Geolocation Working Group Charter

NOTE: This charter has been supersceded by the new Geolocation WG charter.

The mission of the Geolocation Working Group, part of the Ubiquitous Web Applications Activity, is to define a secure and privacy-sensitive interface for using client-side location information in location-aware Web applications.

Join the Geolocation Working Group.

End date 30 June 2010
Confidentiality Proceedings are public
Initial Chairs Lars Erik Bolstad, Opera Software
Angel Machin,Vodafone
Initial Team Contact Matt Womer, W3C/ERCIM (FTE %: 20)
Usual Meeting Schedule Teleconferences: Weekly
Face-to-face: 3-4 per year


The number of Web enabled devices that are location-aware has increased markedly as of late. These devices are very common and include mobile phones with cell triangulation or Global Positioning System (GPS) capabilities, laptops with Wi-Fi triangulation capabilities and GPS receivers. The Geolocation WG is created in response to requests from the community for W3C to develop a standardized, secure and privacy-sensitive interface so that Web applications may gain access to location information.

The objective of this Geolocation WG charter is to enable Web access to the user's location information via a standardized interface or interfaces.

The Working Group will develop one or more Recommendation Track documents that define interfaces for making this information accessible within the User-Agent. The interface should be usable regardless of the source of location information, and should be consistent across location technologies. The interface may be specified in a language independent manner, the Recommendation will include a normative ECMAScript form.

In addition to the variety of techniques for determining location, there are also a variety of ways applications may wish to use that information. For example, applications may:

The Working Group will determine use cases the interface need support and use these to derive requirements. Requirements for security and privacy protection must be included. The use cases and requirements will be updated periodically and linked from the Working Group's home page. At the time of publication of Working Drafts of Recommendation Track documents, the current use cases and requirements will be included as an Appendix.

In addition, the Working Group may explore exposing location information via markup or sending it via HTTP headers.

Each Recommendation-track deliverable will have a comprehensive test suite, with a set of documented, functional tests for each assertion in the specification, before it becomes a Recommendation.

The Geolocation Working Group may wish to continue working on additional aspects of location-aware Web applications in future charters.

Success Criteria


Recommendation Track Deliverables

The Working Group will deliver the following documents:

Other Deliverables

The Working Group may also develop a primer, tutorial or other educational materials relating to Geolocation and the Web.

The Working Group will include in the Geolocation interface Recommendation an appendix that describes use cases and requirements for the interface.

The Working Group will develop a suite of tests and accompanying documentation that shall be used when determining if the implementation criteria for exiting Candidate Recommendation have been met, as mentioned above and in the W3C Process Document.


Note: The group will document significant changes from this initial schedule on the group home page. See milestone list on the Working Group homepage.
Specification FPWD LC CR PR Rec
Geolocation Interface Q3 2008 Q1 2009 Q2 2009 Q3 2009 Q4 2009

Timeline View Summary

The Working Group may be involved in Workshops, the details of which will be listed on the Working Groups home page as information becomes available.

Dependencies and Liaisons

Liaisons with W3C Groups

The Geolocation Working Group will request document reviews from the following groups:

Mobile Web Initiative Best Practices Working Group
The Mobile Web Initiative Best Practices Working Group is responsible for developing best practices for the Web that support an appropriate user experience on mobile devices. It is expected that these experiences would benefit from a standardized Geolocation interface.
Web Applications Working Group
The Web Applications Working Group is responsible for core Web APIs, and thus may provide valuable feedback on our documents. We also expect an overlap in members with this WG.
Ubiquitous Web Applications Working Group
The Ubiquitous Web Applications Working Group has explored interfaces and ontologies for sensors such as GPS receivers.
Internationalization Core Working Group
There are a number of internationalization issues that we expect might need review and addressing.
Web Security Context Working Group
The Web Security Context Working Group establishes practices for secure and usable information on the Web. Given the privacy and security concerns around location information, the Geolocation Working Group will be requesting feedback from the Web Security Context Working Group on a regular basis.
Hypertext Coordination Group
The Geolocation Working Group will participate in the Hypertext Coordination Group.
Web Accessibility Initiative
The Geolocation Working Group expects to work directly with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Working Group to ensure that any accessibility implications inherent to this work have been taken into account and addressed.
Semantic Web Interest Group
The Semantic Web Interest Group (SWIG) developed a Basic Geo Vocabulary, which was ultimately handed over to Geospatial Incubator Group.

Liaisons with External Groups

IETF GeoPriv Working Group
The IETF GeoPriv Working Group is working on the format, security/privacy implications, and protocols for exchanging geographic location information.
OMA Location Working Group
The Open Mobile Alliance subsumed the work done in the WAP Forum and the Location Interoperability Forum. The Location WG is developing specifications that "ensure interoperability of Mobile Location Services on an end-to-end basis".
Open Mobile Terminal Platform
OMTP is working on recommendations for "Positioning Enablers".
Liberty Alliance
The Liberty Alliance is working on a standard protocol for the exchange of geolocation information.
Open Geospatial Consortium
The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is an SDO focused on geospatial technologies, both on the Web and off. The OGC has a umber of Web related standards and specifications, including Web services for location based


To be successful, the Geolocation Working Group is expected to have 10 or more active participants for its duration. Effective participation to Geolocation Working Group is expected to consume one fifth of a full-time employee for each participant; two fifths of a full-time employee for editors. The Geolocation Working Group will allocate also the necessary resources for building Test Suites for each specification.

Participants are reminded of the Good Standing requirements of the W3C Process.


This group primarily conducts its technical work on the public mailing list at public-geolocation@w3.org (with an archive available).

There is also a member-only list to be used for administrative purposes at member-geolocation@w3.org (with an archive available). The member-only list may also be used, at the discretion of the Chair, for discussions in special cases when a member requests such a discussion.

Information about the group (deliverables, participants, face-to-face meetings, teleconferences, etc.) is available from the Geolocation Working Group home page.

Decision Policy

As explained in the Process Document (section 3.3), this group will seek to make decisions when there is consensus. When the Chair puts a question and observes dissent, after due consideration of different opinions, the Chair should record a decision (possibly after a formal vote) and any objections, and move on.

Patent Policy

This Working Group operates under the W3C Patent Policy (5 February 2004 Version). To promote the widest adoption of Web standards, W3C seeks to issue Recommendations that can be implemented, according to this policy, on a Royalty-Free basis.

For more information about disclosure obligations for this group, please see the W3C Patent Policy Implementation.

About this Charter

This charter for the Geolocation Working Group has been created according to section 6.2 of the Process Document. In the event of a conflict between this document or the provisions of any charter and the W3C Process, the W3C Process shall take precedence.

This charter was extended through 30 June 2010 on 21 April 2010.

Matt Womer, <mdw@w3.org>, Proposed Team Contact

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