The Manning Early Access Program, or MEAP, is a program that allows you to purchase an electronic copy of a book even before it is published. This allows readers to participate in the development of the book's content. You will of course receive the final version of the book when it goes gold. I recently got my hands on a copy of the MEAP book, Location Aware Applications. At the time of this post, only 50% of the book has been completed. So here are my early impression of this upcoming title.
GPS and many other devices are becoming ubiquitous features in cellular phones. The availability of maps and APIs to access geospatial data are plenty. There is also increasing effort in making data open and linked, providing a multitude of information that can be consumed, meshed and presented to the mobile user. Thus it is no surprise that a lot of software developers (or not) are looking into making use of location-based information, hoping to spin some big bucks out of technology.
If you are one of them, then this book might be for you. The authors provide a very good introduction for someone looking for headway into developing location-based, location-aware applications. Part 1 is a comprehensive overview of the history and development of LBS technologies and is very informative for newcomers. The beginning four chapters will also be a good refresher for experienced GIS developers or geeks, so you might want to quickly glance through so that you are kept at the forefront of development. In chapters 3 and 4, the authors survey a broad range of content and mapping APIs with sample codes to showcase how they can be used. And this is a first I have seen: at the end of each code sample, the authors provide somewhat like a pseudocode to describe the program flow. This is very effective and helpful in understanding how the code works.
I do hope though that the authors might consider adding some introduction to LinkedData and the Semantic Web, and how these novel developments might help spur more LBS applications.
That's it for now. I will update this post as more chapters are completed in the coming weeks/months. Stay tuned, or if you can't wait, grab a MEAP copy now! This book is available either from Manning or Amazon.