4. Start a location acquisition operation (e.g. by invoking a platform-specific API), possibly taking into account the value of the enableHighAccuracy variable (see the definition of enableHighAccuracy for details).
  5. Run the following acquisition steps:
    1. If the timer is not already running, start a timer that will fire after the number of milliseconds denoted by the value of the timeout variable. When the timer fires, invoke the errorCallback (if present) with a new PositionError object whose code attribute is set to TIMEOUT and jump to step 6.
    2. If the location acquisition operation successfully yields a new position before the timeout expires, perform the following two steps:
      1. Cancel the pending timer. Note that the timer must be restarted once this algorithm jumps back to the beginning of the acquisition steps.
      2. If the new position differs significantly from the previous position, invoke the successCallback with a new Position object that reflects the result of the acquisition operation. This step may be subject to callback rate limitation (see below).
    3. Else, if the location acquisition operation reports an error before the timeout expires, invoke the errorCallback (if present) with a new PositionError object whose code is set to POSITION_UNAVAILABLE. This step may be subject to callback rate limitation (see below).
  6. Wait for a system event to be received. When such an event is received jump to the acquisition steps above.

In step 5.2.2 of the watch process, the successCallback is only invoked when a new position is obtained and this position differs significantly from the previously reported position. The definition of what constitutes a significant difference is left to the implementation. Furthermore, in steps 5.2.2 and 5.2.3, implementations may impose limitations on the frequency of callbacks so as to avoid inadvertently consuming a disproportionate amount of resources.

For both getCurrentPosition and watchPosition, the implementation must never invoke the successCallback without having first obtained permission from the user to share location. Furthermore, the implementation should always obtain the user's permission to share location before executing any of the getCurrentPosition or watchPosition steps described above. If the user grants permission, the appropriate callback must be invoked as described above. If the user denies permission, the errorCallback (if present) must be invoked with code PERMISSION_DENIED, irrespective of any other errors encountered in the above steps. The time that is spent obtaining the user permission must not be included in the period covered by the timeout attribute of the PositionOptions parameter. The timeout attribute must only apply to the location acquisition operation.

The clearWatch() method takes one argument. When called, it must first check the value of the given watchId argument. If this value does not correspond to any previously started watch process, then the method must return immediately without taking any further action. Otherwise, the watch process identified by the watchId argument must be immediately stopped and no further callbacks must be invoked.

5.2 PositionOptions interface

The getCurrentPosition() and watchPosition() methods accept PositionOptions objects as their third argument.

In ECMAScript, PositionOptions objects are represented using regular native objects with optional properties named enableHighAccuracy, timeout and maximumAge.

  [NoInterfaceObject]
  interface PositionOptions {
    attribute boolean enableHighAccuracy;
    attribute long timeout;
    attribute long maximumAge;
  };

  

In ECMAScript, the enableHighAccuracy, timeout and maximumAge properties are all optional: when creating a PositionOptions object, the developer may specify any of these properties.

The enableHighAccuracy attribute provides a hint that the application would like to receive the best possible results. This may result in slower response times or increased power consumption. The user might also deny this capability, or the device might not be able to provide more accurate results than if the flag wasn't specified. The intended purpose of this attribute is to allow applications to inform the implementation that they do not require high accuracy geolocation fixes and, therefore, the implementation can avoid using geolocation providers that consume a significant amount of power (e.g. GPS). This is especially useful for applications running on battery-powered devices, such as mobile phones.

If the PositionOptions parameter to getCurrentPosition or watchPosition is omitted, the default value used for the enableHighAccuracy attribute is false. The same default value is used in ECMAScript when the enableHighAccuracy property is omitted.

The timeout attribute denotes the maximum length of time (expressed in milliseconds) that is allowed to pass from the call to getCurrentPosition() or watchPosition() until the corresponding successCallback is invoked. If the implementation is unable to successfully acquire a new Position before the given timeout elapses, and no other errors have occurred in this interval, then the corresponding errorCallback must be invoked with a PositionError object whose code attribute is set to TIMEOUT. Note that the time that is spent obtaining the user permission is not included in the period covered by the timeout attribute. The timeout attribute only applies to the location acquisition operation.

If the PositionOptions parameter to getCurrentPosition or watchPosition is omitted, the default value used for the timeout attribute is Infinity. If a negative value is supplied, the timeout value is considered to be 0. The same default value is used in ECMAScript when the timeout property is omitted.

In case of a getCurrentPosition() call, the errorCallback would be invoked at most once. In case of a watchPosition(), the errorCallback could be invoked repeatedly: the first timeout is relative to the moment watchPosition() was called or the moment the user's permission was obtained, if that was necessary. Subsequent timeouts are relative to the moment when the implementation determines that the position of the hosting device has changed and a new Position object must be acquired.

