August 20,2002 Webraska, has announced that it has been awarded two new patents by the U.S. Patent Office.
The first patent covers Auto Location Refinement (ALR), one of Webraska’s core technologies to increase ease-of-use of LBS applications. The patent covers the process by which a user can refine his or her approximate location provided by network-based automatic positioning technologies.
According to the FCC’s E911 mandate, wireless carriers in the US must be able to automatically locate their subscribers within 100 meters, 67% of the time, and within 300 meters, 95% of the time.
The invention describes a “method, system, and article of manufacture that enable user-aided refinement of position estimates obtained through the wireless network or handset”. The set of street names within an area surrounding the user’s estimated position is extracted from a digital map database. The size and shape of the area are parameters of the wireless location technology used. This list of street names can be presented to the user for selection or can be used as a reduced vocabulary for voice recognition or recognition of entered text. After selecting a street name, an address or intersecting street name may be used to provide further position refinement.
This technology can be used for many applications for which a more precise position is required. Other examples are location-based category searches such as Yellow Pages applications, Buddy Finder applications, or storage of the current location for possible future use by other applications.
The US patent for IbDN applies to Webraska’s technology for delivering low-cost, server-based, real-time, turn-by-turn navigation and fleet management solutions on wireless PDAs, car radios and other embedded terminals. IbDN is already the subject of a patent awarded by the European Patent Office covering 18 European Countries.