Geolocation: what it is and how it works
Geolocation is the process of finding the geographical location of an internet-connected device, i.e. a smartphone or laptop, or the latitude and longitude of a location.
Geolocation software is able to find the country, region, city and postal code of the person or device you are seeking out.
How does geolocation work?
Geolocation works on a mobile device via GPS, and can be as accurate as within one foot on some phones.
Mobile devices that use geolocation apps tend to present a greater result than desktops. Geolocation apps that run on mobile devices provide a richer experience than those that run on desktop PCs because the relevant data you send and receive changes as your location changes.
What is geospatial data?
Geospatial data consists of a variety of different sources, including Open Data sets, crowd-sourced data, i.e. Ordnance Survey and imaging sources, including LIDAR data and satellite imagery that need to be digitally processed before it can be used.
What is GPS (Global Positioning System)?
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a navigation system that is made up of at least 24 satellites. It enables the user to access global location information that’s accessible free of charge and regardless of time or weather conditions. Originally, GPS was used by the US Department of Defense, but became more widely available in the 1980s. GPS is now something that is used on a daily basis by a huge number of people for finding their way on foot or via car.
What are the limitations of GPS?
There are several limitations to GPS. These include the fact that there can be reduced position accuracy if the device is indoors or in blackspots.
Are geolocation and geocoding the same thing?
There is often confusion around ‘geolocation’ and ‘geocoding’, but they are not the same thing. Geolocation is the physical locality of a device or the process of finding the physical locality of a device, while geocoding refers to the latitude and longitude. You might say that a person’s geolocation is determined by their geocode.
Geocoding: What is geocoding?
Geocoding refers to the longitude and latitude of an address. It is the process of applying a physical address to the surface of earth through coordinates.
How does geocoding work?
Geocoding works by inputting an address and searching in the geographical information system (GIS) for the relevant geographical coordinates (the longitude and latitude) for that location.
Who uses geocoding and what are the benefits?
Geocoding is used by a wide range of companies in a variety of sectors, such as retailers.
A good geocode solution will append digital latitude and longitude to an address, using the very best datasets to get the most accurate and up to date geospatial information.
One of the key benefits of geocoding is that it optimises the customer experience by enabling businesses to inform customers of expected delivery times. This takes the uncertainty out of delivery and means customers can be in the right place at the right time to receive their package. The more satisfied a customer is, the more likely they are to return to your company in the future.
Another great benefit of geocoding is that it allows businesses to ensure business-related mileage claims are all calculated accurately and compliantly. It also speeds up the calculation process, saving businesses time and money, and meaning increased efficiency.
How does Loqate help with geolocation?
What is Loqate’s single-tap geolocation?
By 2020, approximately 4.78 billion people around the world will own a smartphone (Statista, 2018). This means that business websites need to be mobile friendly, and companies must recognise the growing demand for convenience.
Loqate’s geolocation feature improves UX by identifiying your customer’s location in a single tap, eliminating the need to enter an address in a checkout or online forms. Location data is utilised to match a mobile device to a latitude and longitude to return an address.
This address verification feature allows UK businesses to collect accurate location data based on where they are at that point in time. Addresses are returned in real-time, according to geocodes derived from a smart device or GPS, and AddressBase Premium data is used to ensure great quality data.
What is location-based marketing?
Location-based marketing is a style of marketing that is focused on using the customer’s location. In recent years, this method has become popular with a range of businesses in varying sectors thanks to improvements in technology. Essentially, location-based marketing uses the customer’s mobile device’s location in order to send offers, discounts and more.
Geotargeting, geofencing, geoconquesting and beacons are all common applications used to provide location-based marketing. In order to drive successful location-based marketing campaigns, it is vital that businesses use the best possible location data in order to reach the right people at the right time.
Geotargeting is the process of sending out content or ads based on the location of the customer. Ads, for example, can be shown only to consumers based in a specific location or group of locations at a certain time. This works particularly well for restaurants, and both ecommerce and bricks and mortar stores.
Geofencing is a popular method of location-based marketing that works by creating a virtual perimeter around a predetermined area. It can be used to prompt push notifications, trigger alerts of messages to mobile devices, offering discounts and a range of other communications to nearby customers. It can also send relevant targeted ads to specific audiences.
Geoconquesting is the ability to send offers and discounts to customers shopping nearby, enticing them into your store rather than a rival's. This is achieved by serving out location-based ads to shoppers who have been to a competitor.
Beacons are small Bluetooth radio transmitters that send signals to nearby mobile devices. Retailers often use beacons to improve UX, personalising the shopping experience by triggering location-based notifications such as discounts and special promotions. They help retailers track consumer behaviour and create targeted campaigns.
Businesses using geospatial technology
Which businesses are leading the way with geospatial technology?
Facebook, Google and Microsoft are just a few of the tech giants that have invested significant money and effort into geospatial capabilities. This type of technology enables Facebook to serve relevant local ads, and drive organic engagement for businesses and locations around the world.
When it comes to Facebook, the company is able to identify the user's location as they post new statuses or photos, as well as connect them to other users in that location.
Location data is also used in Facebook Places, where users can connect with nearby friends, and if a user checks in at a location, they are able to add photos and tag friends. The location the user has checked in to can then be seen by their followers via the news feed. Tapping 'Nearby' allows Facebook users to see if their friends are nearby when they are using the social network while out.
Leveraging location to strengthen social connections is also something that social networks are doing more and more of in order to deliver content and advertisements that are relevant to their audiences.
However, it isn't only social media businesses who are taking advantage of geospatial data. Transportation giant Uber also leverages location to ensure they are able to track users' locations, match them to a driver and pick up customers at a convenient location. It also helps drivers to find the fastest, most efficient route, allowing them to reroute if they encounter road closures or traffic.
Another business that uses geospatial technology to create a superior service is Dominos. Dominos has completely changed the pizza delivery space by offering the potential for customers to have their orders delivered to an outdoor location, not just their homes. More than 150,000 hotspots such as parks and public spaces will be set up that customers will be able to order to, and once the order has been made, they will be prompted to turn on their location services to ensure they can locate themselves easily on a delivery map.
Retailers looking to improve their customer experience are also using geospatial data to enable them to do so. One example of this is H&M, who use the technology to make sure popular items are always stocked and unsold inventory is minimised, while others such as US retailer American Eagle geo-fenced its stores to entice nearby customers in by offering discounts and notifications.
Global address data is also essential when it comes to software companies like IBM and Oracle delivering quality data. Having access to one master data source helps their customers create a great CX, improve delivery rates and achieve accurate customer records as well as much more.