Melbourne researchers have developed an open standard for embedding GPS coordinates in an SMS message.
The GeoSMS standard allowed users to transmit a location via SMS in a way that could be read by smartphone applications.
It was used in an Android application, 'I am here', created by RMIT that allowed senders to select locations from a map and receive locations either on a map or with compass and distance counters.
By making the open source code available online, researchers hoped that handset manufacturers and developers would build it into future devices and applications.
RMIT researcher Matthew Kwan said the standard could be used to find friends at festivals, order taxis, report crimes or find ATMs.
"Studies have shown that 'Where are you?' is the single most commonly sent SMS ," he said. "And if you've ever tried finding someone at a music festival you'd know that regular SMS doesn't really do the job."
"GeoSMS is an open standard so hopefully handset manufacturers will build it into their phones in future," he said.
"In the meantime, there's nothing to stop someone developing a commercial version for the iPhone or Nokia. In fact, we'd encourage it."