Moz Stumbler and Mozilla location services

I learnt about this new thing back in the Mozilla Summit, a little more than a week away.

The project goals are better detailed in their site and the wiki, but basically they aim to determine if it’s feasible to provide location service data, which is something only a “privileged few” can do right now.

At this stage the project needs real data to start with, and so they’ve got a very simple app for collecting it, called MozStumbler, and a leaderboard to encourage you to “compete” and gather more data. There are some stats too.

moz stumbler app

This is totally experimental, and, as they said, “not as pretty as Ingress… yet”, but if you want to contribute you just need to download the MozStumbler app and start walking around. Then press “Stop” to upload when you’re done. A word of warning: since this is super beta, make sure you’ve got a data connection when you press Stop or you might not get your data uploaded 😛

The map shows pretty sparse regions, so what about each one of you join in and help fill in the gaps? 🙂

moz stumbler map

Or you could also join in and help with some Android code!

Update: Forgot to mention that there’s also an API you can access. So the data comes in, but it can also come out 🙂

I might be weird but I find this project quite enjoyable. There’s a certain thrill about walking around and seeing the number of scanned locations and wi-fi access points grow…

8 Replies to “Moz Stumbler and Mozilla location services”

  1. is this not exactly what Google got in trouble for when inadvertently collecting open Wi-Fi data whilst building Google maps?

  2. @pd No, what Google was doing was that it was using it’s own street view cars and sniffed packages that where available on open networks including passwords, session cookies, and other personal details. The deal hear was that Google didn’t just listen to the router broadcasting it’s AP name and MAC address (which is considered public data according to EU and US law), but it that it intercepted communication between the APs and the clients connecting to it (that’s why they got wiretapping charges). It’s not only not the “same” it’s totally the other way around.

    As @sole can confirm MozStumbler just picks up the location and the MAC address of the visible WiFi’s (public data), furthermore… client side and server side MozStumbler has several filters to protect privacy.

    To be honest, if I would trust anyone with my location data I’d prefer a non-profit like Mozilla than any for profit entity.

  3. Is it really opened ? I mean will it be possible to download the raw data and database or will it be opened only through an API access ?

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