Sydney: Researchers have developed a method for embedding Global Positioning System coordinates in an SMS message. The technique, known as geotagging, can transmit a mobile phone`s position.
It works by placing location identifiers in the text, for example - I`m at the pub geo:-37.801631,144.980294.
"Studies have shown that `Where are you?` is the single most commonly sent SMS," said doctoral student Matthew Kwan from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University`s school of mathematical and geospatial sciences in Australia.
"And if you`ve ever tried finding someone at a music festival, you`d know that regular SMS doesn`t really do the job. So we developed a geotagging standard, which we`ve called GeoSMS," Kwan said.
The researchers have also released an application for Android smart phones called "I Am Here."
When it receives a geotagged SMS it shows the location on a map or displays a compass needle and distance counter that can be followed to the destination, according to a Royal Melbourne statement.
"The software is available for free through the Android Market. Its source code can be found online," Kwan said.
"GeoSMS is an open standard, so hopefully handset manufacturers will build it into their phones in future. In the meantime, there`s nothing to stop someone developing a commercial version for the iPhone or Nokia. In fact, we`d encourage it," he added.
In addition to finding friends, geotagged SMSes could also be used to order taxis, report crimes, or find automatic teller machines.