Google Maps mashups are always fun, and there’s a new one that seems a bit like Twittervision by letting you send an SMS with your location. GeoSMS is a site that lets you send a text message to their number, along with a message of some sort, and they overlay this on a Google Map.
Participating is as simple as sending an SMS to +7909 9213670. Note that while this may be an international number for you, it is not a premium rate number, so your standard SMS rate will apply. All messages that are received are displayed on the Google Map, and update in near-real time.
To show your location, your first SMS should begin with *yourlocation* (i.e. *Fort Worth, TX*) followed by whatever message you want to send. After the initial SMS, there is no need for the location tag, as the system will recognize your mobile number. You can also send an SMS with only your location to update the system, if needed.
All that’s neat, but the REALLY cool part is when you access the WAP-site on your mobile. There is a box to type in your mobile number, and, assuming you’ve updated the system with your location at least once, the site will show you all the messages within a 20km radius of your location.
So how is this useful, beyond novelty? It’s somewhat like having Location-Based Services without GPS, on any mobile handset. Especially through the WAP site, the system could easily be used to connect with people locally. One use that immediately struck me is finding a specific type of business, such as a restaurant or nightclub. These businesses could also broadcast an SMS using this system to draw in local users. An SMS sent periodically from a night club owner’s handset that says “Drink specials tonight, $1 wells” followed by the name of the club and perhaps an address would allow users within a 20km radius easily find the club, and draw in more customers.
What do you think about mashups such as GeoSMS? What other uses can you think of?