Geotagging through Asterisk?

Between telemarketers annoying me into getting my upgrade to Asterisk 1.6 finished and the hasty long-overdue road-trip back to and from Idaho again, I’m reminded of an idea that has been fluttering around in the back of my head, not unlike a small bat in the top of a bell tower.

My vast hordes of cult-like fans always seem to want to know where I am. This is obviously an issue in a case where I’m going to be driving 1600 miles, then turning around and driving back, over the span of 4-6 days. It would be pretty easy to set up something on a web page somewhere with some kind of map. The real problem is – how do I update the map?

In some places, I could stop for a while, haul out Igor, boot up, find a public wireless network connection to the internet, and do the update that way. However, that’s time-consuming and awkward, and I want to get this trip successfully completed as quickly as I can. Plus, it’s not always easy to find public network access points, especially through the barren, windy, snowdrift-covered wastelands of Southern Wyoming where a chunk of my route will take me. I have a hypothetical solution, however…

I have a working Asterisk box…and while there are a number of places where the cellphone reception goes away, cellphone access is a lot more ubiquitous than internet access. Here’s what I’m thinking:

I want to try to set up a simple Asterisk application that’ll allow me to dial in, and then key in my latitude and longitude (which I can just read off of my handy little GPS unit). Hypothetically, I can even have it record a voice message afterwards pretty easily – I’m pretty sure I remember seeing a built-in function for that. Then, the application takes the latitude and longitude and automatically turns it into a map (this could be something as simple as generating a Google Maps URL or something as complex as sending a Twitter or Laconica update while generating an embedded map showing the location and a download link and/or embedded audio player where one could get to the automatically geostring-tagged audio file for live updates (which one might get through an RSS feed)…

Does anyone out there care? Assuming I can get it working, I’d be willing to share what I come up with…

(As always, ideas are welcome…)

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The Author is (currently) an autodidactic student of Industrial and Environmental microbiology, who is sick of people assuming all microbiology should be medical in nature, and who would really like to be allowed to go to graduate school one of these days now that he's finished his BS in Microbiology (with a bonus AS in Chemistry). He also enjoys exploring the Big Room (the one with the really high blue ceiling and big light that tracks from one side to the other every day) and looking at its contents from unusual mental angles.

4 thoughts on “Geotagging through Asterisk?”

  1. We’d like to know where you are. Don’t you remember answering the questions—Where are you going? and when will you be back?

    Have you forgotten everything?

    When are you celebrating Christmas?

  2. I can’t remember if I’ve forgotten everything or not…

    I’ll celebrate christmas once I’ve successfully made the 3200-mile round trip and returned alive and well…

  3. Just be sure to check the weather reports. It’s been a tad more winterish than usual up here in the upper left corner the last few weeks. Places that don’t normally get snow with 40cm or more, and places that do normally get snow…

    Anyway, drive safely!

    — MarkusQ

  4. Thanks – I’m trying. Right now it says the my route is closed in Wyoming, but it’s I-80 and that’s still very early. Hopefully road conditions will have improved substantially by the time I get there (in 7-8 hours).

    Aside from the hideous wind that always seems to pick up to ridiculous levels whenever I try to get to or from Idaho (and the blowing snow that accompanies it) it LOOKS like the weather shouldn’t be too bad so long as I can get through the barren wastelands of southern Wyoming quickly enough.

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