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Location-based Service Applications

GPS Location-based Service ApplicationsLocation-based services (LBS) use a wireless network, such as a cellular phone network or a satellite network (such as Global Positioning System GPS), to determine the geographical position of a wireless device such as a cell phone or GPS receiver. The data is used to provide information related to the location and movement of the mobile device, the location and movement of another device, or the location of a known place.

Location-based services are used for navigation, location (find someone or something), information, people tracking, asset tracking, mobile marketing and advertising, and recreation.

Some popular applications for location-based services are:

  • Find the location of a business, house or person on a map
  • Request the location of the nearest business or service, such as a bank ATM, coffee shop, store, restaurant, gas station, parking lot, event venue, hotel, airport, tourist attraction, police station, or hospital.
  • Receive local traffic and weather information or alerts. Know about traffic delays and road construction on your route.
  • Receive the status of a transportation vehicle such as the location of a taxi, bus, train, ship or airplane
  • Receive advertising or coupons from a nearby business
  • Share your current physical location, in real-time, with other members of a social network, such as Facebook Places, Yelp, Foursquare, Neer, Loopt, or Gowalla
  • Augment sports or hobbies, such as hiking, fishing, hunting, boating, sight-seeing, or car rallying, with relevant information.
  • Geocaching - An outdoor game where players use GPS-enable devices to find containers (called geocaches) hidden anywhere in the world.

LBS Area and Access

The physical range and area of a LBS can be indoor, local, national, or global. The types of information that a LBS can provide are location, route, map, and derived data (such as time of arrival, site information, or gas prices).

A website may be used to store, access, calculate or deliver data and information for the LBS application. If a website is used, the GPS device must connect to the Internet usually through a cellular network and use a cell phone data plan. An LBS service provider might also charge a subscription fee.

Open or Closed LBS System

A location-based service can be an open or closed system depending on the LBS provider's business model. Open systems are usually free, such as a downloadable application or web access. The user's location information is often used or sold to an advertising network for commercial purposes. Location privacy is reduced. Foursquare and Loopt are open LBSs.

Closed LBSs are usually paid services. Access to the system and data is controlled by the user's username and password. The user's location, data and privacy are more protected. Most asset tracking LBSs are closed systems.

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