vCard – the first spec to use “geo:”?
The first specification that is using the “geo:” scheme seems to be the revision of the vCard format. vCards are “virtual business cards”, and contain a multitude of contact information about a person or an organization.
vCard GEO property
The geographic location of a person’s office is of course one of those properties – even the original specification of vCard (RFC 2426) contained an “GEO” property (defined in Section 3.4.2). That property has a range of shortcomings:
- There’s no way to specify altitude
- the Coordinate Reference System is not defined (see here [PDF] why you should care)
- Recommends to always use six decimal places (roughly one meter) rather than allowing for uncertainty values
New revision of vCard includes “geo:” URI
The current revision of the vCard specification (currently worked on in the IETF’s VCARDDAV working group) has changed the format of the “GEO” property. The new definition requires a URI rather than the lat/lon tupel as value, and notes in an example that the “geo:” URI scheme is “particularly well-suited”, although other URI schemes are allowed too. A example vCard using the “geo:” URI looks like this (edited for brevity):
BEGIN:VCARD VERSION:4.0 FN:Simon Perreault ... GEO;TYPE=work:geo:46.772673,-71.282945 ... CLASS:PUBLIC END:VCARD
As outlined above, the structure of vCards allows to supply parameters for properties – in the example above, the GEO property is specified for the “work” location of the contact.
vCard applications become geo: aware
The integration of the URI scheme into the very popular vCard format means that very likely future revisions of vCard applications will be able to parse and use “geo:” URIs. Looking at the list of applications that support vCards, it looks like a bright future for our newly-born URI scheme.