G is for geolocation


This post is part of a continuing series, “Digital: from A to Z,” that explores what it means to be “digital” from A to Z, broken down into individual blog posts diving deeper into various subjects. Check back regularly to see continuing posts as I work my way through the alphabet and let me know: What’s in your A to Z of digital? You can find me on twitter @Max_Hemingway or leave a comment below.

The ability to track items and devices is a common technology these days with the prime example being a mobile phone, from being able to pin-point a device using triangulation of cell towers being developed to onboard GPS passing location details into applications.

Geolocation provides one of the backbone services of digital and IoT (Internet of Things): being able to track an item or triggering things to happen at certain locations (see Automating leaving a geolocation area).

An example of an application using geolocation is Google. Having Google Maps installed on your mobile device and being signed in allows your location to be tracked. This has the advantages of providing related services:

  • Traffic reports
  • Weather reports
  • Location reviews
  • Local photos
  • Events in the location

A new Location Sharing tool allows family members to share their locations with each other. There is also the ability to upload photos of locations based on the GPS-tagged information that can be added to the photo when taken.

Location-based events can also be triggered using beacons (such as Estimote Beacons) set in locations that can be triggered using applications such as Google or Physical Web. An example of this are beacons placed in a shopping mall by shops providing offers and discounts to those with the applications running, or using the beacons to track shoppers around the shop to identify browsing and buying patterns.

Leisure-based activities and gaming are making use of geolocation with the ability to find things such as Geocaches, which have been around since May 30, 2000. Geocaching has evolved to using additional beacons (such as Chirp) and GPS location tools to provide a popular game with over 2.5 million caches and 10 million registered users located around the world.

Games such as Pokemon Go use location and mapping to show Pokemon, Pokestops and Gyms in your area.

With all services, there are opt-out options in the applications to not be tracked or not give out your location; however, as we move to a more social and digital society, does opting out mean you’re missing out on services and information?

Join me next time as I look at ‘H is for hearable’ in my Digital A-Z series.  See my last post, F is for fitness trackers.

This entry was originally posted in Max’s blog.

Max Hemingway is a senior architect for DXC in the United Kingdom. With more than 25 years of experience, he has a broad and deep range of technical knowledge and is able to translate business needs into IT-based solutions. Currently the chief architect of the BAE Systems account in the UK, Max has a proven track record acquired through continual client engagement and delivery of leading edge infrastructures, all of which have delivered positive results for end-clients, including IT cost reduction, expansion of service capability and increased revenues.


  1. […] Join me next time as I look at ‘I is for IoT’ in my Digital A-Z series.  See my last post, G is for geolocation. […]

  2. […] GPS to provide location […]

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