Geolocation Working Group Charter

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

Start date 18 April 2014
End date 30 April 2017 (extended from 31 December 2016)
Charter extension The charter extension history is documented in "About this charter"
Confidentiality Proceedings are public
Initial Chairs Giridhar Mandyam (Qualcomm Innovation Center)
Initial Team Contact Kazuyuki Ashimura (FTE %: 10)
Usual Meeting Schedule Teleconferences: as needed
Face-to-face: 2-3 per year


The number of Web enabled devices that are location-aware has increased markedly as of late. Such devices include mobile phones with cell triangulation or Global Positioning System (GPS) capabilities, laptops with Wi-Fi triangulation capabilities and GPS receivers. The Geolocation WG was 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 Geolocation WG was created in September of 2008 and has since taken the Geolocation API to Recommendation status.

The objective of this Geolocation WG charter is to continue to work on access to the user's location information via standardized interfaces with mechanisms to obtain the user’s consent as needed. The Working Group's scope now includes the addition of geofencing capability, and the development of use cases and requirements for indoor location enhancements to the Geolocation API.

Under the Working Group's first charter, the group developed the first version of the DeviceOrientation Event API. This new charter will allow the group to bring this API to Recommendation status as well as work on additional new deliverables.

The Working Group will continue development of Recommendation Track documents that define interfaces for making location information available within the User-Agent. These interfaces should be usable regardless of the source of location information, and should be consistent across location technologies.

The Working Group will determine use cases the interfaces need to support and use these to derive requirements. Requirements for security and privacy protection must be included.

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.

Success Criteria


Recommendation Track Deliverables

The Working Group will deliver the following documents:

  • Geolocation API Level 2 as Recommendation, a Recommendation Track document that adds geofencing functionality to the initial API, and works better with other Web APIs
  • Device Orientation Event Specification as Recommendation, a document that specifies a means for a web application to obtain information about physical orientation of the host device.
  • Other Deliverables

    The Working Group will develop and publish use cases and requirements.

    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: See changes from this initial schedule on the group home page.
    Specification FPWD LC CR PR Rec
    Device Orientation Events Q2 2011 Q2 2014 Q4 2014 Q2 2015 Q3 2015
    Geolocation API Level 2 (Geofencing) Q2 2014 Q1 2015 Q3 2015 Q2 2016 Q2 2016

    Dependencies and Liaisons

    Liaisons with W3C Groups

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

    Device APIs Working Group
    The DAP Working Group is responsible for other device APIs. DAP should review the Geolocation API documents in order to maintain consistency between Geolocation and other device APIs.
    System Applications Working Group
    The System Applications Working Group is responsible for developing other device APIs executed in a privileged environment. SysApps should review the Geolocation API documents to ensure they apply correctly in that environment.
    Web Applications Working Group
    The Web Applications Working Group is responsible for core Web APIs, and thus may provide valuable feedback on our documents. It also develops WebIDL which the Geolocation deliverables will rely on to define their interfaces.
    Technical Architecture Group
    The TAG and participants in the Geolocation WG have discussed the privacy aspects of the Geolocation API v1, and will likely continue to do so going forward.
    Privacy Interest Group (PING)
    As sharing location information has a direct impact on users’ privacy, the Geolocation Working Group intends to secure reviews on its deliverables from the Privacy Interest Group to ensure they offer the right level of protection to users.
    Web Security Interest Group
    The Geolocation Working Group intends to secure reviews on its deliverables from the Web Security Interest Group to ensure they offer the right level of security.
    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.

    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 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

    On 12 August 2014, the Team Contact was changed from Dominique Hazael-Massieux to Kazuyuki Ashimura, and Jinsong Wang is no longer Team Contact.

    This charter for the Geolocation Working Group has been created according to section 5.2 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 replaces the previous Geolocation Working Group charter.


    Kazuyuki Ashimura, <ashimura@w3.org>, Team Contact

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