steve at dimse.com
Fri Oct 17 07:00:14 CDT 2008
I think it is important to keep in mind it is not your own license
that is at risk. When you create an APRS IS based service that results
in RF transmission, it is the licenses of the hundreds of IGate
operators on the line. This concern affected the design of the APRS
IS, we strove for features that everyone would feel comfortable
providing through their transmitters. That is why, for example, there
is no email to RF gateway.
You cannot know the situations of every IGate operator. I might well
own Steve's Pizzeria. If someone searches for food and Google returns
my restaurant, the message plugging it mould be transmitted through my
own IGate, certainly a violation of the rules. Not a problem for you,
you didn't transmit. A problem for me, and I'd be very unhappy if it
happened, even if the FCC didn't find out about it.
The other legal problem is the section on alternative services.
Prohibited transmissions include "communications, on a regular basis,
which could reasonably be furnished alternatively through other radio
services." Personally I consider this to be an obsolete rule, and I
wish the FCC would remove it. There is almost nothing done on ham
radio that would not meet this definition today. They haven't removed
it though, it is on the books, and while I have no trouble taking the
risk for my own transmissions, I'd hesitate before risking hundreds of
others. At least we can say when we created internet to mobile
messaging there was no alternative available, you can't say that about
Legal issues aside though, this last one is where I see a real limit
on your audience. Your proposed services are readily available today.
Everyone with a Blackberry or an iPhone already has access to far
superior features. I turn on my iPhone, click the map icon (the GPS
automatically fires up and finds my exact position, if it can't find a
signal it uses the cell towers to get a position good to a mile or
two). I type hospital or pizza or whatever, labeled map pins drop on
the map, I pick the one I want, an info page comes up describing the
business. One more click and the phone is dialing, at the business'
web site, or ready with turn by turn directions.
Yes, not everyone has these high end features, but you can bet they
will be trickling down to everyone's cell phone over the next few
years. Once someone sees this work they want it!
I'm not saying not to do it, only that you need to consider if the
benefits are worth the work and the risks to the IGate operators.
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