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WiFi positioning system SDK targets Linux devices

Oct 5, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 16 views

WiFi positioning system (WPS) technology provider Skyhook Wireless has announced a “major upgrade” to its WPS software development kit (SDK). The update improves positioning accuracy, supports a broader range of WiFi devices, adds compatibility with a wide variety of GPS software, and now targets Linux devices.

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Touted as the first wide-area positioning system based on 802.11 WiFi, rather than satellite or cellular technology, Skyhook's WPS service became available in the largest 25 metropolitan areas of the U.S. in 2005. Skyhook's WPS service was touted as being able to determine the exact location of any WiFi-enabled device running on a PC, laptop, tablet, PDA, or cellphone — without requiring any additional hardware.

Skyhook's database of WiFi access points in New York City
(Click to enlarge)

Now, according to the company, its new WPS SDK extends compatibility to Linux, Symbian, Mac OS X, and Windows Vista platforms. Additionally, WPS coverage is now said to include 19 million access points and 70 percent of the U.S., Canadian, and Australian populations. European coverage already includes London, Amsterdam, and Barcelona, and the majority of the European population will be covered by the end of 2007, Skyhook claims.

Skyhook adds that the new WPS SDK also can be deployed in “autonomous mode,” on devices such as portable media players (PMPs) and navigation gadgets that only access the network periodically. Velocity information, key for navigational accuracy on such devices, is said to have been improved by almost 50 percent.

Skyhook's new WPS SDK reportedly also adds a “Virtual GPS” feature which, the company says, makes it compatible with any applications that meet NMEA (National Marine Electronics Association) standards for communications. The Therefore, applications that already support GPS require no additional development to be deployed via the SDK, according to Skyhook.

Earlier this year, GPS chip vendor SiRF Technology partnered with Skyhook and with software specialist Openwave Systems in order to create the “SiRF Multimode Location Platform.” Offered to device makers as part of the SiRF starIII chipset and to wireless carriers using the SiRFLoc Server, this technology is said to switch transparently between GPS and WiFi signals, according to whichever can provide the most precise positioning data at any given moment.


Available now, the Skyhook WPS SDK can be downloaded from the Skyhook's website, here.

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