I’m planning to go on an extended motorcycle trip in May. Whenever I leave to go somewhere for more than a few hours and my friends know about it I tend to get a lot of calls. They get very concerned and call to make sure I’m not lying on the side of the road somewhere bleeding. Can’t blame them, the precedent has been set. And hey, it feels good to know that next time I actually am lying on the side of the road bleeding there should be someone looking for me pretty quick even if I don’t have a sweeper following me. However, it also means that there are a bunch of worried people out there if I don’t answer my phone for some reason, for which I feel guilty. “I should be able to solve this with technology!” says Mike the geek.
Immediate thought, Google Latitude. I can keep recording info about where I am in the background with both the Android and Symbian phones I have. That way folks can see where I’m going as I’m going, and if I don’t answer the phone they at least know I’m moving. Which should mean I’m okay, unless I’m wedged under a truck getting dragged down the road. I haven’t figured out a technical solution to detecting that, so I’m leaving that corner case off the table for now.
However, the only way I can see to get info out of Latitude is through the iGoogle widget. Not a bad way for it to work, but I want to just post my location to my blog. Seriously, I don’t give a crap about privacy. I wanna publish where I am for everyone. And I’m not going to get my mom and my sisters to sign up for Google accounts, just not gonna happen. Is there a way to do a background update of location info and publish it your own website for example? Or a system where I can suck it back out easily and map the results?
Another option is to geotag photos and publish them on Flickr. That works, but requires that I’m taking photos in order to update folks about where I am. Perhaps a cool addition, but doesn’t get to the root problem I’m trying to solve, which effectively comes down to passively instrumenting myself using my cell phone and publishing that info as realtime as possible online publicly. I’m sure I could knock together an Android app to do it pretty quickly, but I have to assume there’s something out there already.