The maximumAge attribute indicates that the application is willing to accept a cached position whose age is no greater than the specified time in milliseconds. If maximumAge is set to 0, the implementation must immediately attempt to acquire a new position object. Setting the maximumAge to Infinity must determine the implementation to return a cached position regardless of its age. If an implementation does not have a cached position available whose age is no greater than the specified maximumAge, then it must acquire a new position object. In case of a watchPosition(), the maximumAge refers to the first position object returned by the implementation.

If the PositionOptions parameter to getCurrentPosition or watchPosition is omitted, the default value used for the maximumAge attribute is 0. If a negative value is supplied, the maximumAge value is considered to be 0. The same default value is used in ECMAScript when the maximumAge property is omitted.

5.3 Position interface

The Position interface is the container for the geolocation information returned by this API. This version of the specification allows one attribute of type Coordinates and a timestamp. Future versions of the API may allow additional attributes that provide other information about this position (e.g. street addresses).

  [NoInterfaceObject]
  interface Position {
    readonly attribute Coordinates coords;
    readonly attribute DOMTimeStamp timestamp;
  };
  

The coords attribute contains a set of geographic coordinates together with their associated accuracy, as well as a set of other optional attributes such as altitude and speed.

The timestamp attribute represents the time when the Position object was acquired and is represented as a DOMTimeStamp [DOMTIMESTAMP].

5.4 Coordinates interface

  [NoInterfaceObject]
  interface Coordinates {
    readonly attribute double latitude;
    readonly attribute double longitude;
    readonly attribute double? altitude;
    readonly attribute double accuracy;
    readonly attribute double? altitudeAccuracy;
    readonly attribute double? heading;
    readonly attribute double? speed;
  };
  

The geographic coordinate reference system used by the attributes in this interface is the World Geodetic System (2d) [WGS84]. No other reference system is supported.

The latitude and longitude attributes are geographic coordinates specified in decimal degrees.

The altitude attribute denotes the height of the position, specified in meters above the [WGS84] ellipsoid. If the implementation cannot provide altitude information, the value of this attribute must be null.

The accuracy attribute denotes the accuracy level of the latitude and longitude coordinates. It is specified in meters and must be supported by all implementations. The value of the accuracy attribute must be a non-negative real number.

The altitudeAccuracy attribute is specified in meters. If the implementation cannot provide altitude information, the value of this attribute must be null. Otherwise, the value of the altitudeAccuracy attribute must be a non-negative real number.

The accuracy and altitudeAccuracy values returned by an implementation should correspond to a 95% confidence level.

The heading attribute denotes the direction of travel of the hosting device and is specified in degrees, where 0° ≤ heading < 360°, counting clockwise relative to the true north. If the implementation cannot provide heading information, the value of this attribute must be null. If the hosting device is stationary (i.e. the value of the speed attribute is 0), then the value of the heading attribute must be NaN.

The speed attribute denotes the magnitude of the horizontal component of the hosting device's current velocity and is specified in meters per second. If the implementation cannot provide speed information, the value of this attribute must be null. Otherwise, the value of the speed attribute must be a non-negative real number.

5.5 PositionError interface

  [NoInterfaceObject]
  interface PositionError {
    const unsigned short PERMISSION_DENIED = 1;
    const unsigned short POSITION_UNAVAILABLE = 2;
    const unsigned short TIMEOUT = 3;
    readonly attribute unsigned short code;
    readonly attribute DOMString message;
  };
  

The code attribute must return the appropriate code from the following list:

PERMISSION_DENIED (numeric value 1)
The location acquisition process failed because the document does not have permission to use the Geolocation API.
POSITION_UNAVAILABLE (numeric value 2)
The position of the device could not be determined. For instance, one or more of the location providers used in the location acquisition process reported an internal error that caused the process to fail entirely.
TIMEOUT (numeric value 3)
The length of time specified by the timeout property has elapsed before the implementation could successfully acquire a new Position object.

The message attribute must return an error message describing the details of the error encountered. This attribute is primarily intended for debugging and developers should not use it directly in their application user interface.

6 Use-Cases and Requirements

6.1 Use-Cases

6.1.1 Find points of interest in the user's area

Someone visiting a foreign city could access a Web application that allows users to search or browse through a database of tourist attractions. Using the Geolocation API, the Web application has access to the user's approximate position and it is therefore able to rank the search results by proximity to the user's location.

6.1.2 Annotating content with location information

A group of friends is hiking through the Scottish highlands. Some of them write short notes and take pictures at various points throughout the journey and store them using a Web application that can work offline on their hand-held devices. Whenever they add new content, the application automatically tags it with location data from the Geolocation API (which, in turn, uses the on-board GPS device). Every time they reach a town or a village, and they are again within network coverage, the application automatically uploads their notes and pictures to a popular blogging Web site, which uses the geolocation data to construct links that point to a mapping service. Users who follow the group's trip can click on these links to see a satellite view of the area where the notes were written and the pictures were taken. Another example is a life blog where a user creates content (e.g. images, video, audio) that records her every day experiences. This content can be automatically annotated with information such as time, geographic position or even the user's emotional state at the time of the recording.

