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What is this "Gemba" Stuff?

"Gemba" is a name given to our location aware applications and related supporting libraries.

Gemba Map Viewer: is an application designed to allow the user to browse maps on their PC, and track current location automatically. We are also building location logging, and other interesting features.  Gemba Map Viewer was designed primarily for testing the Gemba libraries, but will be released as a separate application for end users as well.

Can't I just use Google Maps, etc.?

Yes, you can, but those services only work online. Google's terms of service also state that off-line caching isn't allowed, and non-web-browser usage is also not allowed.  (This isn't entirely Google's fault, as they don't own most of the map data). We get around this limitation by using map data from the OSM (Open Street Map) project instead. With Gemba, once you have viewed a particular map tile, it is stored locally in the tile cache, and can be used offline. Location tracking also works offline thanks to PlaceEngine's offline mode. This means you can have a full tracking system that works when there is no (or limited) internet connectivity.

Further, the Map Viewer is just one sample application.  We plan on developing and releasing other location oriented applications in the future.

Why didn't you use SkyHook, Google's Location API, or Apple's CoreLocation?

CoreLocation is an option, however, it is only available on Mac OS X.  The other two basically only work online.  Also, PlaceEngine has good coverage in many countries. We are considering adding Locky support in the future (and caching the results locally), but they mainly only cover Japan.  Since we want to give end users the most fool-proof location detection system, we are looking into implementing other methods, such as OpenCellID, IP GeoLocation, and more.  However, WiFi is in general the most accurate non-GPS location system available at the moment for an average PC.