Geolocation is the real life location of an object, identified by radar or internet connection. The term is also used in process of determining this location. Many modern devices include Geolocation software. Here are five examples most people use daily.
Smartphones increasingly rely on geolocation. Whether it be an Android, Apple or Windows phone, all modern smartphones ship with geolocation apps built in to their operating system. This technology is responsible for keeping track of the smartphone’s physical location using a combination of traditional and nosql databases, which has a number or real life uses such as mapping the route to a restaurant, or checking if there is a specific grocery store nearby.
Many ebusiness and business websites offer store locators that can use a physical address entered by the user, or it may just ask for permission to access the device’s geolocation. Moreover, it also be used to locate your lost or stolen phone, allowing you to track the device location. Many apple users have found their phone with the “Find My Phone” geolocation feature. Certinaly, geolocation is a large component in smart phones.
Laptops are designed to be used on-the-go by students, business professionals and anyone that requires computer access outside an office. Geolocation may be used to locate a stolen or lost laptop, just like on smartphones. There are two types of geolocation that either mac vs PC laptops primarily use. One geolocation type uses WiFi hotspots against a database to determine location, and is generally quite accurate within a city block. The other geolocation process uses the IP address of the network to which the laptop is connected, which is much broader and may not be as useful for recovering a stolen or lost device. In either case, it is great to know that modern laptops ship with this capability.
Tablets are similar to smartphones and laptops in that they also ship with geolocation apps built in to their operating system, unlike the Fire TV stick. Consumers often use tablets to bridge the gap between a smartphone (great for light internet use but not so great for working) and a laptop (designed for working on-the-go, but larger). It includes most features of either device, and is just the right size between the two devices to satisfy this niche. For this reason, it is important that geolocation software be included in tablets for the same reasons mentioned above for smartphones and laptops.
Smart TVs are connected to the internet smart grid and include geolocation software. Samsung brand smart TVs are the most common with geolocation, but its use is different from other devices mentioned here. Geolocation on smart TVs is used to determine if appropriate content is being delivered to the watcher. There may be TV shows and movies that are licensed to specific markets, so it is important that the geolocation be accurate so a show licenses only for the United Kingdom is not shown in the United States, for example. Interestingly enough, TV’s geolocation software is important for content delivery.
Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
Although smartphones are much more common than GPS today, brands such as TomTom and Garmin still account for much of our daily use of geolocation. GPS (or satellite navigation for some parts of the world) can either be a small handheld device, or a unit built into the dashboard of a car. They are designed to assist drivers with directions to specific locations, or to search for nearby gas stations in the area. They are also used in trend kid tracking devices. In its early days, GPS signals were deliberately distorted to protect the military and its use of GPS. Without the use of geolocation, GPS would be useless in determining a user’s location relevant to the desired location.
How Does The Software Work?
For most computing devices, geolocation software uses an IP address to identify a ZIP code area. They use large databases to identify the location of a device based on the IP of a device. These databases are usually built up by probing, tests or contributed data from Internet Service Providers (ISP). While these services may see intrusive, they can be helpful to tailor content to you via media tracking and keep a layer of transparency on the web.
IP Address Data Sources
You may be wondering where the IP address data on your LG phone and other internet connected devices comes from. There are primary sources for IP address data, called regional internet registries. These regional internet registries allocate and distribute IP address to organizations within their service area. These primary IP address sources include the African Network Information Centre, American Registry for Internet Numbers, Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre, Latin American and Caribbean Internet Address Registry and RIPE Network Coordination Centre. These primary sources are the ones that allocate and distribute all the IP addresses for their particular area, which are used by geolocation software to locate users all over the globe.
Preventing Geolocation Fraud
Now that geolocation software has become so prominent, it has, of course, become the victim of IP fraud. This is often done by website visitors using anonymizers. Although it does not negatively effect the consumer, it can certainly impact business profitability. Thankfully, if you own a business, you can use the GeoIP2 Anonymous IP Database to exclude IP addresses on your website that are identified as proxies or other anonymizers. If you want to stop bad traffic for your ebusiness, consider using a GeoIP2 Precision service to catch IP fraud before it occurs.
Geolocation is becoming a common feature of modern technology, primarily handheld consumer devices, but also webTV products as well. By determining the device’s real world location via radar or internet connectivity, the user is able to use apps that rely on geolocation for a number of practical applications. Geolocation allows us to determine driving distance to a desired location, pinpoint where a lost device may be, or discover new locations based on specific search parameters.
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