I've been interested in geo-location stuff for a long time now. Even back in 2003, when we launched TypePad, we built in support for parsing photo EXIF data to look for latitude and longitude embedded by a camera or mobile phone. Of course, at the time, only a couple of phone models in Japan, as well as (apparently) high-end digital cameras, could record GPS data on photos taken by the device.
A couple of years later, I bought a GPS device, connected it over Bluetooth to my mobile phone, and wrote some server software to track my location; I also wrote Python client software for my phone (hooray for Python for s60!) to take a photo, collect my current location, and send the whole mess up to my TypePad moblog.
There were a number of problems with every setup I've ever tried, though, ranging from the setup being too clunky (I quickly tired of carrying around a GPS device) to not wanting to share my location in detail with the entire world. Most importantly, though, was that there just wasn't much I could do with the data, once I had it: I could map it, but it wasn't hooked in to my online identity in any useful way.
So I was really excited last week to see the launch of Yahoo!'s Fire Eagle service, which is simple, privacy-aware, and most importantly, is now hooked in to Movable Type, using the new Fire Eagle plugin for MT. This makes my MT profile location-aware: I can add a map of my current location; changes to my location are added to my Action Stream; and other MT plugins can build off of the location to provide additional location-sensitive features. You can see it in action -- combined with the Action Stream plugin -- on David's site.
Another interesting aspect of the Fire Eagle API is that it uses the new OAuth standard for all API requests. We've written about OAuth in the past and are really excited to see Yahoo! supporting it. To help do our part in the adoption of this open standard, we'll be shipping the Perl OAuth library with the next release of Movable Type so that no plugin developer needs to worry if they'll be able to develop atop OAuth with MT.
If you need a Fire Eagle invite, leave a comment and we'll email you one.