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Old 01-17-2011, 02:06 AM   #1
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Location awareness!

I love Fuelly's mobile web interface, which I use to record my fuel-ups from my smartphone. Here's an enhancement that I believe many users would appreciate: location-awareness (taking advantage of ubiquitous mobile GPS and cell network geolocation).

This would allow us to keep track of /where/ we fuel up, and might also allow Fuelly to generate some interesting statistics concerning fuel price distribution and geographical distribution of fuel efficiency.

In modern browsers it's remarkably easy to use the location-aware browsing API. Mozilla's website gives a nice brief introduction to how to write location-gathering JavaScript code: http://hacks.mozilla.org/2009/06/geolocation/

Of course, some users might not want to give their location to Fuelly, so this future should be opt-in, and Firefox, Chrome, and the Android/iPhone mobile browsers are all pretty good about explicitly requiring user permission to share location.

It seems like it would be relatively easy to code Fuelly to start gathering location data, and maybe you could figure out more interesting things to do with that data down the road...
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Old 01-17-2011, 02:11 AM   #2
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We've already been doing this on iPhones for years, and we haven't yet found a good way to use the data. We thought exactly the same thing you did—that we would eventually come up with some interesting statistics. But we haven't found the compelling argument for it yet.

We're still gathering the data for those who want to participate. (You get a prompt when adding a fuel-up if you'd like to send your location to Fuelly.) But we're not sure we're going to keep asking for that data. It's a slight annoyance to click that participation prompt each time, and we're not doing anything with the data.
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Old 01-17-2011, 03:46 AM   #3
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Ah I was going to ask if my iPhone does send it when I hit yes. Lol.
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:44 AM   #4
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Interesting to hear it's already being done! But only on iPhone, not on Android or other mobile browsers? I just tried spoofing the iPhone's user-agent string and visiting m.fuelly.com, and didn't get any location-awareness pop-up...

One use that I just thought of involves correlating MPG changes with temperature changes, to try and figure out how much worse fuel efficiency *really* is in the winter?
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:58 AM   #5
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It could be that your device doesn't support navigator.geolocation.getCurrentPosition. We serve it on the new fuel-up page if the user-agent contains "iPhone".

Like I said, we're considering turning that off so I'm not sure it makes sense to expand it to other user-agents. We'll give it some more thought. I think there could be some interesting data points to pull out, but fuel economy is fairly complex with dozens of contributing factors. I'm not sure lon/lat + MPG is enough to find meaningful stats.
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Old 01-21-2011, 09:34 AM   #6
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Might be nice to see my price/gallon based on where I fill up. I'm also about to drive from San Francisco to Toronto and it would be nice for Fuelly to track where I'm filling up automatically.
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Old 01-23-2011, 07:51 AM   #7
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The only way I could see the data being useful is if you had a database that mapped GPS coordinates to actual gas stations. Then you could compile a list of gas stations with the current price.
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Old 01-24-2011, 03:32 AM   #8
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Yeah, that would be interesting. Unfortunately I don't know of any service where you can send a lon/lat and get back a business that's at those coordinates.

Gas Buddy does gas prices in the US, and I bet they have a database like this. But it's a key part of their business so probably not something they want to open up to the world. Maybe a partnership with someone like Gas Buddy would work—they'd get lots of new gas price reporters that way.
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Old 01-31-2011, 04:46 AM   #9
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pb, I agree that it sounds like a pretty natural, useful, and mutually beneficial idea to partner with GasBuddy
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:16 PM   #10
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It would be nice if I could enter the brand of petrol or the name of the petrol station, then the next time I filled up at the same GPS location it would default to the same brand. That way, I could see if different brands of petrol gave me different MPG.
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