FOAM: Decentralized GPS Through Proof of Location

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The Future of Location

FOAM is a decentralized platform that is committed to building spatial standards, protocols, and applications that bring geospatial data to blockchains and empower a consensus driven map of the world. They believe that people should be in charge of their own personal information, and decide whether or not to disclose their location. With the utilization of the Crypto Spatial Coordinate standard, and the Spatial Index visual block explorer, they make up the essential parts of their core system for a Proof of Location.


FOAM focuses on inverting the current market for geospatial data, which depends on the general collection of information for resale, by making a new location market that proposes an improved security model. Proof of Location enables users to privately record authenticated location data whenever they want and reveal their information whenever they want by making a fraud-proof location claim.


Benefits of the FOAM Proof of Location include being:

  • Trustless: Byzantine fault tolerant clock synchronization
  • Open: Anyone can offer utility services or utilize the network
  • Incentivized: Users are rewarded for extending localization and verification zones
  • Independent: Does not need to depend on GPS
  • Accountable: Fraud proofs are verified, and honest behavior is ensured through economic structures

What are Crypto-Spatial Coordinates?

Crypto-Spatial Coordinates is the open and practical location standard for Ethereum smart contracts. At the moment, there are no standards for physical addresses, coordinates, or embedded locations in smart contracts. The CSC by FOAM is the foundation for creating this shared location standard, enabling any smart contract to establish an unchangeable claim to an address on the blockchain and a corresponding location on the map.

Although there are a few existing ways to document location data such as latitude and longitude, and the recent geohash, it’s a known fact that a majority of the world’s surface lacks an address, and this chart above shows the a direct comparison for the different methods of documenting location data. FOAM is pushing CSC because it is a location standard for blockchain applications that is open source and free so that users can link offline spaces to online assets securely.

Check out the full explanation here!

What is the Spatial Index?

The Spatial Index is a general purpose blockchain explorer that serves as the facade for any decentralized application with the need to visualize smart contracts on a map. Taking the Crypto-Spatial Coordinates that were mentioned earlier, they allow the blockchain to act as an index of spatial contracts and thus allow those contracts to be questioned and shown on the Spatial Index.

This application is open-source, and enables users to understand, engage, interact with, and act on Crypto-Spatial Coordinate Contracts and serve as the foundation for a myriad of decentralized applications that can be stacked on top of FOAM’s protocols.

The term is expanded upon here.

How does it Work?

Proof of Location utilizes Zone Anchors, which are distributed beacons with radio transceivers. The initial steps for joining this network involves connecting on of these Zone Anchors. This system relies on synchronized clocks, where these anchors send messages until a consensus is reached. Once they are synchronized, these groups of anchors can establish a Zone, which pledges to give location services that are enforced by smart contract safety deposits. Finally, Zones include time stamped messages from customers in a competitive market for a transaction fee, while these Zones are resynchronizing clocks and publishing their time logs to a data store. Validators provide fraud-proofs, and constant triangulation is calculated to verify the final presence claims.

zone anchor 1.JPG zone anchor 2.JPG DIAGRAM 5.gif

How can it Change the Industry?

With the GPS being a centralized system, it comes with its own susceptibilities. It can be argued that it is a very reliable system, reliable to the point where everyone has collectively depended on it on the go-to location-based system. The GPS has its own flaws, including:

  • It being centralized; a single point of failure
  • Urban density can cause an increase in signal multipath
  • It is susceptible to signal jamming
  • It does not penetrate well indoors or underground
  • A GPS receiver can be deceived through spoofing, (sending false coordinates to the system)
  • Energy intensive parts are not suitable for devices with long maintenance cycles
The GPS isn’t suitable for applications that are blockchain based, and require a precise pinpointed location. Proof of Location on the other hand can give consensus on whether an agent or event is at a certain point in time and space through the use of Zone Anchors.

What is its Current State?

  • Check out this article by FOAM’s Ilya Ostrovskiy on Exploring Ethereum Storage Costs with the FOAM Developer Tools here!

Project Details

Project Name: FOAM
Telegram: Chatroom link
Gitter: Chatroom link

All images are courtesy of FOAM.

This post was authored by @twotoedsloth.

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