Locate Service Update Provides GPS-Free Location Queries

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Ever wondered how to query for location without being dependent on GPS? Well, look no more: we’ve introduced a brand-new feature that is capable of getting you a location fix in seconds using nearby cell tower information. The new Geolocation service is now part of the Locate Service. The best part? It’s free to developers!

Users can be indoors with no GPS coverage, but your app will still be able to guide them to restaurants or points of interest (POI) around them. Although the accuracy of the fixes obtained from the Geolocation service may not always be as high as with GPS, it has use cases for apps that require highly accurate GPS fixes as well as apps that do not. Apps that require high accuracy can use this service to quickly show the user an approximate location while it waits for a more accurate location fix using GPS. This can offer a huge user experience improvement. For applications that do not require high accuracy, this service can be leveraged as a simple yet effective mechanism to provide location information.

To take advantage of the Geolocation service, you simply need to ask for a location fix via your LocationProvider or BlackBerryLocationProvider using the appropriate Criteria, or BlackBerryCriteria for the Cellsite mode. It is important to note that this service requires BlackBerry® Application Platform v5.0 or higher and users must be signed up with a carrier that has enabled these capabilities.

You can also consider combining the Locate Service with the BlackBerry® Maps Service to offer a variety of features from navigation directions to POIs. The BlackBerry Maps Service complements the Locate Service by providing map displays that can be invoked or embedded to indicate a user’s location. Please refer to net.rim.device.api.lbs.MapField class and the net.rim.blackberry.api.invoke package for details on APIs related to Map Service.

In BlackBerry Device Software, we’ve also enhanced the existing Geocoding functionality provided by the Locate Service. Using the net.rim.device.api.lbs.Locator class, you can now ask for reverse geocoding in addition to the geocoding functionality we already offered. Reverse geocoding is capable of converting latitude and longitude to a meaningful address. One of my favorite features of the new reverse geocoding functionality is that you can ask for contextual location information at a variety of levels from the street address to the state depending on the granularity required by your application. As a developer, you are able to take advantage of this service with a single method call while we do all the heavy lifting behind the scene.

These new features and capabilities are a great extension of all the work we did within the last year on our location-based services environment. In BlackBerry Application Platform v5.0, we introduced an extension API to the standard Location API (JSR 179). This extension API is much easier to work with and creates new opportunities for all application developers to leverage location within their apps. Please refer to the net.rim.device.api.gps package in the API documentation.

In addition to the extension API, we introduced a set of flexible Location Picker UI components that integrate seamlessly with the BlackBerry Maps and Contacts applications as well as with the GPS capabilities of the device. Check out the net.rim.device.api.lbs.picker package in the API documentation for more information.

The combination of the Locate and Maps Services opens the door to contextualized and location-aware applications that go above and beyond what is available today. We are very excited to hear your feedback on these new capabilities and how you plan on using them within your application.

About Shadid

Application Development Consultant at Research In Motion (RIM), Shadid is a developer and more importantly a developer developer. He has been working closely with the dev community to help bring the best BlackBerry® experience to their applications. A key contributor in the Developer Relations team, Shadid is the lead contact for Location Bases Services, Sensors, Bluetooth and Deep Integration of Apps. Working with BlackBerry developers is not just his job but a passion he shares with the BlackBerry developer community.

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  • Ryan

    Is this live on any carriers as of today?

  • Ryan

    Is this live on any carriers as of today?

  • http://www.pocketberry.com/2010/07/19/rim-introduces-new-geolocation-feature-with-no-gps-required/ RIM Introduces New Geolocation Feature with No GPS Required | PocketBerry - Get the Latest BlackBerry News, Reviews, Themes and Games All in One Place. Berry User

    […] For more information on developer APIs, visit the BlackBerry DevBlog. […]

  • http://blackberryrocks.com/2010/07/19/blackberry-locate-service-update-developers-geolocation-cell-towers/ BlackBerry Locate Service Update Allows Developers To Add Geolocation Through Cell Towers | BlackBerry Rocks!

    […] capabilities. For more info as well as developer APIs check out the Locate Service page or the BlackBerry Dev Blog post. Categories: Apps & Games, News & Rumors Tags: BlackBerry, BlackBerry Application, […]

  • http://www.berryreview.com/2010/07/19/hot-developers-can-now-get-location-without-gps-using-locate-service/ HOT! Developers Can Now Get Location Without GPS Using Locate Service | BerryReview.com

    […] BlackBerry Developer Blog on the Locate Service Please Share With A Friend! […]

  • Scott8586

    Seems like a great addition, but I’m running into trouble…

    GPSInfo.isGPSModeAvailable(GPSInfo.GPS_MODE_CELLSITE) returns false

    and new BlackBerryCriteria(GPSInfo.GPS_MODE_CELLSITE) throws a UnsupportedOperationException.

    Does this imply that the service is not yet available or that my carrier (Verizon) does not enable it?
    Can we be told or pointed to a document that describes which carriers currently support this mode?

