The vision of the MyGeoTrust project is to create an alternative location platform for mobile users which allows users to enjoy the benefits of location technologies without sacrificing their privacy.
According to the Project Manager Robert Guinness MyGeoTrust is an ambitious project with true potential to revolutionize the market of crowdsourced mobile data.
“We want to demonstrate that the contributors to this data, which means smartphone users, can and should remain in control of their personal data. We plan to show that there is an alternative to the closed model of large tech companies by opening up the ecosystem of crowdsourced mobile data, while preserving personal privacy and user trust.”
MyGeoTrust is a Finland-based research project being carried out by a small consortium of research organizations. It is led by the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute, and the second consortium member is the University of Helsinki, specifically the Faculty of Law. Funding support is provided by Tekes.
“We don’t have a commercial focus, as we are a government-owned research organisation, but we do believe that our platform will benefit Finnish companies and companies around the world. Our primary goal is to help the smartphone users and consumers to enhance the level of control that they have over their privacy. The second goal is to be a trusted partner in the exchange of information from mobile phones to businesses.”
More responsibility needed
Guinness says that currently companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft are collecting data from millions of mobile phone and tablet users, including location data.
“From the user perspective it’s like a black box as far as what data is being collected and who has access to it. Some companies make claims that they take privacy very seriously and with the user in mind, but when you start to look into detail how their technologies operate, there’s a lot of room for improvement. We aim to change this situation by showing that there is a more responsible way to crowdsource mobile data.”
Business benefits from location based intelligence
The MyGeoTrust project wants to benefit companies as well.
“We want to support various companies with location-based intelligence and analysis. I would say any company that needs to utilize some kind of location intelligence can benefit from the MyGeoTrust platform. In the next phase of the project, we will be offering companies API’s (application programming interfaces) to access data products that the MyGeoTrust platform generates, and we will open up the MyGeoTrust location technology to third-party developers to make their own mobile apps.”
Guinness gives an example. “Let’s say you’re an entrepreneur who wants to start up a coffee shop in the Helsinki area. Having information about where people normally drink coffee or do other relevant kinds of activities can truly benefit your business concept planning.”
Apps help to demonstrate the idea
As the project was started in March 2015, it is still in the early phases. “We have big plans, but every big change starts from small beginnings. We will demonstrate a new way of crowdsourcing by offering three innovative apps that follow the MyGeoTrust model. We call them keystone apps. The first app is called HelloMyGeoTrust, which will demonstrate the features of the MyGeoTrust platform. The second is called #hylo (Hyperlocal), which will focus on location-based information sharing to support local communities. The third app will focus on indoor navigation, which means how to navigate and provide different services in indoor spaces like shopping malls.”
Text: Mia Heiskanen
Stay tuned for more information on MyGeoTrust at mygeotrust.org
Twitter: Follow @mygeotrust