What started out as an attempt to map the Sydney Wireless project nodes in Sydney Australia, ballooned quickly into a world wide mapping service for locations the world over. NodeDB.com is essentially a site where people can go to list their location and information about access points or fixed client connections, so others about can easily locate them based on a geographic directory service. It isn't, strictly speaking, a service to upload wardriving data to, Wifimaps.com is more suitable, as mapping wardriven locations is the goal of their project.
How much does it cost to list?
Short answer, it's free for everyone, indirectly however we are funded by dontations and sponsors (as seen at the top of the page). Advertising and sponsorships helps both this project and the wireless community in general. If you wish to help this project, feel free to get in contact with me about donating hardware and/or wireless gear, both will gratefully appreciated.
So how do I make use of NodeDB.com?
Firstly, due to recent changes you now need to have an account in the system, by clicking register in the menus along the header, will allow you to easily create and account so you can then start adding your location or locations to the system and any useful information about them, such as antenna description and pictures, SSID of the AP, even URLs to the usage policy of your location.
Then you navigate the site, browsing between countries and regions, towns and cities in that country till you find the most suitable location that covers your current site or sites. You will need to login (also shown in the header) which will then show up the link to create a new listing for the area chosen.
Fill in as much or as little as you like, some fields, such as GPS co-ordinates are mandatory, then simply click "Create new entry".
What if I can't find a suitable location to list myself?
There is a New Area page setup to handle requests for areas not currently listed.
So who's allowed to list?
Basically anyone, the site was originally developed for community groups to map out their locations, however as time has passed myself and others often get asked about where to go to get internet access, since not all groups or individuals are in a position (or even in a location) to cover all areas, commercial hotspot providers were encouraged to list themselves. The other benefit from having everyone list themselves is it can be a useful tool to track down possible sources of interference, saving some people and providers a lot of headaches and time finding and fixing the fault. The only stipulation on Commercial providers is that they MUST indicate the location is a commercial site however, this is a simple drop down in the node details.
So who's doing all this?
While it originally started out as a part of the SydneyWireless project, it has since been completely separated to try and be autonomous in it's own right. While afliatations with groups world wide occur, things are attepted to be kept as independant as possible from politics.
Is the source code available?
(following was written by the FindU.com website author, for FindU.com website, a HAM mapping site. However this is the exact feeling of those that have contributed to the project, and couldn't have written it better if we tried.)
No. commercialization is the primary reason I've not open-sourced my code. I've gotten a surprising number of requests from persons inside the GIS industry to either give or sell them my code, or consult for them. After looking at a lot of the commercial systems, the entire APRS system really holds its own, and on many counts including (in-my-not-so-humble-opinion) findU, it is better than anything else out there. Winning the Earthlink AVL competition to me was objective confirmation of this opinion. If my code were GPL'ed, it would probably be used in commercial systems. I get my satisfaction from producing a useful system that does cool things, and letting people use it for free. I'm lucky enough not to need to charge for it, and I wouldn't like to see other people making money from my efforts either.
I had expected that the Linux Lunacy Geek Cruise I went on last October would convince me once and for all of the benefits of free (as in speech) software. In fact, it had the opposite effect...I spent a lot of time with the infamous RMS (Richard Stallman, president of the Free Software Foundation) since we ate dinner at the same six person table. Let's just say the discussion was as enjoyable as, and far spicier than, the Holland America food! After all the arguments and much contemplation, I've come to agree with the also infamous ESR (Eric Raymond, also on the cruise, talk about storm-at-sea!), that RMS and FSF are seeking power, not freedom. Software is a creative work (RMS agrees), the disposition of which rightfully belongs in the hands of the creator or their employer (RMS turns red and starts screaming, because useful creations like a home improvement TV show, how-to book, or software program, morally belong to the collective). I believe the decision to donate code to the public good is an altruistic act, not a moral imperative, and a choice deserving admiration, not expectation.
My choice for now is to keep control of the code, and provide a service to the community for free (as in beer!). Not a purely altruistic decision, but the one I am most comfortable with. In the event I someday lose interest in findU, it will be passed to someone else for development.