Like many stories at the moment about GPS, the author makes a few generalisations.

In the closing paragraphs, the BBC reporter Marc Cieslak notes

This location based technology does throw up the potential for annoying features however.

If retailers and marketing companies could have access to a user’s GPS location, targeted advertisements and updates relating to things like the nearest high street coffee shop chain could also start clogging up your phone’s screen.

Targeted location based advertising could indeed become an irritation. As could our friends and loved ones tracking our every movement.”

I am presuming Marc has not read my guest post over on which explains how GPS is not suitable for mobile advertising – specifically, we have unquestionably accepted the false assumption that location is really just about GPS (Global Positioning Systems) technology.

GPS is accurate – if used outdoors, if the user has it switched on, and if the handset has the capability. Since we cannot assume that these three key criteria are met, we cannot rely on mobile advertising based on GPS alone to deliver the best results.

Put simply, GPS is excellent for outdoor navigation, but severely challenged when used indoors. What’s more, the battery life of a mobile phone with the GPS turned on can be measured in single digit hours.

The rest of the Click article and story has a focus on the use of GPS for navigation, for which it is perfectly qualified.  Nokia’s recent release of their 6210 device, with a built in compass is targeted at pedestrian navigators, who will need the compass to point them in the right direction, as pedestrian speeds are sometimes too slow for the GPS to quickly work out which direction you are travelling in.

If we assume that most of the mobile advertising ideas are aimed at pedestrians in the vicinity of a shop with which they have a relationship (and therefore will be happy to receive a targeted ad), then the need for a compass in a pedestrian navigator points to one of the many problems that will face GPS implementations of push mobile advertising solutions.  Read my post on zone detection to understand how there really is a better way.