6.1.3 Show the user's position on a map

A user finds herself in an unfamiliar city area. She wants to check her position so she uses her hand-held device to navigate to a Web-based mapping application that can pinpoint her exact location on the city map using the Geolocation API. She then asks the Web application to provide driving directions from her current position to her desired destination.

6.1.4 Turn-by-turn route navigation

A mapping application can help the user navigate along a route by providing detailed turn-by-turn directions. The application does this by registering with the Geolocation API to receive repeated location updates of the user's position. These updates are delivered as soon as the implementing user agent determines that the position of the user has changed, which allows the application to anticipate any changes of direction that the user might need to do.

6.1.5 Alerts when points of interest are in the user's vicinity

A tour-guide Web application can use the Geolocation API to monitor the user's position and trigger visual or audio notifications when interesting places are in the vicinity. An online task management system can trigger reminders when the user is in the proximity of landmarks that are associated with certain tasks.

6.1.6 Up-to-date local information

A widget-like Web application that shows the weather or news that are relevant to the user's current area can use the Geolocation API to register for location updates. If the user's position changes, the widget can adapt the content accordingly.

6.1.7 Location-tagged status updates in social networking applications

A social network application allows its users to automatically tag their status updates with location information. It does this by monitoring the user's position with the Geolocation API. Each user can control the granularity of the location information (e.g. city or neighborhood level) that is shared with the other users. Any user can also track his network of friends and get real-time updates about their current location.

6.2 Requirements

6.2.1 The Geolocation API must provide location data in terms of a pair of latitude and longitude coordinates.

6.2.2 The Geolocation API must provide information about the accuracy of the retrieved location data.

6.2.3 The Geolocation API must support "one-shot" position updates.

6.2.4 The Geolocation API must allow an application to register to receive updates when the position of the hosting device changes.

6.2.5 The Geolocation API must allow an application to request a cached position whose age is no greater than a specified value.

6.2.6 The Geolocation API must provide a way for the application to receive updates about errors that may have occurred while obtaining a location fix.

6.2.7 The Geolocation API must allow an application to specify a desired accuracy level of the location information.

6.2.8 The Geolocation API must be agnostic to the underlying sources of location information.

Acknowledgments

Alec Berntson, Alissa Cooper, Steve Block, Greg Bolsinga, Lars Erik Bolstad, Aaron Boodman, Dave Burke, Chris Butler, Max Froumentin, Shyam Habarakada, Marcin Hanclik, Ian Hickson, Brad Lassey, Angel Machin, Cameron McCormack, Daniel Park, Stuart Parmenter, Olli Pettay, Chris Prince, Arun Ranganathan, Aza Raskin, Carl Reed, Thomas Roessler, Dirk Segers, Allan Thomson, Martin Thomson, Doug Turner, Erik Wilde, Matt Womer, Mohamed Zergaoui

References

[AZALOC]
(Non-normative) Geolocation in Firefox and Beyond, Aza Raskin. See http://azarask.in/blog/post/geolocation-in-firefox-and-beyond
[BROWSINGCONTEXT]
The browsing context in HTML5, Ian Hickson, David Hyatt, Editors. World Wide Web Consortium. See http://www.w3.org/TR/2013/CR-html5-20130806/browsers.html#windows
[URI]
Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI): Generic Syntax .T. Berners-Lee, R. Fielding, L. Masinter, Editors. Internet Engineering Task Force. See http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2396.txt
[NAVIGATOR]
Navigator interface in HTML5, Ian Hickson, David Hyatt, Editors. World Wide Web Consortium. See http://www.w3.org/TR/2013/CR-html5-20130806/webappapis.html#navigator
[DOMTIMESTAMP]
The DOMTimeStamp Type, Arnaud Le Hors, Philippe Le Hégaret, Gavin Nicol, Lauren Wood, Mike Champion, Steve Byrne, Editors. World Wide Web Consortium, 7 April 2004. See http://www.w3.org/TR/DOM-Level-3-Core/core.html#Core-DOMTimeStamp
[GEARSLOC]
(Non-normative) Gears Geolocation API. See http://code.google.com/apis/gears/api_geolocation.html
[LOCATIONAWARE]
(Non-normative) LocationAware.org. See http://locationaware.org/
[RFC2119]
Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels, Scott Bradner. Internet Engineering Task Force, March 1997. See http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2119.txt
[RFC3066]
Tags for the Identification of Languages, Harald Tveit Alvestrand. Internet Engineering Task Force, January 2001. See http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3066.txt
[WEBIDL]
web IDL, Cameron McCormack, Editor. World Wide Web Consortium, 19 April 2012. See http://www.w3.org/TR/2012/CR-WebIDL-20120419/
[WGS84]
National Imagery and Mapping Agency Technical Report 8350.2, Third Edition. National Imagery and Mapping Agency, 3 January 2000. See http://earth-info.nga.mil/GandG/publications/tr8350.2/wgs84fin.pdf