Archive for the ‘Drafting’ category

RFC 5870: “A Uniform Resource Identifier for Geographic Locations”

June 7th, 2010

It’s Done.

RFC 5870 (“A Uniform Resource Identifier for Geographic Locations”) has finally been published by the Internet Engineering Task Force as “Proposed Standard”. The RFC contains the final, stable and approved IETF specification of the “geo” URI scheme – the 23 pages document is the result of 3 years of hard work, several presentations at IETF meetings, hundreds of email conversations about protocol details, discussing the proposal again and again, and – finally – interacting with not just one, but two sets of Area Directors in the IESG (Approval was perfectly timed with the end of the term of several Area Directors, so it had to be reviewed by the incoming IESG members as well).

Now that the “blueprint” part of the URI scheme is done, we’re looking forward to applications actually using the “geo” scheme (besides the ones we know of already). The URI scheme will also very likely see adoption in other IETF documents. If you know of an application that you think should support the “geo” URI scheme – let us know.

“geo:” Specification is Approved in the IETF

April 19th, 2010

Great news for the standardization of the “geo:” URI scheme: After three years of hard work, the Internet Draft describing the URI scheme was approved by the IESG on April 16th 2010. This means that the most important hurdle for “geo:” to become a (Proposed Standard) RFC has been taken.

It will take another 3 – 4 months for the document to be edited and a final RFC number to be assigned. But with the approval of the document, the current specification is stable, and can be used as a draft reference for implementations

There are currently two implementations of the “geo:” URI scheme out:

  • Andy Armstrong has written a “geo:” Perl Module available through CPAN.
  • The mobile Operating System “Android” contains support for the “geo:” URI out of the box (API Documentation) – unfortunately it’s not fully compliant to the latest specs. However, this is particularly exciting because it’s out there in millions of devices.

The specification is also already being used in other IETF work: For example, the updated vCard Specification recommends to use “geo:” URIs for the GEO property of vCards, and i’m sure we’ll be seeing “geo” URIs pop up in other specifications as well!

Android implements “geo” URI, IETF accepts draft specification

April 2nd, 2009

A new version of the “geo” URI specification was discussed at the IETF’s 74th meeting in San Francisco. As more and more applications pop up around the internet, the GEOPRIV working group recognized that there is definitely a need for a simple, short, but yet standardized way to refer to a spatial location.

Following the 20 minute presentation of the new draft version (which primarily incorporated some clarifications regarding WGS84, and the semantics of coordinates reflecting the poles), the working group was asked whether it would want to accept the “geo” URI draft as an official working group item.

The draft was accepted with overwhelming concensus, and will soon be renamed to reflect the working group adoption. That also means we’re a big step closer towards publication of the document as a draft standard RFC.
In other news, an esteemed colleage of mine discovered that Google’s mobile operating system “Android” already supports the “geo” URI! So anybody who happens to use such a phone (or has installed the emulator) can already make use of web pages containing “geo” URIs – once they are clicked, the phone starts the mapping application, and pans to the location indicated in the URI.

This is the first wide-spread implementation we’re aware of – see the relevant API documentation page. We’re quite excited, and looking forward to more platforms containing early implementations of the URI scheme.

Internet Draft updated to version 01

July 6th, 2007

The Internet Draft specifying the “geo:” URI has been updated, the new version is already available from the IETF draft archives.

The new version 01 (which is the second version after 00) removes the “query” part of the URI, as this was pretty much underspecified in the initial version, and has proven to be rather controversial. Since it does not actually identify the spatial location, but provides meta information (like location classification & type, preferred map scale) we decided to remove it from the specification.

Please note that this is work in progress, which also means that any feedback is appreciated.

Presentation at IETF 68, Prague

March 21st, 2007

IETF68 slidesThe Internet Engineering Task Force is currently hosting it’s 68th meeting in the Hilton Hotel, Prague, Czech Republic.

The geo: URI proposal is on the agenda of tomorrows session of the Geographic Location/Privacy working group:

  • GEOPRIV WG meeting
  • March 22, 2007, 9:00 – 11:30
  • IETF 68, Hilton Hotel Prague, Room “Congress I”

According to the agenda, the presentation of the “geo” URI scheme is scheduled for about 10:55.

For remote participation, session audio will be available via the IETF audio streaming effort (Channel 1), a supplemental Jabber discussion room at can be used as a backchannel for remote participants to ask questions and provide feedback.

Slides of the presentation

Internet Draft about “geo” URI published

February 24th, 2007

The first version of the geo-URI specification is now available as an Internet Draft on the IETF web site (announcement). An Internet Draft is the first step towards publication of a specification as an RFC.

The draft specifies syntax, format and semantics of the “geo” URI – it also requests registration of the respective Uniform Resource Identifier scheme (“geo:”) from IANA.

The draft will be presented during the session of the GEOPRIV (“geographic location and privacy“) working group on the 68th IETF meeting, taking place March 18-23, 2007 in Prague. The GEOPRIV session is currently scheduled for Tuesday, March 20, 0900 – 1130. Audio streaming will be available from here.

Comments and feedback on the Internet Draft is appreciated.

geoURI primer

February 17th, 2007

More and more protocols and data formats are being extended by methods to add geographic information. However, all of those options are tied to that specific protocol or data format.

A dedicated Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) scheme for geographic locations would be independent from any protocol, usable by any software/data format that can handle generich URIs. Like a “mailto:” URI launches your favourite mail application today, a “geo:” URI could soon launch your favourite mapping service, or queue that location for a navigation device.

Making the format as simple as possible allows to jot down “geo:” URIs, like you jot down email addresses today. An example for a simple “geo:” URI (St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna, Austria) could look like:

(you browser will not be able to handle this Link yet, of course)

This blog is about the development of the “geo:” URI scheme. The first goal is the publication of an Internet Draft withing the IETF, probably progressing it to a RFC, and having the URI scheme registered with IANA.