Location-aware computing is a form of context-aware mobile computing, that refers to the ability of providing users with services that depend on their position. Locating the user terminal, often said positioning, is essential in this form of computing. To this aim, several technologies exist, ranging from personal area networking, to indoor, outdoor and up to geographic area systems. Developers of location-aware software applications have to face with a number of design choices, that typically depend on the chosen technology. This work addresses the problem of easing the development of pull location-aware applications, by allowing uniform access to multiple heterogeneous positioning systems. To this aim, the paper proposes an approach to structure location-aware mobile computing systems in a way independent of positioning technologies. The approach consists in structuring the system into a layered architecture, that provides application developers with a standard Java Application Programming Interface (JSR-179 API), and encapsulates location data management and technology-specic positioning subsystems into lower layers with clear interfaces. In order to demonstrate the proposed approach we present the development of HyLocSys. It is an open hybrid software architecture designed to support indoor/outdoor applications, that allows the uniform (combined or separate) use of several positioning technologies. HyLocSys uses a hybrid data model, which allows the integration of symbolic and geometric coordinates. It allows to support handset- and infrastructure- based positioning approaches respecting the privacy of user. The paper presents a prototypal implementation of HyLocSys for heterogeneous scenarios. It has been implemented and tested on several platforms and mobile devices.
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