Microsoft Seeks Patent on Longitude/Latitude

Microsoft Seeks Patent on Longitude/Latitude

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

February 6th, 2005, 5:37 pm #1

Slashdot has got tongues wagging over what it considers in essence an attempt by Micosoft to patent latitude/longitude over the presentation of data. The problem Microsoft says is that latitude/longitude in URL’s can take up too many digits. In the example in its patent application it notes to get one meter accuracy, the URL would have to be 19 charcters (e.g., 122.12926,47.64932). As I understand it, Microsoft is proposing to shorten the notation to base-30 notations so that alphabetic characters could be used thus shortening the URL. Comments on slashdot note that Microsoft would have been better off to using base-60 notations (e.g., 60 minutes in a degree, etc.) to comments that if this was implemented Microsoft would have a proprietary method of interacting with maps.
http://americasroof.com/wp/archives/200 ... delatitude/
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Joined: January 20th, 2004, 9:10 pm

February 6th, 2005, 6:13 pm #2

Sounds fishy. Can't imagine anyone can patent a coordinate system. Maybe as proprietary if they come up with a unique system for software, but then who is going to use it? Base 30? Base 2 or any such power of 2, seems to make more sense. Not enough symbology for base 60 - unless we use the Mayan symbols, in which case that would be cool. Imagine the scenario: "Hello, 911, I'm injured high up on a mountain. My coordinates are: north line-line-sun-line-three dots, west 2 lines-one dot-setting moon".
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

February 6th, 2005, 8:47 pm #3

I had listed the <a href=http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Par ... 24">patent request</a> on the blog it entry (the blog entries usually have more stuff). So it's real.

One other item interesting in the slashdot discussion was that by incorporating alpha keys into the longitude/latitude you conceivably could come up with obscene locations.

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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

February 7th, 2005, 3:36 am #4

Once upon 10 years ago or so when I set up my original highpoint list, I extrapolated longitude/latitude from the Microsoft Expedia Map URL. For instance the Everest URL is

http://www.expedia.com/pub/agent.dll?qs ... 7746517414&

From that you can see that latitude
27.980665215563927

Longitude:
86.92149463948968

The above URL has 18 digits for just latitude alone (if I counted correctly)

In any event you could take the map info, parse it and drop it into virtually all map programs.

However Expedia has changed. If you look now for Mount Everest, the new URL is:
http://www.expedia.com/pub/agent.dll?tp ... rfrr=-6600

It's impossible parse that.

Nothing is free at Microsoft.
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Joined: January 20th, 2004, 9:10 pm

February 7th, 2005, 2:21 pm #5

From that you can see that latitude
27.980665215563927

Longitude:
86.92149463948968


Assuming dd.dddd, the above coordinates go out 15 and 14 decimal places, respectively. Given roughly 70 miles to each degree latitude, even four decimal place 'accuracy' will mark one's position down to less than 10 feet. Another 10 decimal places gets one down to the atomic level!
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

February 7th, 2005, 10:36 pm #6

The subatomic level address for URL apparently is Microsoft's proprietary address for Everest. If you trim the coordinates back to 4 decimals (as you easily do with topozone) with Microsoft Expediamap the URL will not work (and did not work before). If you even changed the last subatomic digit even on point the URL would not work. So you could say that Microsoft has its own proprietary addresses for mountains. I knew they were into world domination but little did I know they were sending geeks with atomic calculators to summits too!
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