  • Scott8586

    Seems like a great addition, but I’m running into trouble…

    GPSInfo.isGPSModeAvailable(GPSInfo.GPS_MODE_CELLSITE) returns false

    and new BlackBerryCriteria(GPSInfo.GPS_MODE_CELLSITE) throws a UnsupportedOperationException.

    Does this imply that the service is not yet available or that my carrier (Verizon) does not enable it?
    Can we be told or pointed to a document that describes which carriers currently support this mode?

  • http://www.blackberryempire.com/2010/07/19/rim-introduces-new-geolocation-feature-no-gps-required/ RIM Introduces New Geolocation Feature- No GPS Required | BlackBerry Empire

    […] Click here for more info!! >>> SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "RIM Introduces New Geolocation Feature- No GPS Required", url: […]

  • http://blackberrysync.com/2010/07/attention-developers-locate-service-update-allows-gps-free-location-searches/ Attention Developers: Locate Service Update Allows GPS-Free Location Searches | BlackBerrySync.com - BlackBerry News and Reviews

    […] Official BlackBerry Developer Blog posted this morning about an update that is available to developers. This brand-new feature they […]

  • http://mashable.com/2010/07/19/blackberry-cell-tower-location/ New BlackBerry API Can Grab Location Info From Cell Towers in Lieu of GPS

    […] in a location or building that makes GPS usage difficult. The BlackBerry Developer’s Blog details how the geolocation service works and gives some examples of how it can best be utilized. The […]

  • http://erictric.com/2010/07/19/research-in-motion-introduces-new-geolocation-feature-to-locate-service/ Research In Motion Introduces New Geolocation Feature to Locate Service

    […] more information, visit the BlackBerry Dev Blog. Developers can obtain the respective APIs here. var a2a_config = a2a_config || {}; […]

  • http://www.ealvnv.info/?p=1687 RIM Introduces Geolocation Feature.

    […] BlackBerry Developer Blog on the Locate Service […]

  • http://twitter.com/BillDrew4 Bill Drew

    Thanks for ignoring those o f us with older Blackberrys. Have Curve 8330 with Verizon. Only GPS is with Blackberry Maps.

    • Danyay

      The phone is over 3 years old. That’s three generations, in phonespeak. It has one, going on two, successors. Its replacement is free with a 2 year contract.

      I can’t blame them for drawing a line in the sand.

    • Danyay

      The phone is over 3 years old. That’s three generations, in phonespeak. It has one, going on two, successors. Its replacement is free with a 2 year contract.

      I can’t blame them for drawing a line in the sand.

  • http://www.mobilemarketingwatch.com/rim-bolsters-blackberry-api-to-allow-cell-tower-location-in-addition-to-gps-7959/ RIM Bolsters Blackberry API To Allow Cell Tower Location In Addition To GPS | Mobile Marketing Watch

    […] to use cell tower data when grabbing location for their apps.  The BlackBerry Developer’s Blog details how the geolocation service works and gives some examples of how it can best be utilized.  The […]

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com/2010/07/19/rim-introduces-cell-tower-geolocation-feature-for-blackberry-developers/ RIM Introduces Cell Tower Geolocation Feature for BlackBerry Developers | BlackBerry Cool

    […] more information on the service and developer APIs, you can read the post on the BlackBerry Dev Blog or visit the official reference page for the […]

  • http://nerdberry.net/2010/07/19/geolocation-no-gps-required/ Nerdberry.net » Blog Archive » Geolocation – No GPS Required!

    […] from the NerdBerry crew for the first apps to support this new API!  Stay classy, nerds.Source: BlackberryPosted in News, Press Release | No commentsPrevious post: BlackBerry Storm 3 details surface?Next […]

  • http://www.intomobile.com/2010/07/19/blackberry-location-service-lets-developers-skip-gps/ BlackBerry Location Service Lets Developers Skip GPS

    […] Android to BlackBerry.Hit up BlackBerry’s Location Service page for more information.[via BlackBerry Developer Blog] If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing […]

  • http://www.gadgetmaniacos.com/rim-implementa-servicio-de-georreferenciacion-sin-gps/ RIM implementa servicio de georreferenciación sin GPS | GadgetManiacos

    […] Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments […]

  • Ian Bowles

    Sounds good but how do we find out which carriers are supporting this service?

  • E__P

    Uh, at one point you need to upgrade. 8330 is so old.

    • Guest

      The lat and lon that i get from this two methods are the same.

  • Greg

    Does anyone know if this will work with Verizon out-of-the-box, or will VZW PDE settings/key still be required?

  • http://twitter.com/xstex Stephen Robinson

    It seems to work fine on my 8520

  • Biznatch11

    I've got a Curve 8330 with Bell Mobility (in Canada) and GPS works in Google Maps just fine.

  • http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/vendor/1111 Eric at Ebscer

    The API's are a part of the OS. There is no other way to do it. That said the 8330 can upgrade to OS5.0

    As for this option itself, this is really nice as a lot of applications only get gps data in order to convert to a zip code and do not need the delay or battery drain to get something more accurate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hakimrie Muhammad Hakim A

    how to use cell tower based location detection? is there documentation to do this?

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