web developer FAQ

How Do I Location-Enable My Website on the iPhone?

Easy. There are two APIs, so you can pick the one that's most appropriate for your use case.

Redirector: If you have a page that can take latitude/longitude parameters in its URL, just create a link in the format The myURL part can be any URL you want (be sure to encode it properly, or use this simple encoder). Use the special character sequences @lat@ and @long@ anywhere in your URL and they will be automatically replaced by the user's location, provided he or she is using the service. If not, or if for some reason the service can't determine his or her location, the @lat@ and @long@ will be stripped out of the URL. For more details, here's a How-To guide.

W3C Geolocation API: You can also use the draft standard W3C Geolocation API for Javascript-based geolocation by adding some simple code to your page. If you include a <script type="text/javascript" src=""></script> tag in your document, you'll have access to a global variable called Locatable that implements the API defined in the spec. Here's an example to get you started.

Do I Need To Register My Site?
No. This is an open service. However, if you've built a publicly available location-enabled site that you'd like us to highlight, we'd love to know about it for our featured sites page. Send us an email (link below).

What Are Your Terms of Service?
Um, try not to piss people off. If you do, they'll stop allowing you to see their location. Beyond that, we expect all sites that use the service to appropriately safeguard user location data — while the user may be willing to share it with you, they have not opted in to let you share it with third parties. Also, if we are notified of any sites using the service that are promoting illegal activities or doing other very bad things, we reserve the right to permanently ban those domains from the service at our sole discretion.

Are You Going To Charge For This?
This is a tricky question and has a lot to do with predicting the future, but here's what we'll say for now: (1) The service will always be free for noncommercial use. (2) If we do need to start charging for certain uses, we'll give at least 30 days advance notice. The whole point is to add value to your site, so we want to work out how to best do that and still pay for things like hosting and bits of data over the network (unfortunately, they make us pay for both the ones and the zeros).

I Want To Learn More...
You might want to follow the developer blog for updates on new releases, API tips and related discussion. Feel free to post your own comments any time.

I Have A Suggestion...
We'd love to hear it! You can reach Tralfamadore headquarters by sending email.

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