22 January 2009

Empathy: where are you?

As announced today at linux.conf.au, Empathy will soon support publishing your physical location to your contacts, and reading your contact’s location.  This feature has been developed over the past months by Alban Crequy, Daffyd Harries and myself.  While the first version will be limited to automatic location discovery with Geoclue, future versions will allow more parameters and settings.

This feature allows you to publish your location (including complete address, latitude and longitude) to the contacts on your contact list only.  Of course, the level of detail can be tuned and limited.  The information is published using the XMPP protocol using XEP-0080.  To make a long story short, your XMPP server will need to support PEP.  Turns out that pretty much everyone but Google Talk supports it: you will still be able to receive your contact’s location, but your location won’t be published.

All clients implementing this XEP will be able to display your location.  Empathy will display your contacts location on a map using the map widget provided by libchamplain.

This feature will allow you to stay in touch with you friends, knowing where they are, and possibly, how late they’ll be at the restaurant!

Now the technical details. Upon startup, empathy will setup Geoclue to get your current position.  Geoclue will try to figure your location using all the resources you specified (among network, cell, GPS).  Upon connection, Empathy will send that information.

When you are receiving location information from your contacts, it will be stored until you decide to access that information.  Upon displaying the map view, if the information doesn’t contain a latitude and a longitude, Empathy will use Geoclue to geocode the user’s location.  Geocoding is converting a street address to a latitude, longitude pair.

Make sure you attend the “Bringing geolocation into Gnome” talk at FOSDEM 2009.

Comments (13)

  1. 23 January 2009
    Stoffe said...

    While that is cool and all, I’m much more interested in any progress with file transfers for the common (including MSN) protocols; that is a dealbreaker for actual, everyday use, especially in companies. It’s just not possible to be “that guy” that always needs things sent via mail instead.

    So while geolocation, videochat and other things are cool to hack on, Empathy/Telepathy needs the common base set *first*.

    But thanks for helping to make what I hope will be the ultimate IM system some day in the future. :)

  2. 23 January 2009
    Wouter said...

    Overall I like the idea, but most of the time, my contacts aren’t moving around that much. So I rather just see the name of the place where they are with an option to view a map when I want, rather than a map taking half of the window space.

  3. 23 January 2009

    [...] lot of cool things happening at Collabora, and I’m really enjoying my work.  I’ve been hacking on [...]

  4. 23 January 2009
    Pierre-Luc Beaudoin said...

    Stoffe: Sure, we are aware of that and there are people working on these features. :) I happen to have personnal interests into geolocation, therefore, I implemented this!

    Wouter: the UI isn’t complete yet.. There will be a text version of the location displayed at some point.

  5. 29 January 2009

    [...] den 29. Januar 2009 Es gibt Bewegung an der GeoClue Front! Telepathy/Empathy wurde mit XEP-0080 um Geolocation-Support erweitert. Der kürzlich bei ars technica erschienene Artikel fast das alles recht gut zusammen: [...]

  6. 1 March 2009

    [...] 然后就是Empathy对location的支持了。这个看起来很强大,截图和介绍可以看这里看这里看这里。Empathy可以用来发布你evolution的联系人地址。话说,很容易就想起来了,XMPP协议有一个地理位置的扩展。不过文中说几乎除了GoogleTalk其他都支持地理位置扩展。好家伙,这个又只能遥远地YY了。 [...]

  7. 7 March 2009

    [...] Geolocation support (XEP-0080) support in the XMPP backend and Empathy, using GeoClue to find your location and the libchamplain Clutter & Open Streetmap widget to display where your contacts are. Thanks to Pierre-Luc, Alban and Daf for their work here – more details on Pierre-Luc’s blog. [...]

  8. 27 March 2009

    [...] wir uns per Webform angemeldet haben. Dann trage ich sie auf die Whitelist derer ein, die meinen aktuellen Aufenthaltsort einsehen können, zeitlich befristet für die nächsten vier Stunden. Sie tut Ähnliches, [...]

  9. 8 May 2009
    Claudius said...

    I like the privacy feature for reduced accuracy. But please also consider that control about your personal data also means that I should be able to locate myself in Rio de Janeiro if I’d like to. There’s a real world use case for that as well: Let’s say I’m hiking on the countryside over the weekend. Before I leave (and go offline) I’d like to set my location to that cottage I’ll be staying at.

  10. 15 June 2009

    [...] January, I announced Geolocation in Empathy.  All pending branches have now been merged and released in Empathy [...]

  11. 10 March 2010
    better cam said...

    You are a cool one , thank you for those sexy giurls post , bookmarked and i will come back!

  12. 21 May 2010

    [...] can publish your location to your contacts and show their location on a map as explained on Pierre-Luc’s blog. Can you have the same on your N900? It should not be too much work since all the needed software [...]

  13. 21 May 2010

    [...] can publish your location to your contacts and show their location on a map as explained on Pierre-Luc’s blog. Can you have the same on your N900? It should not be too much work since all the needed software [...]